Three discourses on diasporas and peacebuilding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over the past decade academics and policymakers have increasingly recognised the growing importance of diasporas. While diasporas have been variously defined, an important common element is continued identity with the ‘home’ country even when many years have been spent in the ‘host’ country (Lyons, 2004b: 3). Some may even not have visited their ‘home country’ but offer valuable political support. For example, even though many of the Jewish diaspora in the United States have never been to Israel, let alone been born there, they nevertheless mobilise support for the Jewish ‘homeland’ (Mearsheimer and Walt, 2006). For the academic community, diasporas thus offer a challenge to the traditional ‘inside/outside’ conception of social life whereby socio-political activities are defined as either purely ‘domestic’ or purely ‘international’ (Al-Ali and Koser, 2002). Diasporas are, at one and the same time, both and neither. As suggested by Shain (2002), diasporas form a distinct ‘third level’ between interstate and domestic politics — a type of transnational actor that is becoming increasingly important due to the globalisation of markets, politics and culture. How, through what mechanisms and with what impact diasporas express themselves as ‘transnational actors’, therefore, is currently a matter of intense research. While there is an expanding literature in this area, there has been less research on diasporas in the field of conflict and peace studies. Here research has tended to emphasise the role of diasporas as ‘peace-wreckers’, though work has emerged emphasising the role of diasporas as ‘peace-makers’ (Smith and Stares, 2007).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWhose Peace? Critical Perspectives on the Political Economy of Peacebuilding
EditorsMichael Pugh, Neil Cooper, Mandy Turner
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780230228740
ISBN (Print)9780230573352
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameNew Security Challenges


  • diasporas
  • Peacebuilding
  • conflict and peace studies
  • host country
  • security risk
  • African Union

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


Dive into the research topics of 'Three discourses on diasporas and peacebuilding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this