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Diasporic Communication, Vol. 9 - 2002, No. 1

Diaspora and Conflict: Locality, Long-distance Nationalism, and Delocalisation of Conflict Dynamics

, pages: 85-96[open access]

Intra-state violent conflicts are no longer fought solely in the actual war territories: in the villages of Ambon, the jungle of Sri Lanka, or the occupied territories of Israel. Increasingly, conflicts seem to become dispersed and delocalised. Stories about American Jewish groups supporting right-wing extremism in Israel, German Croats speeding the violent collapse of Yugoslavia, and the Tamil Tigers in London, Kurds in the Netherlands, Filipinos, Khmer, and Vietnamese in California are not new to us. Within the field of Conflict Studies, however, the process of the "deterritorialisation" of conflict is left surprisingly unexplored. In this paper we will examine the political mobilisation of diaspora communities and their role in intra-state conflicts. How and why are diaspora communities involved in intra-state conflicts in their erstwhile homelands? What activities do they undertake? How are they organised? What strategies do they use? And, eventually, how do they affect contemporary conflicts? By examining these issues we aim to understand more about the dialectics between locality and conflict, the production of (long-distance) nationalism, and the relationship between virtual and spatial communities.

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