Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.707226
Title: Diaspora 2.0 : mapping Sikh, Tamil and Palestinian online identity politics
Author: Kumar, Priya
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 1399
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
This thesis examines global diaspora politics in the digital age. It is based on the premise that technological advances over the last decade have given rise to new and more public forms of diaspora identity politics that have become increasingly important to International Relations and global affairs in general. The thesis argues that Internet web 2.0 technologies are empowering ordinary people across the globe with the communicative opportunities necessary for transnational political participation and identity-based mobilisation. While the relationship between user-centered web 2.0 technologies and transnational patterns of diasporic engagement have attracted significant attention in recent times, very little is known about what comprises online diaspora identity politics or what they actually look like. The majority of scholarship on diaspora politics continues to reinforce 'triadic relations' between the homeland (real or imagined), the host county, and the diaspora itself and remains confined to this paradigm. The online focus of this thesis aims to challenge state-centric approaches to international politics that oversimplify and essentialise diasporas as homogenous entities, primordial 'things', ethnically bound groups or single units of analysis. The thesis argues that in the digital age the theoretical and methodological assumptions guiding mainstream actor-based or triadic-led approaches to diaspora politics are far too reductionist and limited. To investigate the various ways web 2.0 technologies are changing the contours of contemporary diaspora politics, the thesis employs a three-pronged mixed-methods approach that includes both online and offline data collection techniques. A major contribution of the thesis is its web-led methodology, which was designed to examine and analyse the online presence of three different 'stateless' case studies (Sikh, Tamil and Palestinian diasporas) and the individuals directly and/or indirectly involved in these diaspora identity politics. The empirical research combines statistical data and digital mapping results from e-Diasporas Atlas corpora with web-based content analysis and semi-structured interviews. Using a transnational social movement perspective, the thesis focuses on the key activities, themes and issue-agendas that link to make up the 'global diaspora politics' of each case study. The thesis highlights that web 2.0 technologies are supporting and enabling more expressive and global forms of diaspora identity politics from the grassroots which extend beyond the triadic relational model and nation-state containers. Common across each of the three case studies is the use of human-rights based language, which is shown to play a key role in binding diasporic grievances and political claims between people across various locales, countries of settlement and the international system. The thesis concludes by recommending future avenues of exploration in this budding area of research, including the broader implications of using 'Big Data' in the discipline of International Relations and global politics. The research presented in the thesis is but one attempt to reach a greater understanding of the growing interconnection between online political expressions and offline political participation that has come to define the digital age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.707226  DOI:
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