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Title: Heimat websites : studying diaspora-homeland websites for the maintenance of micro-connections
Author: Castro-Quiroa, Luis Adrian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 5403
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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Revolutionary advances in transportation and novel communication services challenge traditional notions of acculturation and integration of immigrants into receiving societies. In many cases, migrants' connections to the homeland can be explained using psycho-social theories as well as political and economic incentivebased frameworks. This process is facilitated by the plethora of communication services and technological devices that help migrants to keep up with close and intimate ties as well as keep abreast of occurrences in their homeland. Through interpersonal interactions, social networks seem to be fundamental to maintaining migrants' awareness of events in their home communities. In addition, there is an emerging phenomenon of websites created with the aim of reconnecting migrants to daily life in their places of origin: heimat websites. This thesis presents a set of studies aimed at presenting the dynamics that characterise the use of heimat websites. Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques, a good understanding was derived of the way heimat websites are used for the maintenance of cross-border micro-connections. Due to the public, transnational nature of heimat websites, they allow migrants to engage in online behaviours that would otherwise not be possible. This investigation argues that heimat websites can be potentially used for civic participation and collective action from abroad. Also, heimat websites seem to be used by some migrants to reproduce their social status in their communities of origin through the online display of images of modernism and material culture. Furthennore, heimat websites seem to be instrumental in administering the social reality of the community to migrants as it unfolds. This investigation also unravels online processes used by migrants to maintain their social identity through images of the homeland and local infonnation. Simultaneously, heimat websites appear to work as a conduit through which social remittances travel to the homeland in the fonn of images, ideas, and social practices. In this way, heimat websites are places where the sending and receiving communities merge together to varying degrees. Finally, amongst the findings, lurking on the website and experiencing homesickness are correlated. This thesis contributes to existing theory in diasporic websites by extending the current classification of diaspora-homeland websites by presenting heimat websites and their dynamics. Findings from this work can be used for the better design of communication services for transnational communities. Likewise, implications for design can be derived to improve interaction on heimat websites. This set of implications could help to improve the way heimat websites are conceived in tenns of interactions, news reports, and organisation of infonnation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available