Changing patterns – Indian diasporic flows in Scandinavia

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This paper explores the changing dynamics of Indian diasporic flows and mobility in Scandinavia, a rather under- explored theme. Based on quantitative background data and an empirical qualitative study conducted in Denmark, the aim is to look into the recent trends related to this migration, both in the country of origin and in Scandinavia. Indian diaspora, as a trans-national community across the globe comprising approximately 20-25 million have contributed to global economic, cultural and social psychological interconnections over the past few decades. In 2013, PIO (people of Indian origin) constituted 49490 persons in Denmark, Norway & Sweden out of a total population of approximately 20 million. Besides there is a comparative study of Indian diaspora in the United States ( Sriram, 2014),Scandinavia is the European region where Indians, highly skilled (and their families), are being invited to fill gaps in the labour market since the past decade and the trend is continuing, in contrast to the unskilled labor migration flows of 1970s. At the same time there are transformations in nation state’s involvement towards the diaspora - from exclusion to inclusion in the past few decades in a number of countries such as Mexico, China, India (Ports, 2014). An understanding of the sense of belongings and marginalities of the Indian diaspora in their country of residence in context of these transformations is also an objective of the paper.The theoretical frameworks in the paper includes subjective processes of dispersal, connectedness (Dufoix, 2008, Vertovec, 2000) and processes of identification, inclusion/ exclusion and ambivalences in the notion of belonging especially in the country of residence (Gilroy, 2000, Kalra et al. 2005). Multiple identifications (Bauman, 2009) as a never-ending and open ended activity also find a place in the analysis. These are seen as possibilities in the transnational social spaces, though contested by the polarised discussions of belonging. The Scandinavian colonialism bandied as “benign colonialism” is also included in the framework (Poddar, 2013). Furthermore, macro processes related to nation states reimagining the relationship between the domicility, citizenship and belonging, from exclusion to the recognition that the diasporic may be mobilised to invest in the territories they and their ancestors left behind (Raghu ram & Sahoo, 2008) are also part of the framework.Qualitative- in-depth interviews have been conducted, based on theoretical and empirically derived themes focusing on Indian diasporic - young people, people in endogamous marriages as well in exogamous marriages with Danish spouses (mixed couples). The results show a nuanced understanding of changing migration dynamics, which influence belongings and marginalities of Indian diasporic invoking different analytical levels and socioeconomic aspects. Some of the paradoxes and dilemmas related to belongings, inclusion and exclusion in the country of origin as well as the country of residence are highlighted, along with their national and transnational engagement. Moreover the paper also demonstrates how the nation state policies indicate an intertwining of the micro and macro levels through illustration of transforming belongings such as PIO/OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) in relation to the country of origin as well as transformed acceptance in the country of residence.
Publikationsdato4 jun. 2015
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 4 jun. 2015
Begivenhed12th IMISCOE annual conference - University of Geneva, Geneva, Schweiz
Varighed: 25 jun. 201527 jun. 2015


Konference12th IMISCOE annual conference
LokationUniversity of Geneva


  • Indians, highly skilled
  • processes of dispersal, connectedness
  • nation state policies
  • PIO/OCI (Overseas Citizen of India)

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