Российская диаспора в области социальных и экономических наук: проблемы и перспективы сотрудничества
Migrants' flows and diasporas have become important phenomenon in the modern world. Although diasporas differ in their scales, they definitely demonstrate the potential for being an important and often underestimated policy tool. This paper reviews the opportunities for cooperation with homeland, considering the example of the Russian academic diaspora in social sciences (the data from a descriptive pilot study, competed in autumn-winter 2008). The chosen focus is interesting because a) the studied community is small and questions its own attribution to diaspora, b) highly skilled professionals seem to present a special case for all diaspora studies, tend to be more independent from the rest of their compatriots, and to integrate closer into the host culture, c) social science was underdeveloped in the Soviet Union and remains rather isolated from the general flow of studies in nowadays Russia, thus limiting the attractiveness of return option. While some countries are competing for the highly skilled migrants, others either try to regulate emigration flows or develop the policies, enabling to turn the brain drain into the brain gain. The latter became a popular topic, also because of its relevance to the agenda of so many countries all over the world, including the most developed. Whether Russian academic diaspora in socio-economic field could be a noticeable change agent in developing Russian research and education; what are these people, are they interested in having more cooperation with Russia; how it could be stimulated - that was the overall perspective of the study, and it defined the logic of the following text. High-skilled migration became a popular phenomenon in both reality and academic studies. If the <i>normal migrants</i> need an identity in a host society, the professionals get it with their job affiliation, thus do not need to seek or create one. Also the use of term 'minority' is often inadequate while describing Babylonian crowd, which forms many departments or laboratories in the developed countries - thus the very essence of diaspora phenomenon is questioned by this category of people. Instead of solving the problem of adaptation to the new society, the migrants of this type seem to maximize the professional opportunities, which are often better in the host, than in home countries. Thus they often do not demonstrate most of the attributes, expected from a migrant - sticking together with the other people of the same origin, supporting ethnic networks, etc. - they do not need that assistance, as they get it through the job. A situation that stimulates emergence of networks: <i>a migrant needs to find the ways in the society</i> is substituted by much more individualistic perspective: 'the society (through the host institutions) assists the specialists to be integrated' or at least does not create any additional obstacles and provides the necessary support (e.g. visa support, insurance, housing, etc.). Integration through professional networks is often easier, as they are already established and recognized in the host society, such networks are often dense enough to provide the necessary support, and the colleagues help to integrate also psychologically and culturally. Diaspora could also be seen as a resource, opening additional opportunities in social or political space for its members: through creating own associations immigrants establish many contacts, at least with other immigrant associations, third-sector organizations, and the local authorities. Again high-skilled migrants might find integration into professional community more beneficial than addressing the diaspora as a tool for establishing themselves in the host society. Some studies suggest that as long as the migrant researchers are familiar with the social systems in both the host and the home country, they could serve as a special link between both, stimulating the circulation of intellectual resources. Thus it could be also expected to fin.