1st Edition

Strongman’s Brokers Old Diasporas and New Networks in the Age of Populism

Edited By Ameem Lutfi, Nisha Mathew, Serkan Yolaçan Copyright 2024
    138 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book explores the critical role of informal diplomats in shaping contemporary global politics as they navigate complex networks of power and influence in the age of strongman leaders.

    The world of international relations has long been viewed as the domain of state institutions and career diplomats. But in the age of strongman leaders, a new set of actors has emerged as key players in foreign policy: informal diplomats drawn from diasporas, religious communities, and trade networks. Through a collection of essays by historians, anthropologists, and political scientists, this book traces the historical parallels and continuities between these informal diplomats and the diasporic networks that have existed for centuries, shedding light on their critical role in the making of contemporary global politics. By exploring the thick social basis of the strongman-informal diplomat partnership, the contributors offer a fresh perspective on the social worlds that animate international politics today.

    This innovative volume will be of interest to students and researchers of politics and international relations. This book was originally published as a special issue of History and Anthropology.


    Ameem Lutfi, Nisha Mathew and Serkan Yolaçan


    Ameem Lutfi, Nisha Mathew and Serkan Yolaçan

    1. Iron fist or nimble fingers?: An anatomy of Erdogan's strongman politics

    Serkan Yolaçan

    2. Bhakt nation: The return of the Hindu diaspora in Modi’s India

    Nisha Mathew

    3. Cadre as informal diplomats: Ferdinand Marcos and the Soviet Bloc, 1965–1975

    Joseph Scalice

    4. Spooks, goons, ‘intellectuals’: The military–catholic network in the Cold War diplomacy of Suharto’s Indonesia

    Deepak Nair

    5. The Social Life of Syrian Diplomacy: Transnational Kinship Networks of the Asad Regime

    Paul Anderson

    6. Pretenders, entrepreneurs, and mercurians: An ethnohistorical approach to conceptualizing diplomacy

    Ameem Lutfi


    Ameem Lutfi is Assistant Professor in History and Anthropology at LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan. His research explores diasporic mobility and transnational military labour markets in the Indian Ocean.

    Nisha Mathew is Associate Professor at Mahindra University, India. Her research focuses on the post-imperial histories of trade, mobility, smuggling and offshore financing in the Indian Ocean.

    Serkan Yolaçan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, USA. His research explores the interplay between diasporic mobility, historical practice, and political change in the Caucasus.