Redrawing the contours of Diaspora representations: with special implication to Gulf migrants from Kerala

Author:   Nimmi I
Publisher:   GRFDT
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Besides the growing popularity of Gulf Diasporas in economic studies, understanding the literary and cultural contributions made by the same in redefinines the contemporary diaspora populations and also representing certain diasporas that lay claims of past histories of migration remains limited. The term ‘Diaspora’ carry various dimensions beginning from the classical Diaspora of the Jews to the contemporary diasporas consisting of African Diaspora, Asian Diaspora, Indian Diaspora, and so on. Histories prove that paradigmatic shifts produce diasporas of one or the other kind. Generally diaspora writings have a tendency to define themselves according to certain existing power equations. But if we look at the last two decades, diaspora studies have undergone a fascinating, complex evolution. There were interventions from various field of study into Diaspora Studies, including- administration, policy making, social work and the media. The launching of the journal Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies in 1991 has also brought into academic debate the inclusion of different immigrant and ethnic communities into the rubric of ‘diasporic communities’ (Safran et al.). Representations of some diasporas become problematic because of factors like acceptance in the host land, duration of their stay in the host land, the evolution of that group, etc. It was Robin Cohen, a social scientist also specialized in migration and diaspora studies who made an attempt to differentiate diasporas majorly labour diasporas and to highlight their importance in diaspora studies. This paper look into the shifts in understanding and representing Malayali diaspora population in the wake of literatures that are coming from the labour migrating state of Kerala.

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