Being a relative new subject, it was very hard for us to find well balanced theoretical explanations which had good explanations for the empirical data gathered on Diaspora and development discourse. Because of this, we found it unavoidable to borrow theories from development studies which could help us answer our question as much as possible.
Relying sorely on secondary data has not been easy because of lack of exact information we needed for our specific case studies. However, we tried to read many different materials from different sources based on the requirement of our thesis, to get enough information.
While reading through different books, journals and articles, we found that these sources often had different figures on remittances, or Diaspora size. This was a bit confusing because most of these sources can be reliable. However, we decided to rely on the most reliable organizations (example, WB, National Banks, OECD and other international organizations) for such data.
The next chapter will be dealing with definition of concepts that we find important for a reader to understand while dealing with the subject of Diaspora and Development. The detailed explanations of these concepts will help one understand exactly the framework under which this thesis is working on. The chapter will giver an overview of literature used as well as expounding the historical evolution of African Diaspora.
2. DEFINITION OF KEY CONSCEPTS
2.1 What is Diaspora?
In order to fully understand the meaning of Diaspora, this thesis presents the origins of “Diaspora” both as a phenomenon (a lived experience) and as a word (the noun Diaspora). It explains the background of the phenomenon of people being dispersed either voluntarily or involuntarily away from their homeland. It equally attempts to trace the early usage of the word “Diaspora” by early writers. In order to fully understand how the term gradually gained popularity in the course of the second half of the twentieth century, it is imperative that the thesis examines two historical Diaspora experiences that are both linked and at the same time opposed: the “Jewish Diaspora” and the “black Diaspora” (Dufoix 2009; Cohen 1997:1-29).
A study of Jewish experience of dispersion, is automatically a study of “all of Jewish history which is marked by constant swings between the centrality of the land of Israel- where no sovereign power existed between 586 B.C and 1948- and the growth of one or more centers outside it[Diaspora communities]”(Dufoix 2009:5). According to Dufoix, after the Assyrian King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, a multitude of Jews were deported (galut) to Babylon between 586-332 B.C. When conditions in Israel allowed the possibility for the Jews to return, many chose not to. During the period of Assyrian domination of Israel and even after the Romans destroyed the second temple of Jerusalem by A.D 70, the Jews continued to be present in Israel, notwithstanding the fact that there was no real political authority in place. When the Roman Empire later on collapsed to the Byzantine rule, the Jews were obliged to leave Israel once more as a result of the persecution they suffered in the hands of the occupiers (Ibid). These historical events are important because they give us an idea of the causes of dispersion that subsequently leads to the creation of communities far from home.
This period marked the beginning of the creation of the Jewish Diaspora in Europe. This period saw the Jews creating new centers in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) Italy, France and the Rhine land (present day Germany).However, Jewish dispersion did not stop here because once more they found themselves insecure in their new settlements as they became objects of persecution. Due to anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews before and during the Second World War which resulted in the death of about 6.000.000 Jews, many migrated to the USA. (Ibid). This was the beginning of the creation of new Jewish communities (Diaspora communities) in the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
It is interesting to note how the Jews continued to maintain their ethnic identity despite the fact that they were on the move from generation to generation. The preservation of ethnic identity and continuous existence as an ethnic community were an important ingredient in the development of Diaspora phenomenon. According to the American scientist Daniel Elazar, “the Jewish people represent the Diaspora phenomenon” by reason of their ability to preserve their “ Integrity as an ethno-religious community” despite more than two thousand years of existence without political power over their country of origin ( Elazar as cited by Dufoix, 2009:8). Elazar also argues that persistent dispersion for over two thousand years favored “religious identification based on a shared temporal religious rhythm rather than on a shared land” (Ibid).
The persecutions suffered by the Jewish people in the second half of the 19th century led to the creation of the Zionist movement that preached return to Zion (the mountain around Jerusalem). By 1897 the first Zionist congress advocated the creation of a national homeland and by 1939 it had attracted over a million members. Although a Jewish state was finally created in 1948, the Jewish Diaspora living outside Israel continued to be growing as millions of Jews chose to live abroad (ibid). The creation of a Jewish state or homeland did not stop the growth and formation of Jewish Diaspora communities.
Della Pergolla explains that at the beginning of 2006 the Jewish population numbered about 13.5 millions and the majority of whom reside in only two countries: USA about 5.5 million and Israel about 5.3 million of a total of 7 million. From a global perspective, 95 per cent of Jews are concentrated in ten countries and distributed as follows: The USA and Israel, France (491, 500), Canada ( 373.000), The United Kingdom (297.000), Russia (228.000), Argentina (184.500), Germany (118.000), Australia (103.000), and Brazile (96.500) (Della Pergolla, as cited by Dufoix, 2009:9-10). This millions of Jews living outside Israel constitute the Jewish Diaspora.
Based on the brief history presented above, this thesis has tried to explain not just the development and growth of one of the classic Diaspora communities, but has also presented current data of this Diaspora community. It shall now present the other classic case of Diaspora experience. According to Dufoix, the other great Diaspora experience is in reference to the situation of the people of African descent living on other continents. Dufoix contends that long before many writers began using the word “Diaspora” a parallel was being inferred between the Jewish and black dispersions as early as the 19th Century in the writings of the first thinkers of Pan- Africanist cause such as W.E. A Dubois and Blyden (Dufoix, 2009:10).
Dufoix contends that Jews and blacks are linked by the role of Africa in Jewish history. He posits that for blacks the biblical episode of exodus- escaping from slaving and reaching the promised land-had special resonance. Blyden on his part considered the Jewish question “the question of questions” and had great admiration for Zionism and drew great inspiration from it. He returned to Africa in 1850 under a special program initiated by the USA in the 1820s to provide a homeland for freed slaves that were willing to return to Africa. It led to the creation of Liberia. Also, as early as the 1787 the British government supported a similar project for the creation of another homeland in Sierra Leone for blacks that were willing to return to Africa (ibid).
Ideas about the creation of a homeland for blacks living outside the African Continent were further articulated in 1820 by Jamaican born Marcus Garvey. He found the famous Universal Negros Improvement Association (UNIA) and used it as a platform to advocate for the formation of a Black Nation in Africa. He also established a shipping company known as the “Black Star” on which the success of his dream for the creation of a Black Nation in Africa depended on. But unfortunately the whole project failed when the Black Star Shipping Company went bankrupt. Marcus Garvey was jailed and later expelled from the USA and the UNIA. With that the “back -to –Africa” project was frustrated (ibid). Even though Marcus Garvey’s project failed, he at least contributed a lot in fostering ideas about belonging to the black race and the need for return to the homeland.
After explaining how blacks living outside the continent of Africa articulated their desire to return to the homeland, Stephane Dufoix notes that up till this time, in spite of the links between Jews and Blacks established by ideas and the desire of return to a homeland of origin, none of the rhetoricians used the word “Diaspora” (Ibid). He argues that as far as the use of the term “Black Diaspora” is concerned scholars have
agreed that the first occurrences of this expressions “African diasporas” and “Black Diaspora” as well as “Diaspora” to refer to Africans living outside the continent of African dates as far back as the 1950s . He posits that as early as the mid 1950s, these words were often used in analogy between the Jewish and black histories. In 1961 Franz Fanon used the expression “Negro
Diaspora” in his book titled “The wretched of the Earth” (Ibid).
Other scholars have contended that as in the 1950s and 1960s the term ‘black Diaspora was often used in reference to the dispersal of communities of African ancestry around the world and the socio-cultural and political connections that they maintained (Meaning 2003, Boyce-Davies 2007 as cited by Mercer et al. 2008:55). The term ‘black Diaspora’ was also given a political connotation as well especially by Pan-Africanists. For the latter, the term was often closely linked to the social and political endeavors at decolonizing the continent of Africa and the Caribbean and for the struggle for civil rights in the USA (Sherwood, 1995; Adi, 2002 as cited by Mercer et al. 2008:55). From the mid 1970s, Dufoix posits, there was a proliferation of publications that used the word Diaspora to refer to other dispersed populations such as the Muslim slaves, trade victims in Asia as well as other voluntary migrants.
According to Cohen the word “Diaspora” is closely linked to or is often associated with situations that refer to enslavement, exile and loneliness. It was often linked to people forced to abandon their “homelands” and “seen to be scattered by a traumatic historical event” (Cohen in Vertovec & Cohen(ed) 1999:252). He also argues that contrary to this assumption, a more profound study of the research on the origins of the classical diasporas- Jewish- reveals some voluntarism in the pattern of outgoing migration and in some case a mix of involuntary and colonizing migration. Cohen also argues that in some instances the notion of a victim Diaspora can be sustained as is the case with Armenian and African Diasporas, but in some cases linking Diaspora with victimization is ambiguous and benign (Ibid.).
