Migration and Development: Policy, Engagement, and Diaspora Perspectives

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Africa Specialty Group, Development Geographies Specialty Group, Ethnic Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A1, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Organizers: Zawadi Rowe, Aaron Malone
Chairs: Zawadi Rowe


Countries are increasingly turning to their diaspora communities for development purposes, and international organizations are also embracing and encouraging the strategy (Délano & Gamlen 2014; Sahoo & Pattanaik 2014; Ho et al. 2015). The approaches and terminology have shifted over time (migration-development nexus, migration-as-development, diaspora strategies, diaspora policies, diaspora governance), but all center on the relationship between states and migrants as a key site of development potential and emphasize policy responses as an important factor in whether and how migration can catalyze development.

It is also curious that, of the five diaspora capitals (5Cs) that broadly group the ways in which a member of the diaspora may contribute to their homeland - intellectually, politically, culturally, socially, and financially - existing literature largely focuses on remittance statistics. Though there is increasing literature analyzing intellectual capital (e.g. Leung 2015), even more research surrounding other non-financial diaspora capitals may lead to better understandings of how to effectively implement diaspora-homeland strategies.

Furthermore, the literature often omits the perspectives of diaspora members regarding the viability of such initiatives. Similarly, there is little understanding of how well such diaspora leveraging strategies are working in practice. It is important to expand research and discussions to also incorporate the perspectives of members of the diaspora who are often targeted by their original homelands for developmental initiatives. In other words, can these diaspora groups help our understanding of whether or not this form of developmental initiative has potential for successful implementation? Discourse on both the expectations of the countries seeking to leverage their diaspora wealth and those of the diaspora communities are necessary to analyze this burgeoning form of development.

This session invites presentations that focus on any of the sub-themes discussed above. Topics may include:

• Various views within diaspora communities regarding their home governments or home communities’ expectation of them for development purposes
• Diaspora’s sentiment towards the homeland
• An understanding of what development actually means from the perspective of the diaspora, and if it is in line with those of their home governments
• Methods of diaspora-engaging strategies that have worked, and how they can be adapted to other locations
• Effective non-remittance and non-financial aspects of development through the diaspora
• Diaspora-state relations
• Diaspora-home community relations
• Indicators of diaspora strategies hinting towards an increase of uneven development or mitigating existing unevenness (see Smith, Uneven Development)
• Ways in which diasporans have already contributed to homeland development prior to official diaspora strategies, and how partnering with government or community initiatives have positively or negatively altered effectiveness of development
• What framings are used to legitimize and position diaspora policies? (e.g. global competition for talent, loyalty and the extra-territorial nation, brain circulation, etc.)
• Are migration and diaspora policies converging, evolving, diverging, etc.? How are policies designated as successes or failures? When and how are they mobilized or transferred? Where do states look for policy models?
• How do migrant-receiving and -sending states influence each other’s policies? Whose interests are served by migration and development policies?


Delano, A. & Gamlen, A., 2014, “Comparing and theorizing state-diaspora relations.” Political Geography 41, 43-53.

Ho, E. L., Boyle, M., & Yeoh, B.S., 2015, “Recasting diaspora strategies through feminist care ethics”, Geoforum, 59, 206-214.

Leung, M., 2015, “Engaging a temporal-spatial stretch: An inquiry into the role of the state in cultivating and claiming the Chinese knowledge diaspora”, Geoforum 59, 187-196.

Sahoo, S. & Pattanaik, B.K., 2014, “Introduction: Diasporas in the New Global Age”. In Sahoo, S & Pattanaik, B.K. (Eds.), Global Diasporas and Development - Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Policy Perspectives, India: Springer, pp. 1-15.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Sarah Stefanos*, University of Wisconsin, Diasporan investors, domestic investors and the state in Ethiopian land deals: developmentalism and patrimonialism in tension 20 10:00 AM
Presenter Zawadi Rowe*, Indiana University, Kenya Diaspora Strategies: Assessing Feasibility from Perspectives within the Diaspora 20 10:20 AM
Presenter Catherine Craven*, SOAS, University of London, The Global (and Local) Politics of Diaspora Engagement for Development: Tamils in Toronto 20 10:40 AM
Presenter Aaron Malone*, University of Colorado, Diaspora Bureaucracy? Formalizing emigrant engagement and the evolution of Mexico’s 3x1 Program 20 11:00 AM
Presenter Alan Gamlen*, Monash University, Cummings Michael, University of Arkansas, Explaining the rise of diaspora institutions 20 11:20 AM

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