Soc08
The African diaspora: to live away to exist at home?

Convenors:
Mireille Razafindrakoto (French Research Institute for Development)
François Roubaud (IRD)
Stream:
Sociology
Location:
Chrystal McMillan, Seminar Room 5
Sessions:
Wednesday 12 June, 8:45-10:15, 10:45-12:15

Short abstract:

Diaspora members experienced a disrupted connection to their home countries but continue in some form to identify with them. This panel aims at investigating how the African diaspora manage to maintain links and to contribute to their countries of origin while integrating into their host societies.

Long abstract:

International migration is a subject of intense discussion. It is a multifaceted phenomenon and it raises different controversies. One of the debated questions is on the diaspora characteristics and role. Some people regard diaspora members as losses for their home country and even as potential threat for their home country as well as their host country. However, the role played by diaspora in promoting the development of their countries of origin is now recognized and underlined by different national and international institutions. This panel session aims at investigating to what extent the African diaspora communities manage to maintain links and to contribute to their countries of origin while integrating into their host societies. Given their position as transnational communities, members of the African diaspora can act as facilitators, bridge builders between the two countries. But some immigrant communities might also be characterized by their disconnection. They could be less organized or more engaged in ex-pat community activities than home country oriented. Does social inclusion, or integration into the host country, lead to a form of rupture with the country of origin? Or counter-intuitively, does integration strengthen diaspora capacities to reconnect with their countries of origin? Proposals which bring strong (quantitative or qualitative) empirical evidences on the specificity of the African diaspora, on their actual influence on their home country's trajectory, or on their total loss of tie with their home country, will be considered in priority.