The concept of Diaspora

Key Points?

Today, as growing communities of migrants – due to various reasons – are dispersed across the world, they are refered to as "people in diaspora", or "diasporas" – i.e. communities of people living separated from their (ancestral) homelands. Even though diasporas possess a range of capacity factors, acknowledged to benefit both host- and origin countries, their capacity goes too often ignored and unutilized. To turn this trend around both host- and origin countries must optimize the conditions to benefit all.


Diasporic identity
Diaspora identity
The concept of a diaspora community refers to a group of people with shared ties to ancestral lands outside where they are living their lives. Some may add even other criterias, such as reason for leaving homeland or time spent abroad, thus to exclude those migrants with a sustenance under e.g. one year in host country or whose purpose of staying is only temporary.

Diaspora Identity

But what is more significant is how people, of national and ethnic minorities, conceive themselves as being part of a community dispersed from its perceived homeland or country of origin.

Even though the trace can go generations back, some people may still associate with that country, region or culture of origin. Some may have been born in that country, while some people may have only indirect ties through their parents, and so on, but nevertheless perceive themselves connected to that place of origin. One's recognition of him/her self as affiliated to a specific diaspora group is therefore very much self-described.

"...significant is how people, of national and ethnic minorities, conceive themselves as being part of a community dispersed from its perceived homeland or country of origin"

In one and the same place of origin many cultures and groups can exist paralelly, and given that conflicts, rivality and tensions may have widened the gap between these groups, diasporic identity may for some therefor base on group affiliation instead of place (and that place of specific group affiliations may cross administrative borders). In addition, people may have been extended their families through cross-marriages with other nationalities and with people whose cultural characteristics may not always coincide with one another.

Also, the collective of individuals conceiving themselves having the same origin may have built up its togetherness based on myths sustained and strengthened by traditions. An adoption of a homeland and diasporic group affiliation based on thought past is for some people therefor a reality.

For the Benefit of All
For the Benefit of AllThe characteristics of migrants in general often reveals individuals whose potentials have already been out-lined during the early course of emigration, thus the very potentials of emigrating (to actually leave the world which they are familiar to for new territories) rests on a range of capacity factors, such as resources (e.g. financial conditions and educational background), social network (supporting family members and friends, contacts in general), and not at least determination to succeed with their plans.


"If migrants were a nation, they would be the world's fifth-largest"

/The Economist

It is said that if world migrants were a nation, they would comprise the world's fifth larges. What a nation that would be, populated with citizens enriched with powerful capacity characteristics as discussed above, and with knowhows from every corner of the world.


Towards win-win-win
But to utilize the capacity of people in diaspora, and migrants in general, both host countries and countries of origin must optimize the conditions - for them to achieve the win-win-win effect where both migrants, host countries and countries of origin can gain mutually. If ignored or just taken as a to-big-risk, the cost for society will raise in unproportional levels as the potential benefits from it will be lost and the economic and social expenses will remain high just to master the consequenses.

understandingTo turn this trend around the challenge consists - for political leaders - of reaching better understanding how to benefit from migration - which is in fact an inescapable growing global event of humanity. We need to focus at the longterm effects from migration instead of the immediate (the short-term effects are - just as projects in starting-phase generally are - equivalent to expenses), and governments need to realize that the benefits doesn't come without global collaboration (among states as between states and civil society) and joint resposibility-taking.

Vigorous effort must be taken for combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination of minority groups, and women, rising awareness on their qualifications and capacity of these groups as for levelling up their conditions on the labour market.

 So, lets

  • Improve knowledge on how to benefit from migration
  • Improve collaboration & joint responsibitity-taking
  • Combat racism, xenophobia & discrimination
  • Rise awareness about the capacity of migrants and diasporas


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