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In this essay I will explore the idea of local and global diasporas by looking at dissimilar groups of people, culture and place. With globalization ever expanding and growing, the movement of people and communities from place to place is always ongoing and so diaspora is in sync always changing and becoming more complex. Cultures and traditions are slowly developing and are more open to change through the introduction of new people.
"Globalisation describes the process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through a global network of political ideas through communication, transportation, and trade. The term can also refer to the transnational circulation of ideas, languages, or popular culture through acculturation. An aspect of the world which has gone through the process can be said to be globalized." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization) And through globalization, we can see local and global Diaspora formations appear as people and cultures are exchanged through migration and dispersal.
"The term Diaspora is used to refer to any people or ethnic population forced or induced to leave their traditional ethnic homelands, being dispersed throughout other parts of the world, and the ensuing developments in their dispersal and culture". (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Diaspora). The word 'was originally used to refer to the dispersal of Jewish people. However, it is now used in reference to the long-term settlement of peoples in 'foreign' places that follows their scattering or dispersal from their original homeland.' (Daniels. P, Bradshaw. M, Shaw. D, Sidaway. J, 2001, p170).
It is a situation where different groups of people interact with each other through migration or movement. Allowing the formation of contact zones, an area in which diverse cultures assemble and embark on influencing each other. 'diaspora' is inherently geographical, implying a scattering of people over space and transnational connections between people and places...encompassing the contested interplay of place, home, culture and identity through migration and resettlement. (Blunt 2003: 282) Diaspora can be seen at both a local and global aspect as people and cultures migrate throughout the world. There are a broad range of diaspora spaces, some greater and more complex than others, but despite the complexities they all have the same concept of togetherness of different cultures.
Generally, diaspora is seen as a global event, as it is the migration between countries. An example of a diaspora community is the movement of Muslims to France. It has been predicted that in the 1920s there were tens of thousands of Muslims in France, largely from North African colonies and Algeria. This is due to the colonization of Algeria in the 1830s as the French workforce was inadequate and incapable for reconstruction work at the time.
In France, Islam is the second most practiced religion, with an estimate of 4 to 5 million worshippers. This is a vast majority of the populace as when compared to the whole population of 60 million people, It is an estimated total of 6-10 percent of the nation. France now has the largest Muslim population in any western European country.
This is mainly down to the wave of immigrants after the WWII when the number of Muslims in France surged with the arrival of an increasing foreign labour force from North Africa. These immigrants came from countries with strong cultural ties because of the colonization legacy. They were driven by economic opportunities which mainly consisted of primary and secondary work. Muslims contributed enormously to the economic increase of France at the time of "HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trente_Glorieuses"The Glorious ThirtyHYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trente_Glorieuses"", largely as primary workers in construction or manufacturing, which consisted of long hours of manual labour.
The first generations of Muslim immigrants, who are now retired from the labour force, held strong connections with their country of origin. The second generation of Muslims who were not immigrants as they were born on French territory, chose to settle in France and attain citizenship, as they were approved family reunification.
In the year 1974, the government passed laws permitting families of these immigrants to inhabit; therefore, many families moved to France. Consequently large numbers of the Muslim community were located in housing projects in the suburbs. These areas had limited infrastructure and the housing conditions were poor and degraded "The area, home mainly to families of immigrant origin, often from Muslim North Africa, is marked by soaring unemployment and delinquency. Anger and despair thrive in the tall cinder-block towers and long "bars" that typically make up housing projects in France". This in turn contributed to the 2005 Paris suburb riot. "The 2005 French riots serve as an illustration of the problems of integrating Muslims in France, and smaller scale riots have been occurring throughout the 1980s and 1990s.. " Many of these immigrants have now lost ties with their countries of origin.
Another example of a global diaspora is the movement of Russians moving to Russia. In the post WWII period, the largest Russian communities in the emigration were to be found in Germany, Canada, the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia. The largest Russian diaspora can be established in Azerbaijan, 'In prior years another wave of Russian migration to Azerbaijan took place at the end of the 19th century when a large number of young professionals from the Russian Empire began to arrive as a result of rapid development in the petrol industry'. (Russkiy Mir Foundation website, 2008).
The Russian population is primarily made up of elderly people causing an ageing population and having negative effects and impacts on the Azerbaijani economy as they count for 60% of the country. Nevertheless, since Azerbaijan gained independence in the early 1990s Russia has grown to become more openly accepted, therefore authorising an additional rush of Russians into the country. consequently increasing the rate and growth of diaspora.
Furthermore the concept of diaspora in addition to the movement of people over borders can also be affiliated with the transfer of culture. 'Culture includes those social practices which produce meaning...gives us a sense of 'who we are', 'where we belong' - a sense of our own identity and identity with others.' (Daniels. P, Bradshaw. M, Shaw. D, Sidaway. J, 2001, p155). When introduced to new cultures and people it can be easy to adapt and pick up on other peoples cultures and traditions of a community unknowingly.
To illustrate a transfer of culture we can take a look at Fashion as an example. It is an excellent case where the latest style is imitated and the fastest trend where people become accustomed to affiliate. Without a doubt, clothing is one of the most prominent facade of our well being in society today. Fashion is fairly, something that can be identified with by almost everyone, whether it is on a national local or global scale. 'Fashion operates as a site of cultural exchange and fusion' (Dwyer. C, 2005, p502).
It can be said that where people are brought up, and their social environment can impact and determine the way they choose to look and dress. In many westernized areas such as the UK and U.S. it is apparent to see how fashion plays a part in peoples everyday lives, as it binds and brings together different cultures.
One of the largest mixture of trends in the UK can be seen among the blend of different designs coming from the East and the West. An example which illustrates this can be seen by looking at the traditional Indian dress with a western twist. 'Raishma's clothes are bought by young British-Asian women...reflect their syncretic identities as simultaneously British and Asian...Raishma's clothing reflect a diasporic aesthetic in their fusion of different influences' (Dwyer. C, 2005, p503). The fusion of fashion gives the sense of local diaspora, with the combination of two differing cultures combined into one to create such a distinctive merchandise.