“Diaspora” refers to the movement of migrants or the descendants of migrants who identify with a homeland but currently live outside of it. A diaspora is not a monolith, so clarifying who you are including in a description (for example: “members of,” “some of,” etc.) will help avoid overly broad generalizations.
The term “Diaspora” with an uppercase D was originally associated with Jewish history, as referring to “the dispersion of Jews among the Gentile nations.” However, it began to be used by a number of other groups in the 20th century, particularly Armenians and individuals of African ancestry. The Jewish, Armenian, and African diasporas share a history of forced expulsion and persecution, including genocide and slavery, as well as some kind of vision of return, though this aspect of return is no longer a necessary component of these, and other, diasporas.
Use of the term has shifted over time; a number of communities now identify as diasporas based on an emotional attachment to commonly claimed origins and cultural attributes associated with them. Though they are often geographic, diasporas can also be based on religious, ethnolinguistic, and other criteria. Ultimately, diasporic membership is self-ascribed; individuals may be described as part of a diaspora if they refer to themselves that way.
- “Diasporas” (Migration Data Portal)
- 10 things to understand about diaspora (Oxford University Press blog)
- The Political Importance of Diasporas (Migration Policy Institute)
A “diaspora” refers to the movement of migrants or descendants of migrants who identify with a homeland but currently live outside of it. A diaspora is not a monolith, so clarifying who you are including in a description (for example: “members of,” “some of,” etc.) will help to avoid overly broad generalizations.