Diasporas from the Middle East: Displacement, Transnational Identities and Homeland Politics

Bahar Baser, Amira Halperin

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Abstract

Migrants and refugees from Middle Eastern countries are scattered around the globe, predominantly in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Region, Europe and the USA. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of migrants living in the Middle East more than doubled, from about 25 million to around 54 million.1 Some of this growth was due to individuals and families seeking economic opportunities. But the majority of the migration surge, especially after the war in Syria began in 2011, was a consequence of armed conflict and the forced displacement of millions of people from their homes, many of whom have left their countries of birth.2 Furthermore, the estimated number of immigrants to Europe between mid-2010 and mid 2016 was 7 million, not including 1.7 million asylum seekers. Among these European countries, Germany recorded the highest level of immigration, followed by Britain, France, Spain and Italy.3 These migration flows not only reflect the existence of drivers of migration due to conflict in the Middle East, but also reveal the potential formation of new diasporas throughout time or growing size of the already existing ones in host countries all around the world. Mobilization has also taken place also in online platforms, thanks to the new communication technologies and easy access to homeland media outlets. The technological revolution transformed the experiences of refugees throughout the stages of their journey: premigration, in transit and in the new surroundings. Millions of refugees from the Middle East use smart phones and social media applications to receive information about the host states, as a survival tool during the escape process, navigate border crossings, and to receive information on political situations and the possibilities of return.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Volume46
Issue number2
Early online date14 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Middle Eastern Studies on 14/02/2019 available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13530194.2019.1569308

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