The origins of the term Diaspora dates as far back as the fifth Century B.C and its meaning has evolved over time. The term Diaspora is said to have originated from the Greek verb “diaspeiro” which was used by people such as Sophocles, Herodotus, and Thucydides as early as the fifth century B.C.
However, the modern usage of ``Diaspora’’ appears as a neologism in the translated version of the Bible from the Hebrew language to the Greek language by the third century legendary, Jewish
Scholars in Alexandria (Dufoix, 2009). According to Braziel, “Diaspora as a concept first emerged from the Septuagint and midrashic rabbinical writings to describe the Jewish Diaspora, or dispersal from “homeland” and those living in exile from Judea or Jerusalem” (Braziel, 2008:11). But Stephane Dufoix argues that even though the word is used twelve times in the so-called Septuangint bible, the use of the word was not in reference to the Jewish population taken on exile to Babylon after Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C and neither did it refer to any historical event.
Contrary to popular view, Diaspora was a translation of the Hebrew terms galut, galah, and golah. These appeared in the Septuangint in many Greek words: apoikia (emigration), paroikia (settlement abroad), Metoikia (emigration), or metoikisia (transportation), aikmolosia (war time captivity) or apokalupsis (revelation). Diaspora rather meant the threat of dispersion by a Divine act facing the Hebrew people if they disobeyed God’s will (Safran in Vertovec & Cohen 1999; Dufoix 2009:4-5).
In later Jewish tradition, the meaning of Diaspora changed and was used to designate “both scattered people and the local of their dispersion”. He based his argument on the works of other religious historians such as Cornelius Van Unnik and Johannes Tromp (Ibid). In Christian tradition, the church is perceived in the New Testament as a dispersed community of pilgrims waiting to be eventually reunited in the city of God. During the 4th century, the association of church to Diaspora disappeared. But it nonetheless reappeared in the reformation and Counter Reformation where it describes protestant minorities in predominantly catholic countries or vis-versa as Diaspora (Ibid). In the late twentieth century Diaspora became very popular and was often used in reference to two very strong but contrary examples-the Jewish Diaspora and the Black Diaspora (Dufoix, 2009; Cohen, 1997:1-29).
After having examined the back ground of Diaspora as a lived experience, this thesis will now look at the definition of the word Diaspora (i.e. the noun). Over the last decade there have emerged many trajectories to the various concepts of Diasporas and its impact and attendant issues have influenced almost all fields of studies. There has also been an evolution in the definition of the term. However, since it is not possible to present all the different definitions presented by various analysts, we shall present those of some of the most important analysts in the field of Diaspora studies such as John Amstrong, Gabriel Sheffer, William Safran and Robin Cohen.
For John Armstrong (1976) “Diaspora applies to any ethnic collectivity which lacks a territorial base within a given polity, that is to say, a relatively small minority throughout all portions of the polity” (Armstrong in Vertovec & Cohen eds. 1999:393). Armstrong’s definition of Diaspora includes numerous ethnic collectivities such as hunters who are widely dispersed as well as pastoral normads and certain tribal groups like the Gypsies. He identifies two types of diasporas namely: proletariat diasporas, that he qualifies as “essentially a disadvantaged product of modernized polities [ and mobilized diasporas, that he describes as] an ethnic group which does not have a general status advantage, yet which enjoys many material and cultural advantages compared to other groups in the multi ethnic polity” (.Ibid).
The Shaffer School of the 1980s breaks this broad descriptive base by Armstrong and instead emphasizes on “trans –state networks”, rather than Armstrong’s intra-national or political approach to the subject of ethnic minority groups (Fernandez, 2009). “Diasporas: Critical and interdisciplinary perspectives”.
In Sheffer’s view,” modern diasporas are ethnic minority groups of migrant origins residing and acting in host countries but maintaining strong sentimental and material links with their countries of origin- homelands” (Sheffer in Vertovec and Cohen eds. 1999:383).He argues that as a result of huge labor migrations in recent past to Europe, the Persian Gulf, and North America, new diasporas are constantly being formed and that diasporas will always exist. Consequently the Hispanics in the USA, the Pakistanis and Palestinians in the Persian Gulf states, the Turks in Western Europe and the Israelis in USA and Canada are establishing new Diaspora communities in these countries. He discounts claims by Marxists and liberals that “diasporas are only a transitory stage of social and political development that will vanish as a result of cultural social and political tolerance or due to the emergence of classless societies”(Ibid).
William Safran took the Diaspora debate further by critiquing the Sheffer’s School. Safran regarded previous definitions of Diasporas as too flexible, lack specificity and open to metaphoric substitutions. He argues that today diasporas or more specifically Diaspora community are increasingly being used as metaphoric designations for many different categories of people such as expatriates, expellees, political refugees, alien residents, immigrants and ethnic and racial minorities tout court- in much the same way that ghetto is being used to describe all kinds of crowded constricted and under privileged urban environment.
Safran established six fold taxonomy of Diasporas and also argued that the concept of diasporas ought to include expatriate communities whose members share several of the following characteristics:
1) They or their ancestors have been dispersed from a specific original ‘center’ to two or more ‘peripheral or foreign regions;
2) They regain a collective memory, vision or myth about their original home land- its physical location, history and achievements;
3) They believe that they are not- and perhaps can not be-fully accepted by their host society and therefore feel partly alienated and insulated from it;
4) They regard their ancestral homeland as their true, ideal home and as they place to which they or their ancestors would (or should) eventually return-when conditions are appropriate;
5) They believe that they should collectively, be committed to the maintenance or restoration of their original and to its safety and prosperity; and
6) They continue to relate, personally or vicariously to that homeland one way or another, and their ethno communal consciousness and solidarity are importantly defined by the existence of such a relationship.
Safran’s definition sees Diasporas largely from the perspective of existence of relation and effective ties with the homeland. Basically for Safran Diasporas are “those segments of a people living outside their homeland” (Ibid). Scholars have applied the term to Cubans and Mexicans in the USA, Pakistanis in Britain, Maghrebis in France, Turks in Germany. Recent writings have also included other classic cases of dispersed persons into Safran’s definition of Diaspora such as the Armenians, Greek and Polish minorities, Palestinian Arabs, Indians, Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and Polish Diasporas of the past. He notes however, that none of the examples conforms to the ‘ideal type’ of the Jewish Diaspora. In fact the term has proliferated to include other intellectual, cultural and political agenda (Safran in Vertovec and Cohen 1999:365; Shepperson 1966 as quoted by Brubaker 2005).
Defining the concept of Diaspora is tricky as there is likelihood to include anyone who has ancestral links with a certain country to be included in its Diaspora. But this is problematic and some have argued that there ought to exist some common features for designating a Diaspora, a term that in recent years has expanded far beyond its original application to Jewish Diaspora and it is now applied in the description of all kinds of cultural and ethnic dispersions. In order to bridge this conceptual gap, Cohen presents some common features defining Diaspora:
-Dispersion from the country of origin or homeland and often traumatically, and scattered in more than one country either voluntary or involuntarily in search of a better livelihood; work, pursuit of trade or to further colonial ambitions;
-a collective memory and myth of an ideal ancestral home or belonging to the same ethnic group including its location, history, culture, religion, suffering and achievements and that is sustained over a long time;
-An idealization of the real or imagined ancestral home and collective commitment to its maintenance, restoration, safety and prosperity, even to its creation;
-The frequent development of a collective desire to return to the homeland even if many in the group pay only intermittent visits and are satisfied with a vicarious relationship with the homeland;
-A troubled relationship with host societies, suggesting a lack of acceptance or possibility that another calamity might befall the group;
-A sense of empathy and co-responsibility with other members of the group in other host countries even where home has become more vestigial; and finally
-The possibility of a distinctive yet creative and enriching life in host countries with a tolerance for pluralism (Cohen in Vertovec & Cohen 1999:274; (Bakewell 2009, p.5-6).
