Over the last decade, the many political, social, and economic upheavals that have transpired in the MENA region – ranging from national uprisings challenging the existing order, deepened authoritarianism and the closure of civic space, economic collapse, and the onset of violent intractable conflict – have produced multiple waves of migration of those seeking safe harbor abroad. These new Arab diaspora communities have different and more diverse sociopolitical profiles from earlier epochs, with different degrees of attachment, identification to, and engagement with their homeland – both among new arrivals but also, importantly, those who have long since been in diaspora or who are second or third generation abroad.
Alongside these transformations has been the emergence of new political remittances and diaspora mobilization but also discreet efforts to navigate the liminal status of being caught somewhere along the spectrum of “here” and/or “there.” Based on new empirical research conducted with Libyan, Iraqi, and Yemeni diasporas and drawing on social movement analysis, the seminar will explore new forms and directional flows of political remittances that are taking place, and the various factors that mediate the act of remitting politically. This includes assessing how political identity is formed/transformed through the experience of exile and external observation, as well as the impact of multiple and overlaying political opportunity structures.
The seminar will also discuss the impact of this mobilization on conflict and peacebuilding processes, and notions of the nation.
Dr. Sarah Anne Rennick is the deputy director of the Arab Reform Initiative, a think tank, and an adjunct lecturer in political science at Sciences Po Paris. Her research focuses on social movements and alternative forms of political engagement in the Arab region. More particularly, her work explores patterns and factors influencing youth mobilization and civic and political participation, putting forth a concept of “youth” as generational political practice.
She also works on Arab diaspora mobilization and transnational/translocal political remittances, and their impact on the creation of new identities, solidarities, and political practices in both host and home sites.
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