This project takes the recent wave of Latvian outmigration and the subsequent diaspora politics as a lens for analyzing the spatial distribution of sovereignty and statehood in a historical moment shaped by the political logics of post-Soviet nationalism, neoliberalism and European integration. It first analyses how the Latvian state attempts to generate knowledge about its newly mobile subjects, as well as tries to make diasporic subjects out of them. Second, it considers how these shifts in forms of statehood and sovereignty in Europe are linked with postsocialism as a global condition and a series of concrete projects of transformation that have shaped places and people in Eastern Europe.
European Social Fund / Marie Curie Fellowship
Marie Curie Initial Training Network CoHaB
This project brings ethnographic fieldwork to bear upon political theory, especially theories of the state and sovereignty.
The project involves ethnographic fieldwork with civil servants, NGO staff, members of diaspora and politicians involved in devising Latvian diaspora politics.
The research argues that ethnographic engagement with Latvian outmigration and diaspora politics invites a rethinking of sovereignty as embodied and mobile, rather than being attached to the political terrain of the state and territorially fixed. It also invites a rethinking of the state as an assemblage of forms of statehood that can be distributed across the boundaries of actually existing states.
The project has involved participation in numerous discussions and high-level political meetings organised by government and non-government institutions on questions of outmigration and diaspora politics.