© 2016 The Author. Antipode © 2016 Antipode Foundation Ltd. Why at this particular historical moment has there emerged a rousing interest in the potential contribution of diasporas to the development of migrant sending states and why is this diaspora turn so pervasive throughout the global South? The central premise of this paper is that the rapid ascent of diaspora-centred development cannot be understood apart from historical developments in the West's approach to governing international spaces. Once predicated upon sovereign power, rule over distant others is increasingly coming to depend upon biopolitical projects which conspire to discipline and normalize the conduct of others at a distance so as to create self-reliant and resilient market actors. We argue that an age of diaspora-centred development has emerged as a consequence of this shift and is partly constitutive of it. We develop our argument with reference to Giorgio Agamben's “Homo Sacer” project and in particular the theological genealogy of Western political constructs he presents in his book The Kingdom and the Glory (2011). We provide for illustration profiles of three projects which have played a significant role in birthing and conditioning the current diaspora option: the World Bank's Knowledge for Development Programme (K4D); the US-based International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA); and the EU/UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative Migration4Development project (JMDI-M4D). Drawing upon economic theology, we make a case for construing these projects as elements of the West's emerging Oikonomia after the age of empire.