The ambivalent role of diaspora engagement for the homeland in the Balkans
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Diasporas have become significant role players in the democratic lives of their countries of origin. Such dynamic is particularly evident in the South East European context, a region characterised in contemporary history by massive movement, displacement and outflow of populations. This article aims at exploring the dichotomies that the diasporas’ political, economic and cultural involvement in the homeland present, including the discourse over its positive and negative features, hence tackling the issue of its potential to give rise to controversy. In fact, in addition to exerting a pro-active role for the democratic and socio-economic development of their home countries, diaspora communities may also embrace antagonistic approaches, countering certain transformation processes, state-building agendas or favouring one elite rule over another. Through a set of cases from the South East European context, the research addresses the regional, therefore global, question of how diaspora groups transnationally participate in the life of their home states, what their objectives are and how they may hinder democratisation processes, acting as incubators or accelerators of – potentially violent – change.