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Ethnonationalist Narratives in Diaspora Engagement Policies of Galicia, Spain

Authors: Kathryn Hannum*, Kent State University
Topics: Migration, Ethnic Geography, Europe
Keywords: Diaspora Engagement, Policy, Demographic Transition, Diaspora
Session Type: Paper
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This paper provides an overview of how and why the region of Galicia, Spain, is crafting and applying diaspora engagement policies at the sub-state scale. This is a case study which illustrates the importance of studying the region in the larger trend of diaspora engagement. In a broad 10 year ‘emigrant strategy’ begun in 2010, the Galician government outlined the multi-policy strategy implicating every office of government with both the embrace and tapping of diaspora as a human resource. Within this strategy, Galicia is focusing on diaspora return and retention with a broad sweeping strategy which taps into homeland nostalgia in diasporic communities, aiming to offset the advancing demographic transition in the region. This paper uses content analysis and interviews with both regional officials and Galician returnees to explore the ethnonationalist narratives inherent in privileging diaspora return, raise questions about second and third generation emigrant decedents, their identities and reception upon return, and the geopolitics of regional diaspora engagement vs. State diaspora engagement. Findings suggest that the region greatly privileges the visibility and ease of access of diaspora returnees due to the belief that they are inherently better suited to integrate. Returnees themselves do not experience racism when they arrive, but largely understand the racism imbedded in the policies which allowed them to return.

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