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Governing Diasporas in International Relations : The Transnational Politics of Croatia and Former

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This book analyzes how states extend their sovereignty beyond their territories through the language of diasporas.

An increasing number of states are interested in supporting, managing or controlling their populations abroad, something they define as their ‘diaspora’. Yet what does it mean for governments to formulate claims of sovereignty over populations who reside outside the very borders that legitimate them? This book argues that ‘diaspora’ should be understood as a performative discourse that enables transnational political practices that could otherwise not be justified in a normative structure of world politics, dominated by the imperatives of territorial sovereignty. The empirical analysis focuses on the former Yugoslavia and contemporary Croatia. The first part of the book examines the history of the relations between Croats abroad and their homeland, from the emergence of the question of emigration as a problem of government in the late 19th century until the years preceding the formation of the contemporary Croatian state. The second part explores how, in the 1990s, the merging of bureaucratic categories and state practices into the category of ‘diaspora’ was instrumental in mobilizing Croats abroad during the 1991-1995 war; in reshuffling the balance between Serbs and Croats in the citizenry; and in the de facto annexation of parts of neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina in the immediate aftermath of the war.

This book will be of much interest to students of critical security studies, international political sociology, diaspora studies, border studies and International Relations in general.


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