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Mobilising the Diaspora
How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism

  • Date Published: November 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107159921

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  • Over half the world lives under authoritarian regimes. For these people, the opportunity to engage in politics moves outside the state's territory. Mobilising across borders, diasporas emerge to challenge such governments. This book offers an in-depth examination of the internal politics of transnational mobilisation. Studying Rwandan and Zimbabwean exiles, it exposes the power, interests, and unexpected agendas behind mobilisation, revealing the surprising and ambivalent role played by outsiders. Far from being passive victims waiting for humanitarian assistance, refugees engage actively in political struggle. From Rwandans resisting their repatriation, to Zimbabweans preventing arms shipments, political exiles have diverse aims and tactics. Conversely, the governments they face also deploy a range of transnational strategies, and those that purport to help them often do so with hidden agendas. This shifting political landscape reveals the centrality of transnationalism within global politics, the historical and political contingency of diasporas, and the precarious agency of refugees.

    • An original account of how diasporas become politically mobilised against authoritarian states
    • Gives a detailed narrative of the Rwandan and Zimbabwean diasporas
    • Provides a new analysis of how outsiders affect diasporas
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book is not only a politically astute and highly readable analysis of the life and death of the Zimbabwean and Rwandan diasporas, but also a significant theoretical contribution to the study of transnational politics.' Rita Abrahamsen, University of Ottawa

    'Alexander Betts and Will Jones have made a major contribution to our understanding of how diaspora mobilisation works. Their analysis of the role of 'animators' and their detailed case studies of Rwandan and Zimbabwean diaspora politics significantly extend and enrich existing theories of diaspora engagement, refugee politics and transnationalism.' Fiona Adamson, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107159921
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The politics of animation
    Part I. Zimbabwe:
    2. The birth of the Zimbabwean diaspora
    3. Briefcase activists: death, afterlife, and performance
    4. Heroic humanitarians: a neglected contribution
    Part II. Rwanda:
    5. Opposing the RPF from abroad
    6. Constructing the statist diaspora
    7. Hijacked humanitarians: the campaign against cessation.

  • Authors

    Alexander Betts, University of Oxford
    Alexander Betts is Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He is author of Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime (2009) and Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement (2013). His articles have been published in journals such as Foreign Affairs, Perspectives on Politics, Global Governance, Ethics and International Affairs, and the Journal of International Relations and Development. He has worked for UNHCR, and as a consultant to numerous international organisations. He is the Founding Director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project and has been honoured as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

    Will Jones, University of Oxford
    Will Jones is Departmental Lecturer in the Politics of Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and a former Junior Research Fellow in Politics at Balliol College, Oxford. He co-founded the Oxford Central Africa Forum, is a former editor of the St Antony's International Review, and has contributed to reports by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative for submissions to the UN Human Rights Council and African Human Rights Commission.

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