Cohen consciously describes this list as ‘common features’ because according to him it is difficult for a particular Diaspora to manifest all the features. He argues that this methodological device makes it possible to include certain important cases that intuitively seem part or claim to be part of the Diaspora phenomenon (Ibid). If one considers for instance the case of Diasporas who are scattered for aggressive or voluntarist motives (feature 1), it is far from the Jewish tradition, but one that gains justification when reference is made to the case of ancient Greeks. The afore mentioned feature also suits the use of the term to describe trading and commercial Diaspora such as the Lebanese, Chinese; to the description of those dispersed abroad in search of work and to imperial or colonial settlers such as the British, Portuguese and Spanish settlements of the mercantile and colonial period (Ibid). He also uses the case of Kurds and Sikhs to explain the idea that a Diaspora may be defined not only in reference to the maintenance or restoration of a homeland, but with its very creation as well. It therefore covers the case of ‘imagined homelands’ that bears some resemblance to the original history and geography of the Diaspora in only the remotest way and yet they manifest many other features of Diaspora groups(Ibid).
Furthermore, Cohen considers the features alluding to sentiments of co-ethnicity and possibility of creative expression. In this respect he argues that the suggestion that Diaspora can be constituted by acts of imagination is perhaps the most adventurous concept of Diaspora that has been proposed. The main idea is that transnational bonds do no longer have to be maintained through migration or exclusive territorial claim. He argues that in the age of globalization dominated by cyberspace, a Diaspora can, to some degree, be held together or recreated through the mind, through cultural artifacts and through a shared imagination (Ibid).Some analysts suggest that a perverse feature of globalization has been the universalization, fragmentation and multiplication of identities.
Identification with a Diaspora therefore bridges the gap between the local and the global and the outcome is a cultural artifact rather than a political project. Cohen also posits that some Diasporas commonly mutate in various phases of their migratory history. This is the case with Indians for example, where about 1.5 million were employed as plantation laborers in many colonies of the British Empire such as in Fiji, Natal, Mauritius, Guyana and Trinidad (Ibid).This definition enables us to distinguish between which groups qualify to be called Diaspora and which ones do not qualify among the myriad of individuals involved in transnational activities. For instance not all migrants become Diaspora and not all Diaspora could be termed as migrants even though they might have been descendants of migrants. Similarly not all people who are engaged in transnational activities such as “transnational corporate experts” who shuttle around the globe but still maintain their nationality, can become Diaspora (Braziel, 2008; Bakewell, 2009).
An important question that needs to be answered and that Bakewell raised in his attempt to define the concept of Diaspora is: where is African Diaspora? According to him even those who are out of their countries but within the continent of Africa for example, also qualify as Diaspora. He cites for example African Diaspora living within the continent. He argues that although much focus is on African Diaspora living in Europe and North America because of their “deep pockets, “those within the continent cannot be ignored (Bakewell, 2009). On the other hand, Paul Zeleza, in his definition of African Diaspora, he also include groups of those migrants who move within the continent as well as those moving within particular countries (Zeleza, 2005, as quoted by Mercer, et al 2008: 55-57).
However, we refrain from using Paul Zeleza, definition that includes both international and domestic mobility because our focus is on African Diaspora in Europe and North America. But this is not to discount the fact that in general terms African Diaspora include dispersed people within the continent. They too are part of African Diaspora per se. Although in the literature, analysts such as Paul Zeleza(2005) ,Akyeampong(2000),Byfield (2000) and Manning(2003), have argued against such cultural and historical studies perspectives of African Diaspora that privileges experiences of dispersed Africans North of the Atlantic to the disadvantage of those within the continent. Therefore due to this shortcoming (from our point of focus), this thesis will use its own definition of the term Diaspora.
Since Diaspora studies have emerged not long ago, academicians are still doing researches into definitions and hence raise the problem of definition. These problems mainly arise from the fact that claims and counter claims are put forward in favor of different definitions of the same concept. The field of Diasporas is an area where there is constant inclusion of new categories of people in to the definition. As such it purposes the problem of a concise definition that includes all categories of Diasporas. In reality the field of Diaspora is more complex than is depicted theoretically which makes it an uphill task to put forward a perfect definition. In most cases a definition is adopted based on the area been studied, whether it is anthropology, cultural studies, history or development. As such, since this thesis is about Diaspora and development, the definition must take into consideration previous theories in this area.
Armstrong (1976) in his definition of Diasporas, made a simple distinction between mobilized and proletariat Diasporas (Armstrong in Vertovec and Cohen eds.1999:393). Sheffer have criticized Armstrong’s definition because it is limited in his two fold distinction. He argues that although some Diasporas like the guest workers in their early stages can actually be classified as proletariat, most of the other Diasporas are mobilized to acquire advantages and improve their status.
The Sheffer School in the 1980s put a break to the broad generic approach proposed by Armstrong. Sheffer emphasizes “trans-state networks” distinguished by complex ethnic ties and solidarities […] is what made Diaspora criticism visible, identifiable as a ‘new type of social species’, converting into what is now commonly known as modern Diaspora.” (Mishra as cited by Fernandez, 2009). The focus on what Mishra calls ‘territorial binaries’- host land, homeland and ethnically unified Diaspora was the center piece of early debates on Diasporas.
According to Mishra, the contributions of William Safran to the debate on Diaspora came as a critique to the Sheffer School. Safran argues that the early definitions of Diaspora were too flexible and lacking specificity and thus open to metaphoric substitutions (Ibid). Hence he proposed six fold taxonomy of Diaspora and proposed that expatriates be included in the definition of Diaspora. Safran’s focus on Diaspora entities risks excluding Diasporas from other social formations.
Robin Cohen on his part drew inspiration from people such as Gilroy and Hall and makes a shift from the dichotomy between homeland and host land and instead focuses on the local level. He criticized Safran’s use of the Jewish Diaspora as an ideal case. Mishra criticizes Cohen that his classification of diasporas into five groups- victim, trade, imperial, cultural and labor is a mere replacement of Safran’s ideal. Mish argues that up till present the definition of Diaspora has remained ‘class neutral’, gender neutral and generational neutral blocs that uncritically project home and host countries as homogenous territorial entities”( Mishra as cited by Fernandez, 2009). Seeing that all the definitions so far proposed have their limits, the question that arises is how does this thesis intend to define the concept of Diasporas?
In this thesis, the definition of African Diaspora is reframed to mean people dispersed voluntarily or involuntarily from their homelands in the continent of Africa, but who still maintained some kind of links with their home countries. This thesis excludes all form of domestic migrations or dispersions that have taken place with particular countries from definition of Diaspora. To include internal migrants in the definition of Diaspora seems like an unnecessary extension of the concept. This thesis privileges the experiences of dispersed Africans living in Europe and North America. The reason being that the contribution of dispersed Africans in Europe and North America to the development of their homeland is most crucial given the amounts of remittances they send home and their capacity and ability to contribute through skills, trade and transfer of technology. Also, contemporary African Diaspora in this thesis is defined as those people of African descent who left the continent either voluntarily or involuntarily as from the 1960s and who still maintain connections or linkages with their home lands.
2.1.1 Typology of Diaspora
This thesis has also considered the presentation of a typology of Diaspora. Researchers like Gabriel Sheffer, Saffran and Cohen have presented different typologies of Diaspora. The typologies presented by different researchers vary depending on the criteria used.
John Armstrong based his classification of Diasporas on the manner in which the minority group .interacted with the multiethnic polity. He proposed two types of Diasporas namely: proletariat (disadvantaged product of modernized polity such as the gypsies, hunting and pastoral nomads) and mobilized Diasporas (an ethnic group which does not have a general status advantage yet which enjoys many material and cultural advantages compared to other groups in the multiethnic polity.
Gabriel Sheffer (1993) presents a fairly simple typology that distinguishes two groups of Diasporas and the include: stateless Diasporas (Diasporas with no state of origin) and state based Diasporas. In the first group-stateless Diasporas he cites the example of Palestinians and Tibetans. He divides the second group - state based diasporas- in to four categories:
The classical Diaspora are very structured and they include examples such as the Jews and the Chinese;
Veteran type Diasporas such as the Greeks or Italians are more recent but fairly structured;
Newly born Diasporas such as the Koreans;
Sleeping Diasporas such Americans in Europe or Asia. This group of Diaspora maintains little or no links and networks with the homeland.
For Sheffer what differentiates between Diasporas is the nature of community organization that determines that cohesion. Political, Economic and social networks prevail in this organization and they constitute the basis of the Diaspora. The degree of organization of the community also depends on how long the Diaspora has existed. It is thus a very important element in Shaffer’s typology of Diasporas.
