Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | July 17, 2013

byKevin Kenny

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Diaspora is an important concept in history, sociology, religious studies, ethnic studies, political science, and literary criticism, among other disciplines. Meanwhile, journalists, politicians, and cultural authorities use the term with increasing frequency when describing contemporaryglobal migration. But what does diaspora mean? Until recently, the term referred principally to the dispersal and exile of the Jews. However, over the course of the twentieth century, involuntary migrants from Armenia, Africa, and Ireland came to be seen as diasporic. Since the 1980s, diaspora hasproliferated to a remarkable extent-to the point where it risks losing its coherence. If diaspora is merely a synonym for "migration" or "ethnic group," why use the word at all? Kevin Kenny's Very Short Introduction to diaspora examines the origins of diaspora as a concept, its changing meanings over time, its current popularity, and its strengths and limitations as an explanatory device. Mediating between the multiple definitions currently in use, the book proposes aflexible approach to diaspora that can provide insights into the motives for migration; the networks through which migrants travel; the political, economic, and cultural connections they form among themselves, with their homelands, and with fellow diasporans in other locations around the world; theidea of return to a homeland, sometimes literally but more often metaphorically; and recent developments concerning refugees and globalization. The argument ranges broadly across time and space, using examples drawn mainly from Jewish, African, Irish, and Asian history. Diaspora emerges not as athing that can be measured but as a concept that helps people - migrants, scholars, and social commentators alike - to make sense of the experience of migration.

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From the Publisher

Diaspora is an important concept in history, sociology, religious studies, ethnic studies, political science, and literary criticism, among other disciplines. Meanwhile, journalists, politicians, and cultural authorities use the term with increasing frequency when describing contemporaryglobal migration. But what does diaspora mean? Un...

Kevin Kenny is Professor of History at Boston College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 6.88 × 4.38 × 0.68 inPublished:July 17, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199858586

ISBN - 13:9780199858583

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsList of illustrations1. What is diaspora?2. Migration3. Connections4. Return5. Diaspora todayReferencesFurther readingIndex