If diaspora is merely a synonym for migration, why is the word necessary? What does using the word explain?
What does diaspora mean? Until quite recently, the word had a specific and restricted meaning, referring principally to the dispersal and exile of the Jews. Since the mid-twentieth century, the term diaspora has proliferated to the point where it is applied to migrants of almost every kind. This lecture explains where the concept of diaspora came from, how its meaning changed over time, why its usage has expanded so dramatically in recent years, and how it can both clarify and distort the nature of migration. Drawing on examples from Jewish, Irish, African, and Asian history, Kenny approaches diaspora as idea with three key elements — relocation, connectivity, and return — that migrants, scholars, journalists, and governments use to make sense of the world migration creates.