Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration
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Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration

Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri

Border walls, shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, separated families at the border, island detention camps: migration is at the centre of contemporary political and academic debates. This ground-breaking Handbook offers an exciting and original analysis of critical research on themes such as these, drawing on cutting-edge theories from an interdisciplinary and international group of leading scholars. With a focus on spatial analysis and geographical context, this volume highlights a range of theoretical, methodological and regional approaches to migration research, while remaining attuned to the underlying politics that bring critical scholars together.
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Chapter 23: Diasporas and development

Margaret Walton-Roberts, Jonathan Crush and Abel Chikanda

Abstract

Diasporas are increasingly viewed as key development resources by sending and receiving states as well as international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Global Forum on Migration and Development. In many cases, financial remittances from migrant diasporas have surpassed official development aid and other forms of investment entering the Global South. Many migrant origin nations have turned to their diaspora communities in order to boost national development agendas. This chapter offers three critical research directions regarding the socio-spatial dimensions of diaspora engagement using policy, place and people as broad framings. In terms of policy, the authors caution against the policy orthodoxy employed by states examining their diaspora’s role in development. In terms of place, they draw attention to how diasporas are viewed as homogeneous extensions of the homeland, and when sensitivity to regional and other differences is embraced, it often becomes the basis for the material and discursive securitization of diaspora groups. Turning to people, the authors examine for whom the diaspora-development agenda is working, and reference the tendency for remittances to concentrate wealth in certain regions and for certain groups, with the potential to further embed forms of economic and spatial inequality. Building on these critical research framings the authors offer four cross-cutting issues that they argue are increasingly important to the analysis of diasporic formation, organization and influence: diasporas and the new economy; diasporas and information and communication technology; identity, gender and intersectionality; and lastly marginalization.

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