ONLINE WORKSHOP: Transnational Political Movements and the Imaginaries of the Homeland

Some of the crucial normative transformations resulting from ‘globalization’ are driven by transnational political networks, and are mediated by the social imaginaries that these networks create. Now, it might seem obvious that transnational networks tend to create ‘globalist’ or ‘internationalist’ imaginaries, and this is what research on such network imaginaries often assumes. Our workshop focuses on a different type of network imaginary: Its goal is a comparative discussion of transnational networks that are sustained by, and recreate, a specific imaginary of the homeland, and that sustain forms of political critique which owe their plausibility to this imaginary of the homeland. Diasporic communities often convey a stronger sense of difference, of being a ‘people’ with ‘roots’ outside their countries of residence. Here, the creation and maintenance of highly ‘modern’ global networks is reinforced by a ‘traditionalist’ notion of home. At the same time, this ‘traditionalist’ notion is itself a product of multiple ‘modern’ networks between the countries of origin and settlement. While the idea of the homeland has always been linked to excesses of the imagination (see GDR poet Thomas Brasch’s description of nostalgia for the homeland: „Ich will dort bleiben / wo ich nie gewesen bin“), the modern long-distance network, by offering a rather selective access to what happens in the homeland, makes it much easier for new fantasies about this homeland to emerge. Often, the resources enabling long-term activism within the ‘homeland’ are made available through diaspora networks driven by this kind of selective imaginary. It is also through these kinds of political mobilizations that ‘globalization’ has triggered a ‘politics of differentiation’ (Glick Schiller), and an ethnicization of difference.

The Workshop will take place from 28th till 29th May 2021. The detailed program you can find here.

If you are interested in participating please send a mail to Andreas Pettenkofer (andreas.pettenkofer(at)