Gamlen, Alan (2019) Human Geopolitics: States, Emigrants, and the Rise of Diaspora Institutions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 352 pp.

​ISBN: 978-0-19-883349-9

Cathrine Talleraas

Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

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​The subtitle of this book refers to how states compete for population, rather than territory, through diaspora policies. Based on an impressive new data set that covers all the countries of the world’s diaspora management structures, the book identifies three historical phases in the global spread of diaspora institutions. It meticulously explains how a slowly growing group of institutions were formed as part of post-colonial nation-state building efforts (1930s–90s), then became included in states’ standard policy approaches to mobility (1990s–2004), and finally how a ‘great cascade’ of diaspora institutions rose across the globe as part of the emerging global migration regime (2005–15). The historical outline is linked to an analytically rich and novel conceptualization of diaspora forms, moving beyond the traditional ‘tapping’ and ‘embracing’ policy functions and identifying a spectrum of functions and practices. The core of the book elaborates in detail how different diaspora organizations have developed through theoretical explanations and a range of specific case studies. Explanatory factors include ‘regime shock’, ‘safety valve emigration’, ‘regional integration schemes’, ‘global best practice’ and ‘the diaspora engagement industry’. The author asks why and how states create and maintain links with diaspora communities abroad, while also raising more normative questions concerning the best ways to reach such goals and how we should respond to the current rise of diaspora institutions. Overall, the book represents an important contribution to the political scientific strand of migration studies. Human Geopolitics is well written and, due to its impressive scope, depth and theoretical innovations, it is likely to become a key reference for new and established scholars in the fields of migration and diaspora policy.