Solid, Ductile and Liquid: Changing Notions of Homeland and Home in Diaspora Studies

Date: Oct, 2007
ODID Working Paper No. 156
Author(s): Robin Cohen (QEH)

Does diaspora imply a homeland? For a number of scholars who pioneered the growth of diasporic studies in the 1990s this was the sine qua non of the concept. Under the weight of social constructionist critics, who sought to deconstruct the foundational ideas of homeland and community, more complex and vaguer ideas of homeland and home emerged. These are characterized here as 'solid', 'ductile' and 'liquid', on a diminishing scale from historical reality to postmodern virtuality. I show that all three versions of home/homeland have some historical and empirical support, though resist pure social constructivism. There is also some evidence that solid notions homeland are gaining increasing attention

ODID Author(s)