The Diaspora and India

Srinath Raghavan
2012 India Review  
When future historians of ideas and intellectual trends look back at the two decades following the end of the Cold War, they are likely to identify one theme as dominating the interests and inquiries of social scientists during this period: globalization. Indeed, over the last twenty years economists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians, and political scientists alike have sought to analyze and explain this central feature of our world. The idea of globalization has launched hundreds of
more » ... nched hundreds of books and many more scholarly articles. Most of these have focused the on the movement across borders of capital, goods, and services. The empirical base and conceptual sophistication of this literature is impressive indeed. Not surprisingly, these studies have set the stage for ambitious attempts at theorizing the phenomenon of globalization. 1 Another dimension that has attracted attention, particularly of International Relations (IR) scholars, is the impact of globalization on world politics. The notion of global governance, its various forms and implications has triggered several fecund debates in the barren landscape of IR hitherto dominated by "paradigm wars" and meta-theoretical battles. 2 In this profusion of literature on globalization, the one issue that has been least addressed is the movement of people across borders. The global flow of labor and the consequent presence of numerous diasporas is a notable feature of contemporary politics and economics. And yet, it remains curiously understudied. To be sure, there are numerous studies of particular diasporas-Mexican, Sri Lankan, Russian, and so forth-and their engagement in certain kinds of activities-lobbying to influence policy, electoral participation, and sponsorship of militant nationalism. But, the existing literature has not done adequate justice to the complex and multifaceted relationship between diasporas and their nation-states. Much of the available work is empirically and theoretically weak and has tended to shy away from tackling the big and tantalizing questions on this aspect of globalization.
doi:10.1080/14736489.2012.649129 fatcat:dmhzr5poxjd45fuwnew7cesnli