Diasporic Websites and Their Appropriation: An Analysis of the Moroccan, Russian and Turkish Diaspora
Diasporic websites symbolize the transnational character of diasporic cultures. They are also social sites, through which these cultures are contested and (re-)produced. In the national media of the countries of migration and origin, diaspora groups are mostly underrepresented or represented by others, who speak in their names. Moreover, topics that relate to specific diaspora communities are in many cases excluded from the agendas of the national media. In general, diasporic media provide diasporas with their own information networks and a common discursive framework, which connects them to each other. However, there are limitations to the production and distribution of diasporic mass media in terms of material resources. In this sense, the Internet provides an alternative for diasporic media production with lower costs. Furthermore, they allow communication among the dispersed members of diasporas independent of spatial boundaries. The boom in the number of diasporic websites like Vaybee!, Maroczone or Germany.ru in Germany in the last 10 years can be seen as an outcome of these and other factors. On the one hand, diasporic websites have the potential to empower diasporas by enabling self-representation, own communication and information networks and by giving them a sense of belonging. But, on the other hand, they could also lead to new forms of exclusion and isolation. This research project aims to understand the role of diasporic websites for the members of diasporas in the contexts of their use in everyday life, identity and community formation and their political implications. The project will, therefore, conduct an analysis of their appropriation and representation patterns within the Moroccan, Russian and Turkish Diaspora in Germany. The appropriation of diasporic websites will be examined on the basis of the qualitative interviews of the DFG research project ‘Communicative Connectivity of Ethnic Minorities’ (Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp, IMKI, University of Bremen, Germany). Furthermore, the diasporic websites that are used by the interviewees will be analyzed in regard to their communication structure, the discourses and information that they provide. By looking at the diasporic websites and their appropriation, the project aims to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between online communication and the contemporary forms of complex transnational cultures.