Edited By Irene Maria F. Blayer and Dulce Maria Scott
Chapter One: The ‘Diaspora’
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IRENE MARIA F. BLAYER AND DULCE MARIA SCOTT
To what extent can the prolifically theorized and ubiquitous concept of diaspora be analytically useful in the understanding of the dispersal of people from Portugal since the 13th century—their travels, economic activities, social formations, hybridity, identity formation, cultural developments, monumentation, literary production, and so on—through processes related to international trade, imperialism, colonialism, and international migration?
As described by Stéphane Dufoix, “diaspora,” a word that for an extended period of time was applied only to scattered religious groups, beginning in the 1970s “underwent an amazing inflation that peaked in the 1990s, by which time it was being applied to most of the world’s peoples” (1). Indeed, the term diaspora is widely used today among scholars, public figures, the media, religious entities, and the lay public. In a world of ever-growing population dispersal and the emergence of new forms of connection to homelands and host countries, scholars from different theoretical perspectives and disciplines within the social sciences and humanities have seized the concept of diaspora, applying it “as a productive frame for reimagining locations, movements, identities, and social formations that have either been overlooked by earlier modes of analysis or, equally important, stand the chance of being flattened by the homogenizing effects of global capital” (Banerjee 1).
The literature on diaspora—not only on the theoretical evolution of the concept and...
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