Diaspora politics and political remittances

The interest in the political role which migrants can play in their home countries and the type of political remittances they are sending back home has been steadily growing in the past decades. My interdisciplinary PhD thesis focused on Egyptian migrant activism in Paris and Vienna during and after the Arab Uprisings and combined a micro-level analysis on activists’ practices and attitudes with a macro-level analysis on governance and explores the links between recent political developments in Egypt and emigration. More specifically, it examines the question of how the revolution in 2011 and its aftermath influenced emigrants’ political perceptions and actions regarding their homeland. It combines methodologies from political science, Middle Eastern studies and anthropology (policy analysis, expert interviews, semi-directive interviews with activists, and digital methods to study social media). The research was published in a revised form as a monograph in 2018 Egyptian Diaspora Activism During the Arab Uprisings: Insights from Paris and Vienna (London: Routledge).

In recent years, I have broadened my theoretical interest in diaspora politics and political remittances through a long-term and comparative perspective. In June 2017, I organised a workshop on Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism: Narratives, Political Practices and the Role of the State together with Félix Krawatzek in at Nuffield College, University of Oxford (programme and podcast available here). This workshop resulted in a special issue entitled Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism: Practices, Narratives of Belonging and the Role of the State published by the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies in January 2019. The introduction, Two Centuries of Flows Between ‘Here’ and ‘There’: Political Remittances and Their Transformative Potential, develops a concept of political remittances to be used hopefully in further research and it contextualises the entire issue and nine case studies.