One of the earliest attempts at delineating and systematizing the concept of Diasporas was way back in 1991 by William Safran. He proposed a six fold taxonomy that he argued was the measuring rod for identifying a Diaspora community. He asserted for a community to qualify as Diaspora it must fulfill all or one of the six characteristics that he out lined above. Safran attempted to create an ideal type of Diaspora and by so doing stressed the transnational character of Diasporas. He also emphasized the symbolic as well as material importance of a homeland and a vision of eventual return to it. Safran’s taxonomy is limiting because it emphasizes on Diaspora groups relationship with the homeland and down plays other relationships and linkages that inform the Diaspora condition (Tsagarousianou, 2009). “Rethinking the concept of Diaspora”. Robin Cohen (1997) proposes a different typology of Diasporas to serve platform for reflection on the concept of Diaspora. He has based his typology on the main character(s) of the Diasporas and in most cases they are usually combined. He identified five different types of Diasporas and he puts them into the following categories: victim, trade, labor, cultural and imperial Diasporas. They are presented in the diagram below.
TYPE OF DIASPORA
Jews, Africans, Armenians
British, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Germany
Source: (AFFORD 2000).
Victim Diaspora includes the early Jewish and African Diaspora that was involuntarily dispersed through persecution and the notorious transatlantic slave trade. According to Cohen “victim Diasporas were, inconveniences to the key unit of modernity, the nation-state whose leaders sought to make ethnicity (they often called it ‘race’) congruous with territory” (Cohen in Vertovec & Cohen, 1999:258).
Just as the powerful nation-states marginalized imported Diaspora, they at the same time established their own Diasporas in other countries such as in Africa, Asia, North and South America. This led to the formation of imperial Diasporas. European countries that participated in the formation of imperial Diasporas include Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, English and Dutch colonists (Ibid).
Labor Diasporas were dispersed with the purpose of seeking employment such as the Indians of whom 1.5 million were employed as indentured laborers in various plantations in colonies in the British Empire in places like Fiji, Natal, Mauritius, Guyana and Trinidad. However ever, in the literature there is a controversy whether these mutations of plantation workers did not involve an element of in voluntarism (Cohen in Vertovec & Cohen, 1999:275).
Linked to imperial Diaspora is trading Diaspora that existed as far back as the days of imperialist’s nation-states. Cohen contends that such Diasporas were often started by camp-followers of military conquest and colonial expansion as was the case with Chinese traders in South East Asia and Indian merchants in East Africa (Ibid). In the literature some analysts have characterized the latter category of diasporas as ‘middlemen Diaspora’ (Bonacich and Modell as cited Cohen, 1999:258).
Cultural Diaspora are formed by Diaspora communities constituted by displacement and are sustained by hybrid historical conjunctures. They negotiate and resist social realities of poverty, racism, violence and political and economic inequality. They developed or articulate alternate public spheres, interpretive communities where critical alternatives can be expressed. Paul Gilroy puts forward a complex map of one of Britain’s Diaspora communities: The Afro-Caribbean/ British/American black Atlantic. Gilroy in “The Aint No Black in the Union Jack” (1987) explains how Diasporas culture of black settler community in the UK articulate a specific set of global and local attachment through music (Clifford, 1994)
Cohen asserts that these categories of Diasporas are not fixed. For instances, although the old Jewish and African diasporas were categorized as victim diasporas, the Jewish Diaspora for example may well be classified as a trade diasporas. In a similar manner contemporary African migrants are in most cases suitable for the category of labor Diasporas (Cohen in Vertovec and Cohen, 1999).
Although Cohen has not emphasized the transnational character of diasporas by high lighting the ‘significance of their transnationality in the production of creative tensions and syntheses’, he none the less also renewed emphasis on strong links to the past (Ibid)
As demonstrated, all the writers have made great endeavors to demarcate the field of research as well as propose a typology of Diasporas albeit with some weakness. However for the purpose of this thesis, we follow Cohen’s typology because it does not only combine the earlier characteristics proposed by people like Safran, but goes further to add other characteristics to it. Moreover, Cohen argues that the typologies the characteristics are not fixed and one or more could apply to a particular Diaspora community. Also since this thesis is about African Diaspora with a particular focus on those in Europe and North America, it should be noted that it is very difficult to make distinct delineations on the types of Diasporas. For instance, even though many African Diasporas were originally victim Diasporas in the long run they become labor Diasporas and yet others become trade Diasporas. It is for these reasons that that this thesis has adopted Cohen’s typology of Diasporas.
However, it is important to also note as James Clifford pointed out that ‘we should be wary of constructing our working definition of a term like Diaspora by recourse to an ideal type’( Clifford 1994 as cited by Tsagarousianou 2009) The notion of diasporas is a very elusive one and although attempts have been made to provide a typology, (Cohen, 1997) such typologies and definitions do not recognize the dynamic and fluid character of both Diaspora and the volatile transnational context in which they emerge and acquire substance”( Ibid).
The term “transnational” has long been applied in International Political Economy to describe corporations that maintain a significant organizational and financial presence in two or more countries simultaneously. The growth of transnational corporations was accompanied by a similar growth in the relocation of population. Subsequently the term was used to also describe both the sectors of migrating population that maintained a simultaneous presence in two or more location as well as the relations that were developed by these migrants.
In 1986 the term was employed as theme of a conference publication organized by the American Society of Social Sciences. The publication was entitled “From foreign workers to settlers?-Transnational migration and the emergence of a new minority”(Schiller et al. in Vertovec & Cohen eds. 1999:27).The title of this conference points to the fact that policy makers were developing interest in this new phenomenon. That explains why the conference publication focused on the ramifications that this type of new migration has on public policy. Henceforth it caught the interests of policy makers and academia and subsequently there was a proliferation of the use of the term.
According to Steven Vertovec in “conceiving and researching transnationalism,” the notion of transnationalism has a wide variety of descriptions in different disciplines regarding its meanings, processes, activities, scales and methods concerning the of transnationalism. It has been defined using different themes such as: social morphology, a type of consciousness, a mode of cultural reproduction, an avenue of capital, a cite of political engagement and as a cite of reconstruction of place or locality( Vertovec 1999). Vertovec posits that “transnationalism broadly refers to multiple ties and interactions linking people or institutions across the borders of nation – states or institutions”(Ibid). Transnationalism defined as long distance networks is not new though because it proceeded the nation-state.
However, today this system of activities, ties, interactions, exchange and mobility, that go across national borders have been intensified , accentuated and globalized. New communication technologies have helped to facilitate such networking. For some other analysts, transnationalism “describes a condition in which certain kinds of relationships and connections as well as networks have been forged in a global scale such that the presence of international borders are of little or no effect (Schiller et al.1992;Hannerz 1996;Castells 1996; as cited by Vertovec 1999).
In the past, migration was associated with certain stereotypes such as rupture with families and abandonment of culture in favor of that of the adopted home (Ibid, 1999:26). But today things have changed and we see new kind of migrants whose lives, activities and networks transcend national boundaries and encompass those of both the host societies and the home societies.
Schiller, Basch and Blanc-Szanton have argued that a new conceptualization is needed in order to understand the experience and consciousness of this new migrant population. According to them this new conceptualization is known as “transnationalism” and the new type of migrants are described as “transmigrants” (Ibid.1999:26). They have defined transationalism as “the process by which immigrants build social fields that link together their country of origin and their country of settlement. Immigrants who build such social fields are designated as “transmigrants”. Transmigrants develop and maintain relations of all nature that runs across the board and ranges from familial, economic, social, organizational, religious and even political and that goes beyond borders. Transmigrants act within a sphere of action, feel concerns and develop identities within social networks and maintain connections with two or more societies simultaneously (Ibid.1999:26; Braziel 2008:27).
The term transnationalism is also used in other instances to describe the movement of capital, finance, trade, cultural and material forms of production across national boundaries. Such movements increasingly vulgarized by the forces of globalization serve to erode nation-state as the basis, grounds or foundation for capitalist economy.
Nevertheless, when applied to our discussion of Diaspora, the term transnationalism refers principally to the movement of humans across geographical, historical, cultural and linguistic boundaries. In this regard, transnationalism is the condition in which people who have left their homelands either for work, studies or the search of a better, maintain ties, networks, relationships that transcend national borders. Such ties and networks are being facilitated and re-enforced by the processes of globalization and especially the new technologies that have made communication pretty fast, and cheap.
Also, in this thesis the kind of transnational activities that we are interested in are those that transmigrants are involved in as they contribute to the development of their homeland. Such transnational activities include for example: transfer of remittances by Diasporas to homeland, trading activities by Diasporas, maintenance of virtual relationships by Diasporas in several places at the same time, transfer of technology and skill, as well as mobility of humans across international borders.
