Creating and destroying diaspora strategies: New Zealand's emigration policies re-examined

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New Zealand, like many countries, has recently shifted from casting emigrants in a negative light to celebrating expatriates as national champions. What explains this change? Wendy Larner focuses on recent government initiatives towards expatriates as part of a neoliberal 'diaspora strategy', aimed at constructing emigrants and their descendants as part of a community of knowledge-bearing subjects, in order to help the New Zealand economy 'go global'. This study confirms that the new diaspora initiatives emerged from a process of neoliberal reform. However, it also highlights that in the same period, older inherited institutional frameworks for interacting with expatriates were being dismantled as part of a different dynamic within the wider neoliberalisation process. It argues that the shift in official attitudes towards expatriates arose from the overlap between these two processes in the period 1999-2008. In this way, the research builds on the 'diaspora strategy' concept, placing it within a broader analysis of institutional transformation through 'creative destruction', and linking it to a wider research agenda aimed at understanding state-diaspora relations beyond the reach of neoliberalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-253
Number of pages16
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Creative destruction
  • Diaspora strategies
  • External citizenship
  • Multi-sited ethnography
  • Neoliberalism
  • New Zealand

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