Diaspora: The Experience of Migration, Displacement and Difference SOCIO4111

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Transnational migration is a central process in globalisation and a key experience of our contemporary world. The course introduces students to theoretical understandings of diaspora, its relationship with associated ideas such as migration, cosmopolitanism and transnationalism, and its significance as an analytical tool for understanding modern social and cultural formations. It centres on the analysis of the cultural and social concomitants of transnational migration and diaspora in the post-colonial world. Whilst issues such as globalisation, the international division of labour and the state remain important to this, the emphasis throughout the course is upon the lived experience: the ways in which different people experience and make meaningful migration, displacement and difference. The course explores the concepts of 'home', 'belonging' and 'identity' through the prism of diaspora. In addition to addressing how diasporic spaces, networks and practices are articulated and performed, the course also examines new strands of theoretical and empirical research which document transmigrants' dense material connections and other engagements with homelands.


20 contact hours over the course of a single semester. This will normally consist of 2 hours per week and may be a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops, though one week will include 2 hours supervised ethnographic observation.

Requirements of Entry

In order to take this course you need to have met the requirements for entry into our Honours Programme. This means achieving a grade of 'D' or better in Sociology 1A and 1B and a 'C' or better in Sociology 2A and 2B. You also have to comply with the College of Social Science regulations for progression to Honours.

Excluded Courses





One 3,000 word essay (60%) and a one hour, one question (from a range of questions) exam (40%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No


Course Aims

■ Examine and expose students to the key debates in diaspora, and its relationship with associated ideas such as migration, cosmopolitanism and transnationalism;

■ Prepare students to evaluate the political, historical, social and artistic factors in the cultural production of diaspora and transnational communities;

■ Enable students to understand, assess and compare different types of diasporas, and appreciate the everyday characteristics of the cultural and transnational practices of diaspora communities;

■ Enhance knowledge of the theoretical, methodological and policy implications of diasporic cultures and peoples;

■ Enhance students' transferable and inter-personal skills, particularly in communication, time management, individual and group research work, and critical appraisal of social issues;

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate a clear understanding of diaspora theory and its relevance to the study of contemporary sociology.

■ Use analytical skills necessary for the evaluation of competing theoretical and conceptual approaches relevant to the study of contemporary migration.

■ Explore diverse histories of diasporic migration, settlement and transnational engagements.

■ Reflect critically on case-studies and their value to generalised understandings of social, cultural and political relations.

■ Develop research skills through ethnographic fieldwork which explore how multiple, hybrid, new and symbolic identifications are negotiated, (re) produced, (re) constructed and translated in trans) migrants' everyday life.

■ Use information-gathering skills necessary to successfully complete the assessments.

■ Make a positive contribution to team working and the effective oral presentation of ideas.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.