Diaspora Policy

I am currently at work on a second, single-authored book about the politics of diaspora management.  My work on this began in 2008, when I collaborated with Elpida Vogli (University of Thrace) on a chapter analyzing Greek incorporation strategies toward co-ethnic repatriate groups. That project was motivated by the observation that the Greek state followed different policies toward similar sized communities of Greek repatriates from the former Soviet Union and Albania in the 1990s. Our chapter, which was published in 2010 in Greek, concluded that the difference in treatment was a function of state interests, but the intensity of the preferential treatment of the Greeks from the former Soviet Union can only be explained by electoral and patronage politics.

Since then I continued working on the theoretical framework and published a chapter entitled “Ethnic Return Migration, Selective Incentives, and the Right to Freedom of Movement in Post-Cold War Greece,” in a volume edited by Willem Maas, Democratic Citizenship and the Free Movement of People. In this chapter, I explore whether the right to ‘freedom of movement’ was violated by the Greek repatriation policy toward Greeks from the former Soviet Union. I conclude that the right to ‘freedom of movement’ was not formally violated by the repatriation policy. Nonetheless, the government policy did attempt to influence the settlement pattern of the repatriates that opted to enter their Repatriation program, in an attempt to use the Greeks from the former Soviet Union to change the ethnic demography of Thrace and boost its economic development in the same region, by linking the right to repatriate itself as well as the privileges that accompanied it with settlement in specific locations. Overall, however, labor market opportunities ended up having a higher impact on the settlement patterns of the Greek repatriates from the former Soviet Union than the selective incentives put in place by the Greek administration. As a result, the goals of decentralization and national homogenization of certain peripheral areas did not materialize. Ironically, the poor implementation of the program, the dependency developed through the different stages, and the de facto segregation of this population from the rest of the Greek society have probably hindered rather than facilitated their national integration.

Building on my prior work on Greece, I spent the summer of 2013 in the Republic of Korea exploring whether the logic I had identified in the Greek state was operative outside of Europe and its neighborhood. I spent a month and a half in Seoul, at Korea University, researching their diaspora policy. I conducted over 20 interviews on various aspects of the policy. A policy memo was published as a result of a talk I gave at The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, one of the leading think tanks in the country.

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