Introduction: Agents of Change? Staging and Governing Diasporas and the African State

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Abstract

During the last decade, African diasporas have emerged as agents of change in international development
thinking. Diasporas are being courted by donors, sending states, and NGOs for their contributions
to development in their countries of origin; praised for their remittances, investments and
knowledge transfer. This Introduction seeks to scrutinise critically these processes, examining
issues of governance and categorisation in relation to African states and diasporas. We explore
the theoretical and political implications of the emergence of diasporas in relation to questions of
hybridity, state responses, neoliberalism, depoliticisation, and mistrust. We thereby aim to establish
an analytical framework that focuses on how various actors stage, govern, and seek to instrumentalise
so-called diaspora involvement. Two central questions arise: Are we witnessing an anti-politics
machine in the sense of making development a matter of how to involve diasporas and build their
human and organisational capacities? Or are there means by which diasporas may re-politicise
development issues in the home country?
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During the last decade, African diasporas have emerged as agents of change in international development
thinking. Diasporas are being courted by donors, sending states, and NGOs for their contributions
to development in their countries of origin; praised for their remittances, investments and
knowledge transfer. This Introduction seeks to scrutinise critically these processes, examining
issues of governance and categorisation in relation to African states and diasporas. We explore
the theoretical and political implications of the emergence of diasporas in relation to questions of
hybridity, state responses, neoliberalism, depoliticisation, and mistrust. We thereby aim to establish
an analytical framework that focuses on how various actors stage, govern, and seek to instrumentalise
so-called diaspora involvement. Two central questions arise: Are we witnessing an anti-politics
machine in the sense of making development a matter of how to involve diasporas and build their
human and organisational capacities? Or are there means by which diasporas may re-politicise
development issues in the home country?
Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Studies
Volume72
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)192-206
Number of pages14
ISSN0002-0184
DOI
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

    Research areas

  • depoliticisation, development, diaspora, governance, hybridity, state, sovereignty
ID: 156296581