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Dissertation Abstract

Filiz Tutku Aydin

"Comparative Cases in Long-Distance Nationalism: The Émigré, Exile, Diaspora and Transnational Movements of the Crimean Tatars, " Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 2012

This dissertation is an attempt to explore the unexpected mobilization of the Crimean Tatar diaspora in the recent decades. Why and how did the Crimean Tatar communities, all of which resided outside their homeland, develop a political identity and engage in nationalist mobilization in the 1990s? How did the communities, living apart from each other, in some cases for more than a century, mobilize simultaneously? What explains the variation in forms of mobilization among these communities? Does the transnational mobilization of the Crimean Tatars amount to an emergence of a transnational nation? I explore these questions by comparing the cases of the Crimean Tatar diaspora communities, located in the former USSR, Romania, Turkey, and the United States across space and time. This dissertation attempts to develop a dynamic theory of diaspora by demonstrating how recent unexpected mobilization was a consequence of the interaction of movement framing processes with discursive and political opportunity structures. I emphasize the unique set of political and discursive opportunities that emerged in the transnational political space due to new technologies of communication and ease of transportation that precipitated simultaneous mobilization of communities as well as the attempt for constructing a transnational nation. The thesis also introduces a typology long-distance nationalism which includes newly developed concepts of émigré, exile, diaspora and transnational nationalism to explain the variation in identities and mobilization of these communities. The theoretical framework developed in this study will be useful for studying and comparing other cases of diasporas.

Posted: December 2012


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