Ulster Logo
Link to facebook  Link to INCOREinfo on twitter  Link to INCORE rss feed    Linkedin link Linkedin link

The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

2000, Vol. 3 No. 2 .

Migration Diasporas and Transnationalism
Steven Vertovec and Robin Cohen (eds.)

Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 1999
704 pp. Index. Hb.: £150.00; ISBN 1-8598-8869-1.

The most recent volume in the International Library of Studies on Migration deals with two consequences of migration: diasporas and transnationalism. As is the case with the other volumes in the series, this volume includes an introduction by the editors and the 34 articles they find represent the field of study the best. Neither the formation of diasporas nor the phenomena of transnationalism are new phenomena. Both subjects, however, are very much in vogue in migration studies on both sides of the Atlantic. The term diaspora is no longer confined to the experience of the Jews or the Armenians. Today it is used to designate groups of migrants or refugees who do not assimilate but retain a concrete or emotive relationship with what they perceive to be their homeland and fellow groups dispersed in other countries. The social, economic, and political networks of diasporas make them transnational (or perhaps even more accurately trans-state) per definition. The dynamics of so-called globalisation such as intensified transactions of capital, people and information across the globe are phenomena to which diasporas contribute and draw their strengths from. Indeed, the rise and strength of diasporas have been played up against the strength of the nation state. The first section of articles is headed 'reappraising contemporary migration', and has a somewhat surprising mix of new articles on transnationalism of migrant communities (such as that by Schiller or Ong) and older articles on remittances (see that of Keely or Hatzipanayotou). The next and lengthiest section is more consistently dealing with 'Old and New Meanings of Diaspora'. The omission of the otherwise widely quoted articles by Bonyian and Bonyan aside, this section amply covers the conceptual debate on 'who is a diaspora'. The last section of articles titled 'Transnationalism': Globalisation from Below', includes articles on as diverse subjects as ethnic foreign policy lobbying and more post-modern oriented theoretical pieces on the unboundedness of ethnic communities. It would probably have been helpful if the editors' introduction introduced the 34 texts in somewhat greater detail. Also, it may be confusing that the 3 main headings dividing the articles are not clearly conceptualised distinctions introduced in the introduction. These minor criticisms aside this volume will be a valuable asset for students of migration - that is, if they can get a hold of one of the few copies libraries can be expected to afford.

Dr. Eva Østergaard-Nielsen, London School of Economics

Disclaimer: © INCORE 2010 Last Updated on Monday, 10-Aug-2015 12:20
contact usgoto the search page
go to the top of this page