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How does linkage between the homeland and hostland shape the strategic choices and public identity claims of diaspora activists in their struggle for homeland regime change? Comparing the mobilization of Filipinos in the U.S. and the Netherlands from 1972-1982 to overthrow the dictatorship of Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, the study shows that linkage influences the arenas of contention, interactions among field of actors, and symbolic resources that, in turn, shape strategic decisions and identity claims. I argue that strong linkage between the U.S. and the Philippines provided migrants and exiles an accessible not only an institutional target for their claims-making and broad multiorganizational field of allies but also discourses and frames on which they could anchor their claims, thus promoting the pursuit of foreign policy lobbying. Weak linkage (Netherlands-Philippines), however, involved a narrower set of players and thus drove activists to create opportunities for mobilization—often in the international public sphere. In both countries, activists’ framing of collective action oscillated between particularistic and universal as the web of relations contracted and/or expanded.
Sharon M. Quinsaat is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Grinnell College, Iowa.