The Darfur crisis has shed light on unresolved crises at its borders in Chad and the Central African Republic. What these various conflicts most have in common is probably the existence of transnational armed movements that endure and reorganize in the fringes created by state dynamics in the region as well as the aporias of the international community’s conflict-resolution policies doubled by the choices of certain major powers. An analysis of the situation in the Central African Republic and the history of certain armed movements active in this regional space argues in favor of a less conventional approach to crisis-solving strategies. It points up a zone centered on the Central African Republic and its borders with neighboring countries as the real site for the analysis of armed factionalism since the wave of independence and the specific trajectories of state-building.

With over 8 million Filipinos living overseas, it could be argued that people have become the country’s largest export commodity. With their remittances making up 13% of GDP, they are as well crucially important economic actors. Has the Philippine state been instrumental in this exodus and in harvesting its fruits? Addressing such a proposition requires further refinement of three basic concepts – state, diaspora and transnationalism – through the use of three structuring templates. As a preliminary, the dichotomy of state strength and weakness is grounded in an analysis of a particular sector, namely emigration. By drawing on the typologies of Robin Cohen, Filipino overseas communities are portrayed as possessing, to some extent, the characteristics of much more readily accepted diasporas. However, a sketch of the varied experience of a heterogeneous Filipino diaspora underlines the differences between permanent migrants, contract workers, sea-based workers and irregular migrants. The diverse lived experiences of these groups – and their relations with their “home” nation – call into question the salience of notions of “transnationalism”. This questioning is reinforced by an examination of the Filipino state’s role in creating a “self-serving” diaspora through a review of the three phases in Filipino emigration policy since 1974. The characteristics that come to the fore are rather forms of “long-distance nationalism” and “rooted cosmopolitanism”. Taking cognizance of the multiple identities and loyalties in the case of the Filipino diaspora, a process of “binary nationalisms” is posited as a more fruitful avenue for future research.

Zuzanna Olszewska

Though Afghan emigration results from sociopolitical circumstances (drought, changes in the system of government, wars) and from the economic structure (pastoralism, seasonal cycles of productive activities), it is part of a historical continuum of recurrent population movements in the region. Many Afghans, particularly Hazaras, have settled in Iran since the end of the 19th century. Their presence in the country intensified during the 1970s following the Iranian oil boom and the Afghan drought, but also following the political upheavals in Afghanistan since 1978. The Islamic Republic has adopted a changing and rather inconsistent policy to deal with these immigrants, and in a both popular and formal climate of xenophobia the country’s current objective is to repatriate them. Yet, the presence of Afghans on Iranian soil seems irreversible as it satisfies economic needs, reflects the intensity of commercial exchanges between the two countries, and constitutes a complex cross-border social reality. Lastly, the Afghan presence stokes a public and legal debate on how to define citizenship, while it appears to be inherent to the Iranian conception of its own nation.

Emmanuelle Le Texier

Since the early nineteen-eighties, the new political visibility of Latinos has been referred to as the awakening of a “sleeping giant.” Their increased political expression, be it in the form of protest action during civil rights movements or electoral participation, marks a turning point in the integration of Hispanics in the American public sphere. With a growing number of voters, candidates and elected officials, Latinos have emerged on the political scene. The increasingly influential role of pan-ethnic interest groups and new opportunities for political participation created by the development of transnational networks have contributed to the elaboration of this new participative framework. Yet their electoral and political influence remains below the demographic, economic, social and cultural importance of these some 35 million individuals who make up over 12 percent of the U.S. population. Most of the minority groups still encounter major obstacles to political access. These are partly structural, but also internal to the group: not only is it divided over domestic or foreign issues, it is fragmented by national origin, status and generation. The singular nature of immigration from Latin America, the continuity of migratory flows and their diversity, all constantly rekindle divergences over what strategy Latinos should adopt for participating in the public debate. They also highlight the fictional, both functional and dysfunction, nature of ethnic categorization in the United States. The ethnic card may be an instrument of participation, but it can also prove to seriously fetter minorities’ entry into politics.