British Association for South Asian Studies

Research Groups

Diaspora and Development

Convenor: Pushpa Arabindoo (University College London)

The rationale of this group is to provide support to a network of scholars working on various aspects of the South Asian diaspora, which has so far been popularised mainly in the field of cultural studies, and particularly from the perspective of their (cultural) relationship to their hostland. In recent years there have been a number of research projects which have sought to extend the understanding of the South Asian diaspora into the political, ideological, and economic spheres. Deterritorialised citizenship, long-distance nationalism (especially related to the Hindutva) and FDI have thus come under scrutiny. Such studies increasingly seek to situate the diaspora in the ‘homeland’ context, revealing insights that are often problematic. There is also a recognition of the role of diaspora in the emerging development paradigm, wherein diaspora capital as a specific form of global capital asserts itself in multiple ways, including tourism development strategies (cultural festivals, religious pilgrimage, and heritage tours), and transnationalised development projects such as de-localised retirement communities, high-tech hospitals and business parks. The diaspora — or diasporas — has also ceased to be solely envisaged independently from state actors. On the contrary, the interaction of the state (in the host/homeland), and transnational groups has generated scholarly interest.

This group seeks to bring together researchers involved in diaspora investigations revolving around its socio-economic, political, and cultural manifestations at a range of spatial scales (national to the local), and covering an multi-disciplinary spectrum of interests including geography, anthropology, political science, economics, sociology and history.

Convenor Contact Details:
Pushpa Arabindoo
Lecturer in Urban Studies
UCL Urban Laboratory
Department of Geography, UCL
26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP