Migration and diasporas

What role for development?

Authored by: Piyasiri Wickramasekara

Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138794313
eBook ISBN: 9781315759302
Adobe ISBN: 9781317638773


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International migration and diaspora issues have come to the forefront of the global agenda in the past two decades. The initial focus of diaspora studies has been on their identities and historical evolution based on anthropological, political and sociological approaches (Sheffer 1986; Cohen 1997, 2008; Nyberg-Sørensen 2007). Population movements and migration have generally been studied by economists and demographers (Skeldon 1985; Stark and Bloom 1985; Papademetriou and Martin 1991; de Haas 2012). International migration was viewed from a negative perspective in the 1960s and 1970s as a reflection of development failures with resulting loss of human resources (brain drain) from developing countries (Bhagwati 1976; de Haas 2012). Another trend has been the increasing attention on transnationalism and transnational communities, which study social ties and networks linking contemporary migrants or refugees to their origin states or communities (Nyberg-Sørensen 2007; Faist 2010). While diaspora is a very old concept, transnationalism is relatively new, and Faist called the diaspora and transnational communities as two ‘awkward dance partners’ (Faist 2010: 9).

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