Although the modern global community develops according to the principles of globalization, the question of diaspora and its role in the society remains to be the controversial point for discussing.
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Nicholas Van Hear explores the problem of diaspora in relation to its types and specifics of the development in his article “Immigration and Asylum: From 1900 to the Present”, and Robin Cohen presents his vision of the question in his work “Comparing Diasporas”. It is possible to discuss Cohen’s work as a kind of a summary for the views presented by Van Hear.
Thus, Van Hear and Cohen concentrate on the particular features of the diasporas’ development in the society, accentuating the history of the emergence and typical concepts developed as the part of the diaspora members’ common vision. In their works, the authors are inclined to analyze the types of diaspora and their influence on the society and globalization processes with references to the definite character of the interactions between the diaspora and the host society affected by the history of the certain diaspora.
Van Hear presents the discussion of several types of diaspora, determining the ‘classical’ and ‘new’ types. If several decades ago it was possible to concentrate on the development of victim diasporas, imperial diasporas, and labor diasporas the members of which were unchanged, today the global community can observe the results of migrations of Afghans, Shrilankans, and Somalis. The author accentuates that the reasons for these nations’ migrations are the same as for the ‘classical’ diasporas.
These reasons are wars, social and political conflicts, and the search for work. It is possible to agree with the author in relation to explaining the nature of diaspora where victims diasporas are associated with the definite catastrophes, imperial diasporas are the results of the colonists’ influence, and labor and trade diasporas are historically correlated with the notion of slavery.
Furthermore, Van Hear states that diasporas can be discussed as the positive and negative social phenomenon. The reader can agree with the author that there is no single vision of the role of diaspora in the society because professional migrants and refugees can contribute to the host country’s economy and society as well as to influence them negatively. From this point, it is possible to refer to Cohen’s view that labor diasporas often develop without the permission of the host country’s authorities and can affect the country’s economy negatively.
Cohen pays much attention to the discussion of the victim and labor diasporas in his article, but it is also important to focus on his analysis of the concepts typical for characterizing diasporas which are the myth about the homeland with references to idealization of the native country, the notion of return, solidarity in relations with the representatives of the same ethnicity in the host country, but the troubled interactions with the population’s majority. Thus, it is an interesting trend to idealize the homeland, to develop the ‘myth’ about the life conditions there.
The author also successfully associates the main idea of the return movement with the people’s ability to concentrate on the imagined past in the homeland. The stated idea of imagined past provides the reader with the possibility to think about the reasons for the diaspora representatives’ striving to return home.
Van Hear and Cohen’s articles are important for organizing the readers’ knowledge about the notion of diaspora and the associated concepts. Thus, the ideas presented in the articles help to form the vision about the diaspora types, the history of their development, and the role for the society in the context of such modern social tendencies as globalization.