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Diasporas as legal actors: Implications for established legal boundaries

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Orthodox positivist concepts of public and private international law, as well as 'domestic' state laws, privileging official legal orders and state elites, are increasingly called into question by the global dispersal of people through migration. Significantly, Afro-Asian diaporas, as transnational actors are engaged in reconstructing their laws in hybrid forms in newly adopted places of living in the North. Focusing on the British case, this article examines how this legal activity is largely still confined to the 'unofficial' field as the official order, in its assumption of dominance, only recognises the dynamic legal pluralism of diasporic minorities to a minimal degree. In this light, the article also reflects on a recent academic discussion on the need for a Convention on diasporas, arguing that given the still-dominant positivist emphasis in legal thinking, which has skewed our perspective of the socio-legal agency of diasporas, it is bound to be of limited value in providing legal protection for them.


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