• How Slovakia Constructs and Engages Its Diaspora

    Relevant literature recognizes the significant role of diasporas in international relations and in domestic politics. It has been acknowledged that diasporas can have an impact on both the country/countries where they live and on the country/countries to which they relate. Conversely, states can have a great influence on their citizens and co-ethnics living abroad. For these reasons, the traditional research focus on diasporas and their impact on the state has shifted towards examining the role of states in forming and supporting diasporas.

    Today, most states attempt to engage with their population abroad in some way or another. There is a growing trend of state adoption of diaspora engagement initiatives and policies around the world. Therefore, the question of how and why states engage their diasporas is highly relevant in the contemporary global, mobile, and interconnected world and its answers can shed the light on state-diaspora relations.

    This article explores how and why Slovakia constructs and engages its diaspora. The topic is addressed from the perspective of political science by applying a new institutionalism approach and a qualitative research design. The qualitative methods used in this article are case study, archival analysis, and text- and document-based techniques. The time period under consideration begins in 1993, when Slovakia declared independence, and continues to the present. Slovakia constructed the term ‘Slovaks living abroad’ generally so as to include both Slovak citizens and Slovak co-ethnic non-citizens living outside of Slovakia, establishing under one label two different groups of people with distinctive identities and forms of political membership. The groups have equal legal status but different rights, obligations, and benefits.

    This article argues that Slovakia is trying to use its diaspora policies to extend its authority over citizens and even co-ethnic non-citizens living abroad within and beyond its territory. This means that diaspora policies have the potential to be a challenging factor for nation-states and the nation-state system. However, citizenship still remains the main demarcating line between Slovak citizens and Slovak co-ethnic non-citizens. The boundaries between the members of the Slovak political community were not erased, just slightly redrawn in favour of Slovak co-ethnic non-citizens.

  • Foggy Diaspora: Romanian women in Eastern Serbia

    Drawing on an ethnographic and anthropologic research on the Romanian communities in Eastern Serbia, this article seeks to contribute to the global scholarship on diaspora and migration. It reveals interesting differences between the well defined and intensely studied notion of “diaspora”, on the one hand, and the understudied, but useful concept of “near diaspora”, on the other. First, the presence of Romanians in Eastern Serbia is looked at from a gender perspective, in the wider context of feminization of international migration. Second, the paper argues that the Romanian women in Eastern Serbia adopt the strategy of living in the “social fog”, thus becoming what can be termed “foggy diaspora”.

  • Bad neighbours? Roma diaspora and radical right electoral performance in Central Eastern Europe

    By applying both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, our research explores the link between the share of Roma diasporas and radical right electoral performance in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In other words, the present study investigates whether geographical proximity to Romani communities can influence far-right voting in post-socialist countries. Based on theoretical models developed by social psychologists, we assumed that the presence of Roma people will affect electoral behavior the same way as immigrant populations do in Western societies. Quite surprisingly, our analysis revealed a highly controversial pattern. While in the cross-national context, we found clear indications for a positive association, the individual level analysis has failed to prove that Romani communities would influence radical right voting in either way. By conducting nineteen semi-structured interviews with far-right supporters, we were expecting to clarify the theoretical link between minorities, prejudices and extreme right support across the post-communist region. In short, our study found that individual perception on the number of Roma might be a key factor to understand radical right electoral behavior in CEE countries.

  • The Political Economy of Diaspora Capitalism, diaspora formations and some notes on Bosnia and Herzegovina

    This paper discusses connections between migration related phenomena and he dynamic of international capitalism. The discussion follows the broader argument concerning the historical and world systemic nature of capitalism. By analysing the phenomena of diaspora, it seeks to contribute to the analysis of the relationships of migration and the international developments in inequality, impoverishment and environmental transition engineered by operations of contemporary capitalism. The analysis explores the ways in which uneven capitalist development influences diaspora formation but also shows how diaspora formations involve particular and complex social-political relationships, based on which the internationality of capitalism is sustained. The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina is used as an attempt to map this broad argument over a particular cases indicative of these process in the 21st century.

