Recasting Diaspora Strategies within Care Frameworks

Prof. Mark Boyle (NUI, Maynooth)

Rocque Lab, Rhetoric Building, South Campus, NUIM 16:15 :: 7th November 2013

Abstract: Professor Boyle will present results of research project co-authored by Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho and Brenda Yeoh, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. The diaspora centred development agenda holds that migrants lead transnational lives and contribute to their homelands both from afar and via circular migration. Concomitant with the ascendance of this agenda there has arisen a new field of public policy bearing the title ‘diaspora strategies’ (DS). DS can be thought of as proactive efforts by countries of origin to incubate, fortify, and harness transfers of resources from diasporas to homelands. This paper argues that DS are problematic because they construe the diaspora-homeland relationship as an essentially pragmatic, instrumental, and utilitarian one. Indeed at their worst they conspire to cheapen, diminish and even abuse this relationship. Accordingly, in their current form some DS might perversely be said to be sabotaging the contributions made by diasporeans to the development of their homelands. Vignettes illustrating the deleterious consequences of objectifying diaspora communities as brokers, consumers, donors, and sources of talent are provided. One response is to cast suspicion on all forms of state interference in the diaspora-homeland relationship. We take a different approach, by proposing that a new generation of more progressive DS might be built if it is recognised that caring relationships lie at the root of the circulation of resources between diasporas and homelands. We further suggest that migrant sending states should attend to the ethics of their entanglement in caring relationships. We conclude that only diaspora strategies calibrated by an ethics of care will fortify the contributions made by diasporeans to the development of countries of origin over the longue durée.

Professor Mark Boyle is Director of the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analyses, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and Professor of Human Geography. Drs. Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho and Brenda Yeoh, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. Mark.g.boyle@nuim.ie.

 
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