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Academic Findings from the European Research Council Starting Grant Project "Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty"

Academic Findings from the European Research Council Starting Grant Project “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty” and Their Policy Relevance

The European Research Council Starting Grant Project “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty” seeks to understand why, how, and when conflict-generated diasporas mobilise in Europe for political and social processes in their countries of origin in the Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East. Since 2012 five researchers have worked on this project to study the Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Iraqi, Kurdish and Palestinian diasporas and their mobilisations in the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and France. The project progresses from qualitative comparisons of variations of diaspora mobilisations for de facto states (Kosovo, Palestine, Nagorno-Karabakh), transitional justice (Bosnia-Herzegovina), state-building (Iraq) and the stateless Kurdish diaspora, to a quantitative analysis through a cross-national survey.

The following eight videos present the academic findings from already published or forthcoming articles written by project members, separately or in collaboration with others. Seeking to enhance a conversation between academics, policy makers and the wider public, each video also presents the authors’ perspectives on how their findings have potential policy implications.

Video 1: “Diaspora Mobilisation during Conflicts: Armenian, Albanian, and Palestinian Diasporas Compared”

Maria Koinova presents an article she published in the European Journal of International Relations in 2014. The article seeks to answer why diasporas linked to conflict areas, namely Nagorno-Karabakh, Kosovo and Palestine, used more state-based or transnational channels to pursue their transnational claims. The article brings innovative ways to think about the trajectories of diaspora mobilisation by connecting the foreign policy stances of host-states and the positionality of diasporas between home-state and host-state.

Video 2: “Diasporas and Transnational Cultural Production”

Dzeneta Karabegovic speaks about an article she published in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics in 2014. The article presents how the Bosnian diaspora remembers the Srebrenica genocide in different global locations in Europe and the United States through an art performance called “Sto te nema?” This “nomadic monument” seeks to unite Bosnian diaspora with people from various cities through symbolic action: a ritual of pouring coffee in hundreds of coffee cups.

Video 3: “Global and Local Dimensions of Diaspora Mobilisation”

Maria Koinova and Dzeneta Karabegovic speak about an article they published in Global Networks in 2016. This article seeks to demonstrate a process of how diasporas expand their mobilisation from local to global levels of engagement. At the forefront is a movement of concentration camp survivors and their networks seeking to memorialize their traumatic experiences in the Omarska concentration camp in Bosnia during the war of disintegration of former Yugoslavia.

Video 4: “From Qualitative to Quantitative Analysis of Diaspora Mobilisation”

Maria Koinova, Ben Margulies, and Philippe Blanchard discuss a paper presented at the American Political Science Association convention in 2016. This paper demonstrates the evolution of theory in the ERC “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty” project from series of comparative studies of the Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Iraqi, Kurdish, and Palestinian Diasporas in Europe, through two waves of inter-coder discussions and tests, and the use of Correspondence Analysis.

Video 5: “Sustained vs Episodic Diaspora Mobilisation”

Dr. Maria Koinova discusses an article she published in International Political Science Review in 2016. The article seeks to understand why the mobilisation of some conflict-generated diasporas continues during the post-conflict reconstruction of their homelands, while that of others subsides. The article focuses on a comparison between the Bosnian and the Serb and Croat diasporas in the Netherlands.

Video 6: “Ph.D. Thesis: Diaspora Mobilisation and Transitional Justice”

Dzeneta Karabegovic speaks about her Ph.D. dissertation seeking to explain different patterns of diaspora mobilisation among Bosnians in Sweden, Germany, and France related to transitional justice processes taking place in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This work brings together the effects of host-states’ citizenship regimes, diaspora grievances, and translocalism, and showcases how they shape different levels of diaspora mobilisation.

Video 7: “Ph.D. Thesis: Diaspora Mobilisation and State-building”

Oula Kadhum speaks about her Ph.D. dissertation seeking to explain why the Iraqi diaspora in the UK and Sweden mobilised in different ways prior to and in the aftermath of the 2003 military intervention in Iraq. This work demonstrates how the UK-based diaspora has contributed to Iraq more in terms of institution-building and governance, while the diaspora in Sweden has contributed more in terms of support for civil society initiatives.

Video 8: “Socio-spatial Positionality and Diaspora Mobilisation”

Maria Koinova presents her forthcoming article in International Studies Review, which places diaspora mobilisation in the larger scholarship of International Relations. The article showcases that diaspora mobilisations are not only driven by material, institutional or symbolic rationales, but by the socio-spatial positionality of diaspora entrepreneurs in different global contexts. Empirical evidence is used to illustrate mobilisations in the transnational social fields of the Armenian diaspora for genocide recognition, and of the Palestinian diaspora for recognition of statehood.