Explaining the Rise of Diaspora Institutions

20 May 2014
Seminar Room A, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, Oxford

Speaker: Alan Gamlen, Victoria University of Wellington
Discussant: Kalypso Nicolaïdis, St. Antony’s College, Oxford
Chair: Robin Cohen, International Migration Institute, Oxford

Why do states establish and maintain diaspora engagement institutions? Formal offices of state dedicated to emigrants and their descendants have been largely overlooked in mainstream political studies, perhaps because they fall in the grey area between domestic politics and international relations. Now, diaspora institutions are found in over half of all United Nations member states, yet we have little theory and large-scale comparative evidence to guide our understanding of how and why they emerge. In response, we identify and then investigate empirical support for three theoretically-grounded perspectives on diaspora institution emergence: instrumentally rational states tapping resources of emigrants and their descendants; value-rational states embracing lost members of the nation-state; institutionally-converging states governing diasporas consistent with global norms.

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