Diasporic stances, homeland prisms: representing diaspora in the homeland as internal negotiation of national identity

Omri Asscher, Ofer Shiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper suggests that images and stances associated with the diaspora in the homeland culture offer a unique prism through which internal tensions in homeland collective identity may be dissected and understood. We believe it is worthwhile to broaden the spectrum of inquiry of recent research on quantifiable diaspora economic and political involvement in homeland nation-states to the inherently fluid, abstract realm of cultural representation. The paper implements this research orientation by offering a preliminary discussion of homeland-construed representations and stances of the diaspora, based on the case study of Israel. Israel is a particularly useful case for our purposes because of the degree to which the diaspora serves as a ‘significant other’ for the homeland national culture. Our claim is that two main prisms, or frames of reference, which we label as ‘minority stance’ and ‘authenticity,’ designate Israeli views of its diaspora that prove fundamental to Israeli national self-definition. The degree of authenticity ascribed in Israeli culture to representations and practices associated with the diaspora is contingent on the positive or negative value attributed to them as embodying a ‘minority stance,’ that is, to the diaspora giving central importance to its environing host society in its own identity and self-understanding. Using Greek culture as a comparative point of reference, we suggest that these prisms may be but two examples of various homeland ‘filters’ on the diaspora experience–filters which pertain to the homeland society’s ongoing internal negotiations of identity and symbolic boundary-work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalDiaspora Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • Homeland
  • Israel
  • diaspora
  • minority stance
  • national identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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