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Re-building institutions through diaspora engagement: the impact of high skilled migrants on domestic change

Africa
Democratisation
Development
Migration
Policy Analysis
Qualitative
Chiara Cancellario
LUISS University
Chiara Cancellario
LUISS University
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Abstract

The research wants to provide an analysis of the contribution of skilled migrants in the processes of institutional strengthening and institutional rebuilding through the employment of “social remittances” (Levitt, 1998) and to find out to what extent skilled diaspora may act as an external anchoring actor (Morlino, 2011). The analysis is conducted in the attempt to interpret the results according the “diaspora perspective”. The focus on diaspora actors aims to provide a cognitive model on the topic different from the current in use, influenced by International Organisations, NGOs, and GovernmentsThe research is organised as a qualitative case study analysis assisted by process tracing. It has a double focus: together with the data collection about the interventions of organisations on home country context, it tries to capture behaves, motivation and frameworks influencing any of the intervention in object. To do so, the objects of the analysis are specific projects, which involve skilled diaspora currently resident in the UK, leaded by international organisation or civil society associations and implemented in the Horn of Africa. The micro level study of those projects and interventions has two main goals: firstly, contribute to the debate on the potentials of diaspora as an “international anchor” in home countries and, secondly contribute in the progress of migration and development policy framework, also providing policy recommendation. The research looks at the of diaspora action at a “micro level”, working on the factors of contribution of social development which are, according to Wescott and Brinekerhoff (2006), “mobilisation”, “opportunities” and “motivations”. Furthermore, the analysis refers to the variables of “legitimacy” and “effectiveness”, which definition is borrowed from Lipset’s “Some social requisites of Democracy: economic development and Political Legitimacy” (1959). The case study analysis is conducted through a semi - structured interview based on two questionnaires, which slightly differ according to the nature of the engagement (from above/from below). The main difference in the questionnaires regards the starting point of the case study: in the “from above” cases, the respondents will refer to the experience for which they have been ask to participate. In the “from below” cases, the respondent will have as a starting point an initiative of their choice chosen from the one of the organisation they belong to. The organisation which participated at the research were 15, mostly based within UK and Italy, and the IOM Somalia, for the “QUESTS MIDA” case. The analysis of empirical data at the moment of writing is in progress, but there is a clear evidence of how the variable of “legitimacy” is the turning point for the study of diaspora contribution to homeland through social remittances.