  • Too close or too far: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities of the “Near Diasporas” from a Country of Origin Perspective

    This paper is based on the evidence from the representative national survey and two follow-up focus groups conducted in Ukraine during the summer-autumn of 2015. It analyses the relationship between stayers and migrants by measuring perceived social distances to diaspora and other migration-based groups on the private, professional, public and civic levels. The findings reveal that accepting diaspora as „neighbours‟ and „co-workers‟ would be the most comfortable options for a majority of respondents, yet possibilities for public and civil participation might be limited by the reluctance of local social institutions to accept new actors, as well as, by lack of role-holder‟s motivation on the diaspora‟s part. The data confirm that neighbouring countries remain the main route for Ukrainian outward migration and that overwhelmingly these flows are from Ukraine to Europe whereas Russia is decreasing as a destination country. As the economic downturn and lack of employment opportunities in the „cross-border countries‟ might lead to return movement in the future, there is a need for growing engagement of the Near diaspora in development programmes at home.

  • Nădlac, Speenhamland: Modalities of Closure in a Small Diaspora

    Drawing on ethnographic evidence from the town of Nădlac, home of the largest Slovak community in Romania and the biggest road border-crossing between Hungary and Romania, the paper debates the impact of the newly built A1 highway upon the local community of nădlăcani. It argues that the historical attachment of this peasant community to its land, the post-1989 crossborder trafficking, a lack of local work opportunities and the recent construction of the highway, have produced a social and economic situation akin to some of the nineteenth century post- Speenhamland cases analyzed by Karl Polanyi. In line with Polanyi’s arguments, I show the modalities of closure that have entrapped the community and the vocal local reactions to this process. Overall, the paper exposes the intricate social, political and economic relations between local Slovaks, the Romanian state and the EU, on which the development of the community of Nădlac largely depends.

  • From national minority to diaspora: Hungarians in Romania, 2000-2015. Matters of population, education, and territory

    The paper investigates the transformation of the project of a parallel Hungarian society in Romania during the last fifteen years through the analytical lens offered by the pair concepts of diaspora and national minority. The diaspora is externally oriented towards the kinstate, aiming at acquiring its active support and advocacy in the international arena, maintaining the option to “return”, including the right to non‐residential dual citizenship. The national minority is internally oriented as a mobilized political actor on the national scene, struggling for cultural rights, territorial autonomy, and special representation in their native country. Scrutinizing the interaction between Hungarian state’s national policy, Hungarian minority participation in government in Romania, civic and cultural organisation at various local levels, and the international legal regime of minority recognition, the paper shows the tensioned living with both these postures of Hungarians in Romania. It starts with the issue of population, where sheer size, territorial distribution, and the strength of ethno‐cultural identification affect the force and legitimacy of the claims that Hungarians may advance on the national political scene, and determine the chance of maintaining a Hungarian way of life. From here it zooms into the politics of higher education in the Hungarians language in Romania, and the political life of the notion of diaspora for Hungarians in Romania.

  • Vietnamese Diaspora in Prague: food, consumption, and socio-material proximity in the making of a cosmopolitan city

    Through a case study of the spread of Vietnamese bistros and markets in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, this paper focuses on changes in the forms of everyday Vietnamese presence in the Czech Republic, the recognition and tolerance of these forms by Czech society and, finally, how these different forms can be transformed into cosmopolitan practices and identities. The paper makes use of media texts, biographical interviews and the researcher’s own observations in order to map the relationships between transnational networks, material objects and the recognition of migrants by the majority society. The history of markets and bistros creates a map of mutual relationships between the Czechs and the Vietnamese: from ignorance, through hazard to fascination and celebritization. By way of ethnic cuisine, a positive Vietnamese presence in public space has been established in two ways. First, the Vietnamese have started to be portrayed as acting subjects with their own agency. Second, these gastronomic entrepreneurs are now seen by Czech middle class consumers as a welcome addition to the construction of Prague as a modern and cosmopolitan city.

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