Through such myriad transnational activities, African Diaspora form a link with which they contribute to development of their countries of origin despite the long distance. In that case, the section below will further elaborate on the meaning of development that we refer to in this thesis.
The word ‘Development’ itself is diverse and complex. Many scholars have used it but in different ways depending on their point of focus. Others have used it as a state or static condition while others have used it to mean a process or rather a dynamic change. Furthermore, other scholars have argued that development is a discourse vague and broad which is contested both theoretically and politically (summer and Tribe 2008: 9).
“The idea of Development stands today like a ruin in the intellectual landscape. Its shadow obscures our vision”
According to Wofgang Sachs, the concept of development has been used since the post-colonial period by emerging and newly independent nations as towering lighthouse guiding them towards building their states.( Sachs,1992:2). As his quotation says above, development has been used by many to mislead, disappoint and delusion others. Therefore to him, development is more than just a socio-economic endeavor, but a perception which shapes reality, a fantasy which unleashes, and a myth which gives comfort to societies. ( Sachs, 1992: 2).
Sachs’ ideas of development finds support from another scholar Escobar Arturo who sees development as set of ideas and practices used since colonial times by the North with the main aim to dominate the South. In other words, Escobar perceives development as a domination tool where by the powerful states use to control and embed their own ideas on the weak powerless states.(Escobar in Garner and Lewis 1995: 3). Therefore, a careful analysis of Sachs’ and Escobar’s perception of development would come to a conclusion that they see development as a tool for power and class division.
However, others scholars have a different view on the whole concept of development. A number of scholars view development as not just an economic phenomenon as many were led to understand in previous decades, but rather a multi-dimensional process involving reorganization and reorientation of the whole of economic and social system. By this it means, its not just economic progress, but also enriching and improving people’s lives in all important aspects, that is food, shelter and health care.
Implied, though not plainly expressed in almost every use of the word “development”, lies the notion that some countries are rich where as others are poor. Tagged along this perception, development is seen as economic growth.
According to Adam Szirmai, development perceived as economic growth, is more or less based on quantitative analysis, where by changes are measured in the structure of production and employment. ( Szirmai:2005: 6). Nonetheless, this view came under so much criticism in the 1960s as other economists such as Gunnar Myrdal observed that most of the African countries’ populations did not experience any changes in their living conditions despite growth of economy. (Szirmai. 2005, pg 7). As the result of such criticisms, scholars like Seers came up with additional requirements to be considered when speaking of development. Seers suggested that decline in inequality, creation of employment opportunities and absence of poverty and malnutrition are the other important requirements to be added when speaking of development. ( Steers as quoted in Szirmai:2005: 7).
Therefore reflecting on what scholars have argued, development can be referred to as economic and social improvements of a countries’ condition. This way, it will have an impact on people’s living conditions, creating opportunities and wealth.
Nevertheless, the concern of this thesis is not to discuss what development is or is not, but rather to provide one framework among many that this thesis will use. That being the case, development as used in this paper refers to a process that involves improvement of a countries’ social-economic conditions whereby opportunities are created, living standards are raised, wealth is generated, social services are improved as well as economic growth is positive. This is that kind of development attributed by Diaspora and as Mohan said, "it is development by Diaspora".
Important to note, the meaning above does not come to a conclusion that it is the right perception. It is important to understand that the concept of development is ambiguous; therefore, a point of focus should determine the right angle where it can well be explained. Since in our thesis our point of focus is the society and economic growth, our best understanding of the concept development lies on the view that development is a process that involves improvement of a countries’ social-economic conditions whereby opportunities are created, living standards are raised, wealth is generated, social services are improved as well as economic growth is positive.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, globalization is one of the most pertinent concepts that have dominated social discourse. This thesis will draw on all aspects of the globalization process to explain how it has facilitated transnational activities of Diasporas in participation in homeland development.
It is argued that the phenomenon of globalization is a fairly recent concept in the field of development studies. But some have also argued that globalization is not a new phenomenon at all, rather it is a new word that is being used to describe old trends and issues such as cross-border movement of goods, persons and ideas. Those who belong to this school of thought argue that if globalization is simply about people and goods crossing borders, then it is, in fact, not new (Holton in Harrington (ed.) 2004).
When one mentions the term “globalization” it immediately brings to mind a plethora of images. It conjures images of processes such as free trade, free movement of labor and capital. At the mention of the word globalization, it also conjures images of international institutions like the World Trade Organization, international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, multinational companies, new communication technologies such as internet or of the activities of non-governmental organizations such as the Green peace and Amnesty International(Holton in Harrington (ed.)2004: 293-294). But what is globalization?
According to Joseph Stiglitz, in “Globalization and its Discontents”, globalization can be defined as follows: “is the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world(…)brought about by the enormous reduction of the cost of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge and people across the borders.”(UC Atlas of Global Inequality).
Academia, politicians, development practitioners and even the man in the street have divergent opinions about globalization. While some see an image of the global economy that has made progressive economic strides, others see an image of global injustice. As Robert Holton puts it “both sinners and saints, it seems, inhabit the global domain”. The former stands for those who take advantage of globalization to exploit cheap labor from the poor countries and the latter represents the benevolent actions of humanitarian organizations (Ibid. 2004:292-293).
In fact, providing a vivid definition for the term globalization is not that easy because from an analytical stand point, “there is certainly some confusion as to the kind of concept or theory that globalization amounts to” (Ibid.2004:293).
Robert Holton posits that globalization may represent the series of evolving “processes, relationships, and institutions that are not contained within the borders of nation-states and have significant that transnational element” (ibid). The meaning and usefulness of globalization goes far beyond the scope of this definition especially as globalization has become an integral part of the rhetoric of contemporary neoliberal economic order.
Some have contended that globalization emphasizes two main dominant trends: world -wide active communication systems and fluent economic conditions especially high mobility of people, financial resources and trade (Sunkel: 1995; Carlsson: 1995; Scholte1995 as quoted by Reyes).
But what role does globalization play in relation to African diaspora and development?
The general assumption is that through globalization, countries are more connected due to low cost of communication. What's more , globalization enhances interconnectedness of the international financial system and free movement of goods and people. As the result, the African diaspora is able to connect with homeland, conduct trade between homeland and hostland, transfer technology as well as send remittances to their families, hence contribute to development of their countries of origin.
With regards to economic activities the new communication technologies are increasingly being utilized by small and medium size businesses as well as individuals for business transactions. This technological advancement has enabled the African diaspora to easily reach their homeland and conduct business while still in residential countries. Even more, the most significant business innovation brought about by the new communication technologies is the “virtual money mechanism” by which money can be transferred from one part of the world to another within the shortest time possible. Therefore, through its various aspects, globalization has been a useful tool into facilitating the role of African diaspora in homeland development.
After seeing the definitions of the above concepts, one may ask, what is the purpose of defining all these terms? A simple reason for doing this is because of the interconnectedness of these terms in relation to the discourse of diaspora and development. In order to explain explicitly this interconnectedness, the following section will clearly expound their link to one another.
2.5 Link in concepts.
One can say that Diaspora are the precursors of modern transnationalism. Diaspora/diasporic communities or groups are more often than not, used interchangeably with transnational migrants or communities (Economic Issue of the Day: Vol. VIII Nos. 4 and 5 (December 2008) . This suggest that the concept of transnational and Diaspora are related. But do they have the same meaning? According to the Phillipine's journal of international development studies, the two concepts, that is, Diaspora and transnationalism overlap each other but transnational groups are broader than Diaspora.
Drawing from the concept of transnationalism or the process by which migrants forge and sustain multiple social relations across borders, transnational groups or communities is in a general term used to describe migrants and the multi stranded ties transcending national boundaries that they build and maintain in a globalized setting. Diaspora on the other hand may be regarded as a subset of transnationalism. It is a kind of transnationalism that has a particular focus on maintaining ties with the country of origin or the homeland." (ibid)
Figure 1. Relationship between sets of Diasporas, Transnationals and Migrants.
Figure 1 illustrates the relationship that exists between sets of Diasporas, Transnationals and Migrants. The three conceps are closely related and one has to know one to understand the other. Important to note:
Not all migrants become Diaspora and not all Diasporas can be considered as migrants although their ancestors may have been so. Likewise, people may be involved in transnational activities without forming a Diaspora group. For instance, the global elites of businessmen operating between European capitals and North America are certainly engaged in transnational practices but do not necessarily form a Diaspora (Bakewell 2009).
