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Title: 'Doing nation' in a digital age : banal expressions of nationalism and cosmopolitanism in polymedia environments among Serbian Londoners
Author: Vico, Sanja
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 3061
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis looks at how Serbian Londoners negotiate their identities on different digital media platforms, with a particular focus on their ordinary expressions of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. By doing so, it examines whether different platforms invite different identities and whether there is anything culturally specific in the ways my participants engage with digital media. I draw on Madianou and Miller's (2012) concept of polymedia to refer to new media as an integrated environment of communicative opportunities. Following Deutsch (1953), I posit that national identities come into being through everyday communication practices and exist only as long as they are performed. Drawing on work in philosophy and sociology about doing things discursively, I propose to look at practices that 'do nation', and argue that we should think of national identities as a verb: 'doing nation'. To this end, ethnography, including participant-observation, online ethnography and autoethnography, and in-depth interviews were conducted between July 2015 and November 2018 with 40 participants. The results of this study show there is no single Serbian diaspora in London. Three waves of migrants have been identified: 1945-1990, 1990-2003, and 2003-2013. Each wave is diverse in terms of the class, age, gender and experiences of these participants. The findings show that most participants perceive Serbian national identity as stigmatised due to the legacy of the civil war in the 1990s. Most participants hence employ different strategies in polymedia environments in coping with the perceived stigma and redefining what it means to be Serbian. These strategies depend on the period of migration and choice of platform. The analysis further reveals that Facebook and Viber play a prominent role in supporting the diasporic imaginary among my participants. The thesis finally shows how identities are shaped, maintained and transformed through mediated interpersonal communication and different types of mediated co-presence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral