Migration has become a top priority for politicians and policy makers around the world, but most writing on the topic covers only half the issue, wrongly assuming that migration policy equals immigration policy where in reality the majority of states care more deeply about emigration and the transnational involvements of emigrants and their descendants in the diaspora. Liberal democratic states have long considered emigration controls off limits, for fear that they violate individual freedom of exit at the same time as interfering in the domestic affairs of other states. But these norms are changing fast: in the past 25 years more than half of all United Nations member states have established some form of government department devoted to their people living in other countries. What explains the rise of these ‘diaspora institutions’, and how does it relate to the political geographies of decolonization, regional integration and global governance since World War II? This talk presents work-in-progress on a new monograph addressing these questions, based on quantitative data covering all UN members from 1936-2015, and fieldwork with high-level policy makers across 60 states.
Alan Gamlen is the Director of the Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research and an Associate Professor of Human Geography at the University of Adelaide in South Australia. His research focuses on the political geography of international migration and he is the Editor in Chief of the journal Migration Studies published by Oxford University Press. Alan has previously held positions at Stanford, Oxford and Victoria Universities, and at the Max Planck Society. He holds a Doctorate in Human Geography from the University of Oxford where he was a New Zealand Bright Future Scholar at St Antony’s College.