Defining Diaspora and Their Online Engagements: Problematic Constructions, Deconstructions

Abiodun Adeniyi


The meanings of some key concepts are experiencing stimulating and “even polemical debates” (Özkirimlii, 2000). Key amongst these concepts is diaspora. A few definitions of the concepts challenge essentialist and normative approaches. Some examples are those of Cohen (1997) on diaspora; Giddens (1991), Gilroy (1993), Hall (1996), and Ang (2000) on identity; Anderson (1983), Gellner (1983), Smith (1994) on nationalism; Glick Schiller, et al (1992), Portes (1996, 1997), Robins and Aksoy (2003, 2005)  on transnationalism; and Brah (1996), Naficy (1999), Connor (2001), and Hammer (2007) on home and the homeland. Some other works situate definitions within an otherwise restrictive analytical framework. Examples of these are Safran (1991), Marienstras (1999) on diasporas; Kedourie, (1960), Deutsch (1969), Nairn, (1997), on nationalism; and Rapport and Dawson, (1998) on home and the homeland. This paper discusses the concepts based on “how they should be theorised”, rather than “what they are”. This is because of emerging new meanings in a world of constant global changes, such that the productions and reproductions of meanings require regular reviews.

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