Securitizing the nation beyond the state: diasporas as threats, victims, and assets
Securitization theory has paid extensive attention to transnational issues, actors, and processes. Surprisingly, however, only little attention has been paid to the securitization of diaspora communities, defined as overseas citizens or co-nationals abroad. This article fills this gap by developing an analytical framework to study the securitization of diasporas, focusing on three discursive formations: diasporas as threatening actors, as objects under threat, or as security resources. Building upon the recent literature on state–diaspora engagement and drawing on an analysis of Israeli elite discourse (from 1948 to 2022), this article demonstrates how the securitization of diasporas serves as a discursive mechanism that naturalizes and legitimizes extra-territorial policies towards Jews abroad. Thus, the article complements structural and rational explanations of state–diaspora engagement by examining the intersubjective process that endows diaspora policymaking with meaning. Against the backdrop of extensive securitization scholarship that focuses on attempts to keep “foreigners” out, this article shows how securitization justifies bringing certain people in or governing their national identity abroad.