Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

Diaspora is a term whose initial usage dates back to the Greek translation of the Bible. In its classical usage diaspora refers to the dispersion of Jews throughout the world in the aftermath of slavery in ancient Egypt and the destruction of Solomon’s temple in the Mesopotamian Empire. This classical definition of diaspora has been used to describe communities that have moved and settled in other ‘lands’ in the aftermath of preceding traumatic events. The Armenian diaspora, the Irish diaspora and the ‘old’ African diaspora are examples of classical diasporas. Since the 1990s, the term diaspora has undergone a paradigmatic shift, that is, its meaning has transcended its classical usage. Constructivist approaches situate diaspora within discourses of multiculturalism, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism. Rather than attempt to confine diaspora to its classical definition, proponents of constructivism suggest a new operationalization of the term in light of increasingly mixed global flows of migration (see Cohen and Fischer 2020). Hence diaspora can be considered a theoretical concept that shares a semantic domain with related terms such as migrant, expatriate, refugee (see Brubaker 2005). In the age of cyberspace, diaspora can be re-created via memory through shared cultural artefacts and a shared imagination (see Cohen 1997, Georgiou 2010).

⇢ see also ExpatriateMigrantRefugee

References and further reading:

Brubaker, Rogers. 2005. “The ‘Diaspora’ Diaspora.” In Ethnic and Racial Studies 28.1: 1–19.

Cohen, Robin. 1997. Global Diasporas: An Introduction. London: UCL Press.

Cohen, Robin, and Carolin Fischer. 2020. “Diaspora Studies: An Introduction.” In Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies. 1–19. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Georgiou, Myria. 2010. “Identity, Space and the Media: Thinking through Diaspora.” In Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales. 26.1: 17–35.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5