The Indian Ocean as a Diasporic Space: A conceptual introduction


Vol. 4 No. 2 (2021): Special Issue: The Indian Ocean as a Diasporic Space
Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies 4(2): 76-90

Over the past two decades there has been a growing interest in Indian Ocean networks within diaspora studies, and within migration studies more generally. In this introduction we develop the idea of the Indian Ocean as a space within which diasporas come into being, endure, and sustain relationships. Taking this Indian Ocean perspective, we suggest that the concept of the diaspora as currently employed in scholarship could be strengthened and we outline some suggestions for a reframing of the concept. Through an emphasis on its enduring character, as a community, and through a decentring of the homeland, we propose to understand a diaspora as a community that is diffuse but coherent, both spatially and temporally, and that has agency, facilitating the activities of its members. This provides a framework for the variety of approaches to the concept in the articles in the collection that follows.