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Title: Explicando las diásporas políticas
Other Titles: Explaining Political Diasporas
Authors: Abu-Tarbush, Jose
Cabrera Abu, Nasara 
Keywords: Diasporas
Political Diasporas
Diaspora Studies
Diasporas And International Relations
Diasporas And Conflicts, et al
Issue Date: 2023
Journal: Relaciones Internacionales-Madrid 
Abstract: The importance of diasporas in world politics has been growing in recent decades, without diminishing the attention that they have previously received throughout contemporary history. Different authors point out that this growing role and relevance of diasporas in world affairs has not been matched by the development of a related theory in the discipline of International Relations. The aim of this article is to bring together the main perspectives that explain the emergence, development, and evolution of diasporas, with a special emphasis on the construction of political diasporas. Without claiming to be exhaustive, a brief account is given of those theoretical approaches that allow for a better understanding of diasporas in general, and political diasporas in particular. In defiance of essentialist approaches to diasporas, this article takes a constructivist perspective with the aim of contributing to a theoretical framework from which to explain political diasporas, and by providing a bibliographical review of diasporas in the field of International Relations. It is important to note that diasporic studies have grown considerably over the last three decades. Diasporas have generally been largely ignored and excluded in such studies, traditionally more focused on state actors and then on non-state or transnational ones, such as social movements. Currently this panorama has begun to change with the presence of various approaches and attempts to outline possible lines of research through which to continue working towards a specific theoretical elaboration.This growth has been both qualitative (theoretical), with considerable diversity and complexity in theoretical refinement, and quantitative (empirical), with a greater volume of cases studied.The theoretical approach taken in this paper, within the framework of International Relations, is aligned with a constructivist conception of diasporas.That is, understanding diasporas as social and political constructions which, in spite of certain basic defining features-for instance, a certain temporality of dispersion, settlement in other countries for a significant period of time of at least two generations, the preservation and transmission of collective memory and the gestation of a shared identity, the result of the mobilisation of their associative, organisational and communicational resources-are conceived as imagined transnational communities that emerge after specific mobilisation processes. In short, diasporas are no longer only conceived or defined on the basis of their traditional triangular relationship with the place of origin, the host society and other co-ethnic communities dispersed in third countries, but are extended to different social (with other diasporic cadres or entrepreneurs in the transnational field) and sub-state (cities, refugee camps, villages) and transnational (internet, transnational or supranational organisations, among others) spatial contexts. Thus, belonging to a diaspora implies assuming a series of concerns and costs, derived from this sense of responsibility for the betterment of the society of origin, coupled with a concern for analogous communities in other socio-spatial contexts. Diasporas are thus constructed or recreated through a process of strategic mobilisation around certain commonalities. This is particularly significant in political diasporas, which tend to express a strong commitment to the situation in their country of origin in particular, and to the fate of similar groupings in other countries or socio-spatial contexts in general.The diaspora is a community fully aware of its diasporic role. This more activist or militant character manifests itself in the more politicised diasporic groups or so-called political diasporas. Thus, diasporas show a special sensitivity towards their countries of origin and tend to get involved in their problems and challenges: development, democratization, or conflicts. This sensitivity and involvement tend to be accentuated when the country of origin is going through a critical situation or humanitarian emergency, resulting from a natural disaster or conflict. It is in this specific framework of political diasporas as transnational actors in global politics that their relationship to conflicts is established, where they can take on a role of conflict-encouraging or conflict-pacifying. This role will depend on various factors, and it cannot be concluded that diasporas are one thing or the other, but rather that they acquire a complex relationship with conflicts that will depend on the cause of their displacement (if this was, in turn, originated by a conflict), their degree of integration or exclusion from the host society, and the situation in their homeland, among other factors. Another aspect considered is the impact of globalisation and information and communication technologies (ICT) on diasporas, as well as their use of the context of greater interconnection and availability of current resources, given that diasporic groups have tended to take advantage of the changes produced in the globalisation process in recent decades, seeing in them an opportunity for more effective socio-political structuring. In this case, ICT have enabled them to overcome remoteness and dispersion while strengthening ties, awareness, and collective identity. Finally, the construction and evolution of diasporas as socio-political phenomena in a global framework where the socio-political dynamism of diasporas is related in a complex way to the degree of integration or exclusion of their members in their host societies, and to the situation (of conflict or not) of their original states. On this point, it is pointed to a greater longevity of those diasporas defined as victims or whose emergency lies in their expulsion or forced departure from their country of origin. All of the above is structured in this article through a brief introduction followed by a theoretical framework that addresses the definition and origin of the term diaspora and outlines the approaches taken by those who are considered classical authors in the framework of diaspora studies. Their assumptions are framed in a more structuralist perspective that takes for granted diasporic groups as homogeneous collectives without noticing internal inequalities and they have been challenged by recent more constructivist approaches that generate analytical tools more in line with the complexity of diasporas as social and political phenomena in a global context of greater interconnectedness.The second section, which develops the central content of the paper, addresses diasporas in the framework of the discipline of International Relations, defining their relationship with conflicts and the impact that globalisation and ICT have had on them, as well as analysing the construction and evolution of diasporas, and ends the article with some brief conclusions.
La importancia de las diásporas en la política mundial se ha ido acrecentando durante las últimas décadas, sin desmerecer la atención de la que previamente han sido objeto a lo largo de la historia contemporánea. Diferentes autores ponen de manifiesto que ese creciente rol y relevancia de las diásporas en los asuntos mundiales no se ha visto acompañado, de manera equivalente, por el desarrollo de una teoría afín en la disciplina de las Relaciones Internacionales. El objetivo del presente artículo es recoger las principales perspectivas que explican la aparición, desarrollo y evolución de las diásporas, con especial énfasis en la construcción de las diásporas políticas. Sin pretensión de exhaustividad, se realiza un breve recuento de aquellas aproximaciones teóricas que permiten una mayor comprensión de las diásporas en general y de las diásporas políticas en particular. Se parte de una óptica constructivista, en desafío de las aproximaciones esencialistas, con el propósito de contribuir a un marco teórico desde el que explicar las diásporas políticas, propiciando una revisión bibliográfica sobre las mismas en el campo de las Relaciones Internacionales. Para ello, se da cuenta del origen del concepto de diáspora, su evolución, las aproximaciones clásicas (citando a aquellos autores más relevantes que partían de una perspectiva más estructuralista); y las perspectivas más recientes e innovadoras con una óptica más compleja y heterogénea de las mismas (de mayor diversidad interna y con un mayor número de espacios relacionales). De este modo, se parte de una concepción de las diásporas como construcciones sociales y políticas que, más allá de contener unos rasgos definitorios básicos, son comunidades transnacionales que surgen tras específicos procesos de movilización. Es en este marco concreto de las diásporas políticas en el que se establece su relación con los conflictos, la globalización y las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación (TIC); para acabar describiendo su construcción y evolución en un marco global donde el dinamismo sociopolítico de las diásporas está relacionado de manera compleja con el grado de integración o exclusión de sus miembros en sus sociedades de acogida, así como con la situación (de conflicto o no) de sus estados originarios, apuntando a una mayor longevidad de aquellas diásporas definidas como víctimas o cuya emergencia radica en su expulsión o salida forzada del país natal o de origen.
ISSN: 1699-3950
DOI: 10.15366/relacionesinternacionales2023.54.006
Source: Relaciones Internacionales [ISSN 1699-3950] (54), p. 113-132
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