Additionally, transnationalism and Diaspora have in recent years increased or rather enhanced remarkably by what is known as "globalization". In support of this argument, Rosenau notes that Diaspora are the key protagonists of globalization and representatives of distant proximities (Rosenau, 2003). Indeed, while Diasporas' lives are often shattered by experience of migration, which separates them from homeland states and families, it is the process of globalization which helps them integrate their homes and host countries. Also, it is through globalization that international mobility was made easier, transnational relations were facilitated, increase in communication technology as well as transportation. Diaspora, in the same line, was enabled to form transnational communities and find links to homeland. As AFFORD organization indicates, the creation of transnational Diaspora communities is less difficult in the current times due to different aspects of the process of globalization. For instant, with the evolution of technology in transport and communication, Diaspora and transnational communities can easily be involved in the development of homeland and form social and economic relations over vast geographical distances.
At the same time, the intersection between development and transnationalisim is becoming very crucial. At the heart of transnational activities such as foreign investment, money flow (remittance) and trade, growth and modernity processes are engineered. This link is also associated with Diaspora since they are the actors at the center of transnational global outlook. In turn, due to the economic, social, political and cultural interactions between Diasporas and their homelands, a web of transformation is formed within those countries' societies and economies.
As mentioned earlier, the most popular form of Diaspora engagement to homeland is through remittances. These remittances have in recent years become an important source of foreign savings to notable number of developing countries. Orozco notes that the implication of these remittances and other forms of engagements such as technology transfer, political involvements etc, is reflected in the impact on the homeland's at various levels and of course when looked from economic point of view, the impact coincides with development. Additionally, remittances are considered to be manifestation of a wider global economic integration hence often associated with different economic relationships Diaspora have with their countries of origin (Orozco, 2005:5). Equally important as well, remittances received by families, help them improve their living standard.
2.6. LITERATURE REVIEW
The concept of Diaspora has been differently used with some writers using it to describe basically every situation that occurs away from home. Despite the misuse of the concept of Diaspora, this thesis has endeavored to look at the different approaches to the definition of Diaspora.
Conceptions of Diaspora have been very diverse than commonly accepted catastrophic tradition. He established the origins of the word dating back to old testament of the Christian bible and explained its early use that referred principally to Jews carried away from their home land and less commonly to Greeks, Armenians and Africans (Cohen in Vertovec and Cohen 1999:266).For Gilroy Diaspora identifies a relational network, characteristically produced by forced dispersal and reluctant scattering (Gilroy in Vertovec and Cohen (ed.) 1999:292).
As far as the developmental role of Diaspora is concerned, most of previous literatures have been on the negative impact that is ‘brain drain' from the source countries. In a course of time, this line of debate gained a more positive attitude and most debate in recent times has been on ' brain circulation'. In support of this line of debate, Hatzipanayotou (1991) studied the impact of international migration and remittances using a two country temporal model and concluded that, “when a part of a country’s labor force is employed abroad, its welfare is subject to income and employment conditions in the host country. Likewise when a host country’s income is earned by using immigrant labor, its welfare is subject to policies that may induce or discourage such migration.” (Hatzipanayotou in Vertovec & Cohen 1999:61).
Keely and Tran also studied remittances from labor migrants, evaluated their performance and implications and concluded that “there are presumptive links between remittances and income distribution and between remittances and inflation” (Keely &Tran in Vertovec &Cohen 1999:88). Numerous reports from international organizations like the IOM and the World Ban are unanimous that Diasporas have an important role to play in the development of their home countries.
As a point of departure, this thesis accepts the view that African Diaspora play an important role in the development of their home land. Building on previous researches, this thesis goes further to argue that although African Diaspora plays an important role in the development of their home lands, they have so far not been able to transform development state of their homelands.
Arguing along the same lines, Xing and Opoku-Mensah(2010) carried out a comparative study of Chinese and African Diaspora. In their study, they argue that even though African Diaspora are considered to play an important role in homeland development, the impact have been little compared to that of Chinese diasporas' role in developing China. They concluded that the inability of African diasporas to transform their homelands is due to structural, historical and political reasons.(Xing and Opoku-Mensah 2010). This thesis also made an extensive use of other recent publications in this area like “Development and African Diaspora” by Mercer et al. 2008, and “Diaspora: an introduction “by Braziel J. 2008. Besides published books, private and official online resource of different countries and Diaspora groups has been greatly employed.
2.7. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF DIASPORA.
History is important because it explains present perception about events and individuals. For instance knowledge of the history of African Diaspora helps to explain from a historical perspective, the challenges that contemporary African Diaspora faces. Also history of African Diaspora is important as it determines the socio-economic and political relations that member of the African Diasporas maintain with their homelands and that engenders development. Therefore in order to better understand how Diasporas operate, this thesis must first explain the processes that led to their formation.
In order to facilitate the presentation of the history we shall adopt Opoku-Mensah’s methodological approach of separating the history of African Diaspora based on two historically distinct movements- “one voluntary and the other involuntary –that left Africa at historically distinct periods”(Ibid:10-11)
The first and most important of these movements and which, of course, is the basis for the making of the African Diaspora, is the transatlantic slave trade that was perpetuated on Africans and that led to millions of Africans being transported out of the continent. This slave trade which enslaved Africans were transported out of the continent is said to have begun about the 1400s.
Even before the Portuguese began transporting enslaved Africans to Portugal and Spain, they had already been using enslaved Africans for a long time in the sugar plantations of the West African Islands of Sao Tome` and Principe` (Gomez 2005:620) However, it was not until when Portuguese seafaring traders began to transport enslaved Africans from the west coast of Africa to Portugal and Spain that the trade really gained momentum. By 1500s, they began transporting huge numbers of slaves to the Americas. The first slaves arrived the Americas in 1502, barely a decade after Christopher Columbus landed in the West Indies in 1492. The slaves were brought by the Spanish to Hispaniola, Isla Espanola (also known as little Spain) to mine gold in these Spanish colonies. Throughout the rest of the 1500s, the Spanish continued to bring enslaved Africans to work in the Spanish Islands.
By the 1600s enslaved Africans were transported to the rest of the Spanish colonies in the West Indies and to the Americas. Subsequently they were brought to the “New World” including countries like: Jamaica. Barbados, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Bahamas, North America, Mexico, Belize, south America including Gayana,Venezuela,Columbia,Peru, Surinam and Brazil(Prah 1996 as quoted by Opoku-Mensah 2008;Braziel 2008:17). Some enslaved Africans ended up as far as West Asia, Central Asia, India , the Balkans and beyond (Prah 1996 as quoted by Opoku-Mensah 2008). These slaves were used as laborers in the sugar, tobacco, cotton and coffee plantations as well as in mining fields.
Historian Thomas c. Holt in his book “slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World ”argues that “the Americas are unthinkable apart from its Africanist presence, and particularly the contribution to labor, production and capitalist accumulation of Wealth in European colonies of the Americas”(Holt C. as quoted by Braziel 2008:18).
This first distinct historical movement of Africans out of the continent was largely an involuntary act. The translantic slave trade continued unabated until the staggered abolitions of slavery and slave trade in Europe and North America and the forced migration of Africans. The transatlantic slave trade constitutes the basis of the formation of what is commonly known as global Africa or the old Diaspora (Prah 1996 as quoted by Opoku-Mensah 2008:11).
The second movement that was both voluntary and involuntary (caused by wars, political instability and persecution) began in the 1960s and 1970s, and has led to the formation of the second Diaspora. It was basically a development of the post colonial era that saw many Africans migrating mostly to Europe and North America.
While explaining the making of the second African Diaspora, Zeleza contends that after the abolition of Slave trade in Europe and North America and the end of forced migration in Africa, the population of Africans migrating to Europe and America to reside there was greatly reduced compared to other immigrant groups. In order to corroborate this argument, Zeleza has employed data that spans the period 1850- 1990,and which proves that the number of African born migrants in the USA population increased from 2,538 in 1900,and rose to 18,362 in 1930,35,355 in 1960, and to an astounding 363, 819 in 1990(Zeleza 2002 as quoted by Opuko-Mensah 2008:11;Zeleza 2008). This means that between 1900 and 1960 when many African Countries gained independence, only a total of about 56,255 African born migrants settled in the USA. Between 1960 and 1990 this population more than quadrupled to 363,819. Some other analyst like Takoungang,Joseph, Professor of African History at Cincinnati University, writing on “contemporary African migrants to the United States” puts the number of African born migrants in the USA between 1981 to 2000 at 531, 832 (Takoungang,J).
