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Volume 27, 2011

Modernization in Times of Globalization II

Eliezer Ben-Rafael
Pages 71-103
DOI: 10.5840/protosociology2011275

Transnational Diasporas
A New Era or a New Myth?

The numberless unprecedented situations attached today to the concept of transnational diaspora arise the debate of whether or not this phenomenon signals a new era. Our own contention is that it does represent a factor of new kinds of heterogenization of both the societal reality and of the diasporas themselves, as worldwide entities. It is in this dialectic perspective that we describe transnational diasporas as causes of discontinuity in our world and point out to the qualitative change in the social fabrics that they represent. Among other aspects, dual or threefold homeness that is bound to the transnational condition signifies for diasporans a slipping away from the totalistic character of the commitment and view of the nation that the nation-state requires of its citizens. When viewed in its multiplicity, the cohabitation under the same societal roof of a priori alien socio-cultural entities yields a configuration that is not uniform in every setting, but which still responds in its essentials to the new reality experienced by many a contemporary society.To illustrate this approach, this paper compares four well-known contemporary transnational diasporas—namely, the Muslim, African, Hispanic and Chinese.

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