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A home away from home: the drivers behind Croatian diaspora mobilisation

Brkanić, Anita E. (2016) A home away from home: the drivers behind Croatian diaspora mobilisation. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The aim of this study is to provide a framework for understanding the dynamics and motivations behind the mobilisation of diasporas. What shapes diaspora mobilisation? And when they do get involved in homeland politics, what determines the success of diaspora efforts? How is diaspora mobilisation shaped through human agency? The study will look at the Croatian diaspora in North America which, with a long history of active involvement in the politics of its homeland, brings forth a compelling case for the study of diaspora mobilisation. Are conflict–based arguments sufficient to explain diaspora mobilisation? Are there complementary, but potentially more covert, driving factors behind it? Other studies have identified homeland conflict as important for diaspora mobilisation, but have not shown yet in depth how framing processes work in the presence of charismatic leadership and their framing strategies. Aiming at filling this gap in the literature, this study provides a complementary argument to conflict–based arguments; it focuses on the role of collective action frames (CAF) used by goal–seeking elites in diaspora mobilisation and brings out the effects of agency. It states that while conflict provides important opportunities to mobilise, agents play a crucial role in framing and reframing these opportunities to advance their political goals. This thesis is the first one to give an in depth discussion of specific framing mechanism and how they interconnect with charismatic leadership. By employing the frame analysis approach this study intends to link the literature on collective action frames and framing processes with the research done in Diaspora Studies. In doing so, it will make use of the framing literature in relation to social movement processes that it tries to illuminate. The study identifies effective framing processes, diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational, as crucial for understanding the character, the course and the outcome of diaspora mobilisation and its consequent political influence. The study aims to expand framing theory by contributing to our understanding of how leaders motivate and mobilise resources, generate and identify opportunities, frame issues, plan and develop strategies, recruit support and create change. Human agency has been neglected by the recent emphasis on structures of opportunity and this study is a response to the growing demand for the examination of the numerous ways in which leaders generate social change and create the conditions for the agency of others. However favourable the ‘breeding ground’ presented by the opportunity structure, it only provides potential actors with options. It is ultimately always the parties themselves who must make the best of them. This study shall therefore focus on the leader in charge of the framing processes and his characteristics as one of the key factors explaining his success. In doing so, the study will address an existing gap in the framing literature and divert attention to the role of Franjo Tuđman, the first President of independent Croatia, in constructing diaspora collective action frames. In placing the focus on the leader, the study does not intend to minimise the role of other explanatory factors, e.g. effective resource mobilisation and political opportunity structures (POS), the right configuration of which is essential for the framing processes to be effective. Instead, when addressing these elements of diaspora mobilisation, the study does so through the lens of leadership.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Anita E. Brkanić
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Hutchinson, John

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