Another destination of second generation African migrants was Europe. Initially, the migrations were a vivid reflection of colonial ties as the main colonial powers-France and UK- became the destination of the majority of post colonial African migrants to Europe. In some cases, like France for instance, it was a deliberate policy to maintain an “open door” to people from its former colonies that could fulfill some basic conditions. Amuwo A. asserts with regards to France that:
“apparently intent on valorizing and commercializing its rich imperial language, culture and civilization, France almost literally threw its doors open, (...) for as many citizens of its former colonies who met basic immigration requirements not just to “see Paris and die,” but to reside and prosper in the Gallic land”( Amuwo in Adebayo & Adesina.eds.2009:47). This explains why according to IOM data, the African Diaspora in France alone is about 1.6 million and out numbers the total for all other European countries which stands at 1.5 million ( Opoku-Mensah 2006, as quoted by Adebayo &Adesina .eds.2009:47; Opuku-Mensah 2008:12).
Besides, France and the UK have not always been the only destinations of post-colonial African migrants. In the 1970s and 1980s countries like Germany, The Netherlands, Italy ,Spain and Portugal which prior to the 1970s were emigrant countries, began to receive African immigrants(Opoku-mensah 2008:12).
The old and the new Diaspora have cumulatively given rise to a “global Africa” that can be found all over the face of the earth. This global Africa comprises about 800 million people in the continent of Africa ,and some 100 million living in other parts of the world especially the US,Canada,Brazil, the Carribeans,and parts of Western Europe(Bridgwater as quoted by Opuko-Mensah 2008:12). Based on statistics of the 2000 US census, there are about 34,658,190 African –Americans in the United States. At least one-third of the 35 million who claim Hispanic heritage at the 2000 census are likely to have African ancestry. Some 1,781,877 people living in the US identified themselves as Sub-Saharan Africans. In Europe the IOM statistics show that some 1,633,142 Africans live in France and 1.5 million Africans live in the other European countries (Xing &Opuko-Mensah 2008:12).
It is equally important to note that just as the population of Diaspora Africans and their destination have evolved in the course of the constitutive process of African Diaspora, so too the quality has evolved. As Opoku-Mensah posits, the IOM paints a rosy picture of Diaspora Africans. According to the IOM 22 per cent of Diaspora Africans are in the fields of teaching, education and research; 20 per cent are in the fields of finance, investment and economics; 20 per cent in public health sector; 15 per cent in engineering, 5 per cent in Information technology;5 per cent in legal professions; 3 per cent in administration and 1 per cent in natural sciences.
Statistics from the 2000 US census revealed that foreign- born Sub-Saharan Africans constituted the highest proportion of foreign born 25 years and above who are holders of bachelor’s degrees ( 49.3%) compared to Europe (32.9 m%) and Asia (44.9%). Also, at least 38.2 percent of SSA households in the US have purchased their own homes. The census also revealed a not too bad income level of households headed by Diaspora Africans in the US with an average household income of US $36,371. Even in the field of business, Opoku-Mensah contends that the 2000 U.S census also portrayed that black owned businesses employed 718,300 persons as of 1997 the period for which the last data is available(Ibid.2008:13).
In sum, it is understood that the constitution of African Diaspora is not only the result of involuntary dispersion, but also due to voluntary migration especially in the post colonial era. No matter their evolution, this thesis will through out its analysis deal with the contemporary African Diaspora ( who have links with homeland) and the section below will expound the use of theories into explaining how these diasporas' role in developing their countries of origin is limited.
In this part we are going to present the two theories that have been selected to help us better understand the problem involved. We shall start with the modernization theory, followed by the World System theory.
3.1 Modernization Theory
The historical background to the construction of modernization theory is believed to have roots in the political concerns of the USA in the 1950s and early 1960s ( Preston,1996:166). The theory came as a response to the need of newly independent countries to have a path to follow in order to reach the modern development stage that the western countries have. Generally, as Udogu argues, the theory has its roots in the 1960s with an attempt to ex pound the relationship between societies and technological advancement (Ibid). The focus point of this explanation is that some societies are more developed than others, simply because of cultural and personality traits of the political actors, institutions and citizens and further explanation is given in the quotation below by Inkeles and Smith.
“Indeed, for developing nations and societies in general, modernization was possible if citizens acquired modern values. (...) to modernize is to develop and that a polity could not develop until a majority of the society’s population imbibed with modern values. Moreover, modernization is contagious and irreversible, for once started it could not be stopped. (...) In all societies, modernization is progressive and desirable because in the long run, modernized polities have a higher propensity for dealing with the functions of national identity, legitimacy, participation and distribution of resources than traditional political systems.” (Inkeles and Smith in Delacroix, J and Ragin C, 1978:123)
According to Linda Sorensen, modernization is a term used to explain the transition from traditional society to a modern society as found in Western Europe (Sorensen, 2001). Modernization theory, as Leys noted, came to represent the Western perspective on development. However, as far as Africa is concerned, a series of complex and multiple stages are yet to be completed before sustained economic growth becomes possible ( Leys in Mbaku, 2004:25). The theory lays down social variables by which traditional primordial societies should follow in order to achieve modern state of development.
As argued, modernization theory’s most influential logician, German historical economist W.W.Rostow in his book “Stages of Economic Growth-A non communist manifesto” ,depicts five different stages through which traditional primordial societies may follow in order to be developed. These stages have had high impacts on the way by which development practitioners envisioned and implemented development projects. Rostow’s stages assumed that a way to development should be linear. These stages were clearly outlined by Rostow, 1960:4-16) in his book “Stages of Economic Growth-A non communist manifesto” as follows;
Traditional Society is the one whose structure and production is very limited as the result of low technological advancement and static nature. They are mainly characterized by agrarian activities, clan organization and power was vested on those who owned land.
The second stage is the precondition for take-off where by the societies in this stage are in transition from being traditional to modern ones. In this stage, societies acquires better living standard, increase and strengthen investment in communication and transport, establishing institutions for capital mobilization and widens the scope for internal and external commerce.
However, all these activities run at the limited speed as societies in this stage are still held by traditional structures.The third stage is that of take off in which technological advancement dominate societies. This stage is characterized by industrial revolution, urbanization, commercial agriculture and high economic growth. Drive to maturity is followed by sustainability in national income and economic growth. Improvement and ongoing increase in industries and innovations in all sectors characterize this stage of development which only few western countries have reached.
The final stage is that of high mass consumption where by the leading sectors shift towards durable consumers’ goods and services. Also the societies here cease to accept further extension of modern technology as an overriding objective (Ibid). Therefore according to Rostow, in order for African societies to develop, these five stages are important to go through.
However, many scholars have criticized Rostow on these stages and the theory of modernization. After the theory’s wide acceptance in the late 1960s, a number of scholars came to criticize its validity, and among them is Samuel Huntington. According to Huntington, modernization theory is too linear and too optimistic that it fails to look at the reality of what exists ( Huntington:1968 ). He argues that the theory is right about seeing economic development bring about social changes but wrong in assuming that these changes will sustain because societies always go through transformation and not stable (ibid). Therefore, it is hard to maintain any stability unless there are strong political institutions capable to keep up with such dramatic periodic changes.
A number of arguments have been put forth in response to modernization theory and how unsuitable of a model it is as far as Africa’s development is concerned. Among those arguments is the facts that, the theory has failed to look at the reality that exists as it neglected to consider how diverse and different African societies are. Moreover, as Mbaku argues, the theory has failed to put into consideration the social reality in Africa, ignored the historical and socio-cultural context of development hence proved to be irrelevant to the study of Africa’s development (Mbaku, 2004:30).
Another major challenge comes from the dependency theorists such as Andre Gunder Frank,Raúl Prebisch, Theotonio dos Santos, Paul Baran, Fernando Cardoso, Walter Rodney, and Samir Amin who argued that Africa and other underdeveloped countries are doomed to economic underdevelopment due to their dependency position which was created during colonialism by western countries( Sorensen:2001). According to these theorists, developed nations have always conducted unfair trade relations and exploited these nations to the point that they became stagnant. In this case, modernization failed to put into account systematic patterns of discrimination and inequalities in the distribution of resources as far as social relations are concerned. Therefore, as long as such relations persist, there is no possibility for these underdeveloped countries to progress.
