Contemporary research on the subject of diasporas is usefully highlighting the growing global importance of long-distance connections, mediated flows and structured feedback loops in the daily lives of people. The field of diaspora research has another advantage: it turns our attention to the conflicted dynamics of long-distance, cross-border attachments. Connections, flows and feedback loops are not necessarily productive of solid bonds and secure bridges among people and institutions. In such matters as trade and investment, and migration and citizenship they can and do have disruptive political effects. In extreme circumstances, paradoxically, tightening connections across vast geographic distances trigger political backlashes, neo-populist calls for the return to the local and breakdowns of established institutions and ways of life.