States and standardisation: constructing the co-ethnic migrant story in Germany

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This article addresses the standardisation of stories about diaspora return (also called ‘co-ethnic migration’ or ‘repatriation’). Using the concept of ‘standards’, the author analyses how the German state distributes certain texts about diaspora history over others, forming a legible and homogenous narrative of co-ethnic migrant identity. The article is based on a critical discourse analysis of texts relating to Russian–German history and analysis of biographical narratives of co-ethnic Germans residing in Germany. The study identifies mechanisms by which states homogenise narratives, and to understand which co-ethnic history and identity constructions are reproduced by the state, and which are silenced. This approach enriches the study of diasporas in two ways: first, it sheds light on how states govern diaspora members who have migrated ‘back’ to their ‘origin’ countries; second, it departs from the state-centric approach prevalent in the study of diaspora governance by focusing on stories told by diaspora members.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Microfoundations of Diaspora Politics
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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