Additionally as Brohman contended, the theory failed to consider values of non-western societies. Traditional values were considered as an obstacle to modernity hence wanted to impose Western values to traditional societies in poor countries. Although criticized by many scholars, modernization theory is still applied by many development practitioners with or without being aware. A good example is a group of Diaspora who try to help homeland and follow the ideas of the modernization theory without necessarily being acknowledge about the theory. Through observation, it can be noticed that, more often than not, Africans in Diaspora try to carry what they have learned from host countries to homelands hoping it will bring the same result. Unfortunately this is not always the case because of the conflicting values, ideologies, environments and set-up, host and homeland countries have.
Weak institutions in African governments have always been under scrutiny by many development practitioners. Mostly, they argue how development initiatives have been blocked by Africans undemocratic, incapable and corrupt institutions. Even the modernization theorists assert that for a country to have a clean path to development, then they should establish modern institutions ( Delacroix, J and Ragin C,1978:123) By modern institutions they mean that, institutions which are strong and capable to implement development policies.
By the same token, modernization theory maintain that, strong institutions are an important key to scientific, business and technological endeavors as it empowers the emerging economy and lead to significant changes in productive structures and in dynamics of innovation in order to facilitate the generation, and circulation of wealth. And this process requires good coordination and strong collaboration among academia, industry and government (Kuznetso,Yevgeny 2006:153). So, how far is this the case in African countries? To answer this question Mbaku contends that, development process in Africa will remain a slow process unless institutions are made strong and capable ( Mbaku:2004)Therefore, in this case, even if the Diaspora would come up with technological solutions, great development ideas and projects, they may have little chance to survive due to reality that exists in homelands-Weak institutions.
However, it should be noted that, development discourse is broad and complex, and there is no universal theory that can be used to explain failure or success. Instead, the use of these theories can only help us understand one problem or the other.
3.2 World System theory.
Modern states exist within a broad legal, political and economic framework which Immanuel Wallerstein called it “world system” and it is in such system that these states behavior can be understood as quoted below.
“Modern nations state exists within broad economic, political and legal framework called world system. Just as individual behavior cannot be understood without reference to the sociocultural system in which they are members, individual societies or states as well, cannot be understood without reference to the world-system in which they are embedded”( Wellerstain:1976)
World system theory is a macro sociological perspective that tries to find ways to understand the dynamics of the capitalist world economy. The theory is associated with Immanuel Wellerstein. The theory has had major contributions to the field of development in the third world.
According to Wellerstein’s theory of world system, the world is divided in power hierarchy between the core, semi periphery and the periphery.
The Core as he argues, comprise of the powerful and wealthy societies who are like the ruling class when viewing from the Marxist perspective. They benefit from unequal distribution and exchange and receive greater portions of surplus ( Wallerstein, 1976, :229-30).
Peripheral countries are structurally constrained to experience a kind of development that reproduces their subordinate status (Chase-Dunn,et.al:1995:387-417).
The semi periphery is the one between the core and the periphery and it comprises of countries which are in transition stage from periphery stage to the core stage. (Wellerstein,1976). Finally, is the periphery or commonly known as the third world which are structurally constrained to experience a kind of development that reproduces their subordinate status (Chase-Dunn and Grimes,1995).
The periphery has the duty to provide cheap labor, raw materials and market for finished goods. This kind of structural system or rather class relation is what Wallerstein viewed it as an unequal exchange, the systematic transfer of surplus from semi- proletarian sectors in the periphery to the high-technology, industrialized core. The key argument here is that wealth in the core accumulated in the core came from the periphery and this unequal exchange is what stagnated the periphery from development (Goldfrank, 2000).
World system theory argues that nations possess changing levels of upward and downward mobility in the world economy. Nations can advance from periphery to the semi periphery by seizing opportunities, accepting invitations from the core nations or by devising self-reliance. Despite discordance from the core nations, periphery and semi periphery nations, whether individually or collectively, often operate to serve the interest of the core (Wellerstein, 1976).
Although states and institutions use policies and race-neutral language, in reality they are the key players in the process of hierarchy and racial hierarchy formation, internationally and intranationally ( Winant in Patterson 2006). With such “undercover masks” racial discrimination continue to persist thus results into social, cultural and economic inequalities. Diaspora communities in host states who participate in the development of their homeland are best examined in the context of the historical development of the modern world system, argues Patterson (Patterson,2006). He further contends that, states are hierarchically ordered in the modern world system according to their class and status and as the world system outlines the order; the core, semi periphery and periphery. The rich and military powerful industrialized countries of white people are considered to be at the top of the hierarchy, where as the Latinos and Asians are considered to be at the semi periphery and the blacks are at the bottom of the hierarchy. The hierarchy does not only follow the state system but also racial-ethnic hierarchy.
The racial-ethnic hierarchy, as Henry 1999;Hewitt;2000 as cited in Patterson 2006), contends that even in America this hierarchy can clearly be seen. Additionally, this same view is observed among the public and academic scholars, that the white Americans are at the top of a racial hierarchy, followed by the Asians and Latinos and African American and the native Americans are at the bottom (Ibid). Furthermore, as Oliver argues, although people may go through assimilation process while in host countries, the capitalist social system at the core of its values, does not allow an accommodation of discriminated class to advance (Cox, 1964:171). Their position and status is to remain unchanged. This being the case, development through African diasporas contribution can be challenging because those at the top (Europeans and Americans) are the ones with greater economic, human and social capital, followed by the Asians and Latinos.
African Diaspora occupies the lowest positions and their economic capital is not sustainable to have meaningful effects on development in homelands. Their contribution is limited to their positions and economic capacity; hence they can only contribute a small fraction of what is needed in homeland development. Therefore since the African Diasporas became the unofficial representatives of the homeland in foreign countries, their usefulness to the homeland depended on the position they occupy and the level of organization they achieved in their adopted country. In order to understand their usefulness, the following section will, on a clear note explicate ways through which African diaspora involve themselves in their countries of origin.
4. DIASPORAS INVOLVEMENT TO HOMELAND DEVELOPMENT.
Research into how diasporas contribute in the development of homeland have demonstrated that even though these group of people live far away from home , they are just as interested in the development of their homeland as home based residents. But one may ask the question: why are they interested in homeland development? Diasporas are interested in homeland development not just because of the belief that it is either theirs or their ancestors’ original homeland, but because they also regard it as the place they or their descendants will eventually return one day when things get better. They believe that they ought to contribute either individually or collectively to the development, safety and prosperity of their homeland. So, how do they contribute to development of their countries of origin? The African Diaspora contribute in the development of their homelands through different ways such as remittances, technology transfer and political involvement.
4.1 Contribution through remittances.
Remittances are an important component of Diaspora development contribution as it is through remittances that most of the other development activities can be initiated. The practice of sending remittances to family and friends is not new to Diaspora Africans, but it is in recent times that academia and political authorities have begun to pay greater attention to this area. Many developing countries have realized the important role played by Diaspora remittances in the socio-economic wellbeing of their people and country. As a result of globalization, remitting from one part of the world to another is no longer a problem as money can be sent electronically within a few minutes.
Remittances from Diaspora play a very important role in many developing countries including the poor countries of SSA. Many of these poor countries have become suppliers of labor (source countries) to developed countries and rely to an extent, on the resulting remittances to ensure a better domestic welfare. For instance, according to the World Bank, between 2007 and 2008, Ethiopians in the Diaspora remitted US D1.8 billion to their homeland. Being a poor country, remittances are very important to Ethiopia’s economy.
Remittances are important to the country as a whole and constitute a substantial part of its GDP. The gross income of Ethiopian Diaspora is between 10 and 20 billion USD per annum and almost as much as Ethiopia’s USD13 billion GDP in 2006. This is just an example of the place occupied by Diaspora remittances in the Ethiopian economy (World Bank International conference on Diaspora and Development 2009). According to UNDP the total estimate of remittances by Ethiopian Diaspora in 2007 stood at us $359. The average remittance received person according to the UNDP was US $4. Based on data from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) that keeps tract of inflow of remittances, the total for 2007 stood at US $636.2 million. But this include includes only formal transfers as informal transfers cannot be accounted for due to the absence of data(UNDP, 2009 as cited by Fransen 2009:23-24).
Figure 2 illustrate the official flow of remittances as a percentage of GDP from 2000-2006 (left side in blue) and the amount of remittances received in millions of USD from 2000-2006 (right side in green). The amount of remittances in USD has more than tripled from 2000 ($53 million) to 2006 ($172 million) (Ibid).