What You Need to Know About : Diaspora

Diaspora means dispersal, the scattering of a people. Originally referring to the Jewish peoples, diaspora dates from ancient times. Commenting on the revival of the concept in the late 1980s, Khachig Tölölyan observed that diaspora was now used as a synonym for distinct terms such as expatriate, exile, ethnic, minority,refugee, migrant, sojourner, and overseas community. The term now operates as a significant sociological and critical category imported into communication studies that puts into play the human and social dimensions of globalization through the increasing movement of peoples demographically across and around the globe.

This angle on globalization—globalizationfrom-below—has been often neglected in the focus on the latest exploits of the American, British, European, or Japanese world-spanning multinationals. Arjun Appadurai, in an influential analysis, lists the new flow patterns of media and people (which he calls mediascapes and ethnoscapes, respectively) alongside the flows of technologies, capital, and ideas as constituting the current globalizing era. Importantly, he sees all these flows as disjunctive—they are occurring together in related, but unsystematic, ways.

Communication, media, and cultural studies about contemporary diasporas have been a corrective to critical analyses that focus on the inadequacies of media representations of minority cultures in Western societies. Indeed, a number of basic theoretical shifts well underway in these fields reflect the significance of global flows, or movements, of audiovisual media for actually existing diasporas. These theoretical changes are important because they show how peoples displaced from homelands by migration, refugee status, or business and economic imperatives use video, television, cinema, music, and the Internet to rebuild cultural identities. Such shifts could move from a social problem or welfare conception of the migrant to an appreciation of cultural difference; from a view of the media as an imposed force to a recognition of audience activity and selectiveness; and from an essentialist or “heritage” model to a more dynamic, adaptive model of culture.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.375

Penanggungjawab naskah :

Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan