In contemporary diasporological theories


Hratsin V. Vardanyan

Since the end of the 1980s, and especially since the 1990s, the interest of academics towards diasporas has grown dramatically in a number of countries around the world. Large-scale theoretical and empirical studies have been conducted. If in the 1990s many of the theoretical studies on the diaspora started from the idea that the diaspora has not been properly examined by science, today, in fact, one can summarize, analyze the theoretical generalizations made over three decades, аlthough researchers have different approaches and scientific debates continue on a number of issues. It is noticeable that the interest towards diasporas is conditioned by the growth of the significant economic, political, social and cultural influence that diasporas have in the modern world.

Theoretical discussions about diaspora are not only somewhat different from each other, but are sometimes at different poles. These theories reflect the expansion of the semantic domain of the term diaspora over time, as well as changes in social processes, in particular, under the influence of globalization and transnationalism. Taking into account the chronological developments of the definition and the description of the main features of the diaspora, different theoretical directions were distinguished: from classical to constructivist and postmodern.

Only the old diasporas are taken as a starting point for the classical theory of the diaspora; an attempt is made to give a clear definition to the term diaspora, to determine its basic characteristics.

Constructivist studies use the ideas of nation, nationalism, the process of diaspora formation, issues of identity, in particular the changing nature of identity. Constructivist studies analyze the transition and processes, in the presence of which it can be said that people settled outside the homeland move from the status of an ethnic group to the status of the diaspora.

According to the post-modern theory, the diaspora is characterized by a number of opposite phenomena: centralization, globalization, radicalization, resettlement, variability, stability, and paradoxical combination. It is seen as a link between the past and present, the country of origin and the host country.

Among the issues discussed at the theoretical level on the diaspora, the issues of identity are basic. Like other issues related to the Diaspora, theorists have different approaches to issues of identity; the existence of wide scientific discussions is due to the fact that identity, as a social-psychological phenomenon, is complex in itself; it has different layers. In the case of the diaspora, it is based first on the formation of ethnic self-consciousness, and then on the formation of a typical diaspora self-consciousness. Diaspora identity is not always homogeneous, it can be characterized by heterogeneity, diversity, as well as hybridization.