Diaspora, Introduction: Sociology YouTube Lecture Handouts

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  • Ventured out of their homeland in large numbers
  • Scattering of people with a common origin, background, and beliefs etc.
  • Continue to maintain a relationship with the motherland
  • De-territorialized and transnational
  • Social, economic, religious and political networks being transnational too
  • Involuntary mass dispersion
  • Settled overseas
  • Live and work in other countries


  • 1.36 crore Indians living abroad, one-fourth of them in UAE
  • Ministry of External Affairs 2018 - 2019, $ 76.4 billion was received as remittances from Indians abroad.
Indians Abroad
Indians Abroad
  • Based on writings/literature:
  • Historical – phases of emigration
  • Diplomatic – statistics and data of issues faced abroad
  • Anthropological – continuation or change of culture

Settling of Indians Abroad

  • Colonial
    • That Indians went broad by their economic compulsions
    • Greed and carried away by the desire to earn wealth
    • Blaming on culture and religion
    • Not being able to cope up on the economic front
  • Nationalist
    • Indians did not go abroad on their own
    • Taken under various arrangements as instruments of colonial domination
    • Lured by colonial designs
    • Served their development needs worked hard
    • Not lazy but industrious
  • To study Indians abroad functionalist orientation no other orientation or perspective was used in old times
    • Social cultural perspective
    • Political economic perspective
    • Theoretical significance of the study of Indian immigrants

Socio-Cultural Perspective

  • Retentionist perspective
  • Cultural identity and integration
  • They recreate Indian social structure wherever they settle at
  • Hold on to their own culture
  • Inclined towards economic gain not cultural assimilation
  • Adhering to traditional culture – food, saris, endogamy practices, kinship, etc.
  • Maintaining ties with homeland
  • Spouse selection
  • Sending remittances home
  • Maintaining property
  • Visits

Role of Culture Abroad

  • Defence mechanism against insecurity
  • As a compensation for loss of status
  • Adhesive nature of Indian culture
  • Sense of belongingness
  • Oblivious of change in culture since they left

Issue of Cultural Identity

  • Self-identity
    • Pan Indian or Parochial/narrow ethnic category?
    • Whether Indian or Punjabi, Bihari?
  • How others identify them?
  • Does each generation stick to their roots?
    • Inter-generational conflict

Political Economy Perspective

  • Captive labours
  • Impact of Imperialism
  • Traced back in history
  • Displaced ethnic group
  • Survival on plantation as occupation
  • Racial discrimination, exploitation
  • Power of institutions and State to influence lives of immigrants


Q. 1. Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of Diaspora?

a) Dispersal from original homeland

b) Idealized wish to return to homeland

c) Renewing linkages with homeland

d) Dispossession of collective memory

Answer: d

Q. 2. The view that Indians have the ability to retain, reconstitute their cultural aspects in overseas settings discusses which perspective?

a) Marxist

b) Retentionist

c) Adaptationist

d) Plural society perspective

Answer: b

#Sociological Concepts

#Social Structure

#Diaspora (New 2019)


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