Towards a diaspora framework : collective identity construction and violent radicalization in Russia
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This thesis examines the interrelationship between diaspora communities from the North Caucasus and Central Asia, the Russian government, ultranationalist and extremist groups, and mainstream Russian society. There has been a concurrent rise in xenophobic and interethnic violence over the past decade in Russian cities, characterized by the targeting of diasporic groups by ethnic Russian extremists, political rhetoric directed against minority groups, structural and symbolic violence on the part of the Russian government, as well as violent responses from members of diaspora communities. This process is not unique to Russia. Many European societies have also witnessed an increase in violence between their national populations and diaspora communities, raising fundamental questions about inter-communal violence, rising group radicalization, and nationalist mobilization. The levels of interethnic and xenophobic violence in Russia, however, are significantly higher than those in European countries, making Russia a dynamic case study for analysis. This thesis posits a Diaspora Framework as critical to understanding the impact that host country governments, host country populations, and the concept of a homeland play in the collective identity formation of diasporic groups. Qualitative field research in Russia and interviews with some of Russia’s leading experts in government policy and human rights, as well as activists provides both necessary context and data for analysis. The Russian case can further our understanding of the processes at play in Europe, and can assist policy development aimed at preventing radicalization within European and North American societies.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2025-10-30
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 30th October 2025
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