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Sökefeld, Martin (2006): Mobilizing in transnational space: a social movement approach to the formation of diaspora. In: Global Networks, Vol. 6, No. 3: pp. 265-284

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Abstract In this article I suggest analysing the formation of diaspora communities as an instance of mobilization processes thereby countering essentialist concepts of diaspora that reify notions of belonging and the‘roots’of migrants in places of origin. Taking the imagination of a transnational community and a shared identity as defining characteristics of diaspora and drawing on constructivist concepts of identity, I argue that the formation of diaspora is not a‘natural’consequence of migration but that specific processes of mobilization have to take place for a diaspora to emerge. I propose that concepts developed in social movement theory can be applied to the study of diaspora communities and suggest a comparative framework for the analysis of the formation of diaspora through mobilization. Empirical material to substantiate this approach is mainly drawn from the Alevi diaspora in Germany but also from South Asian diasporas.

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