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Old Diasporas and New Performativities- The Online-Offline Nexus

Jowan Mahmod
University of London, Goldsmiths College
Jowan Mahmod
University of London, Goldsmiths College
Open Panel

Abstract

The discussion in this paper stems from the argument for a historical understanding of the diaspora concept, one that recognises the differences in the historical context affecting the meaning and experience of being in diaspora. A desperate movement is integral into the concept, connected to power. Two words often work in tandem within this context, diaspora and identity, and much work has been conducted on this with the link to homeland and homeland activities. However, in current discourses, different versions of diasporas can be discerned, labour and economical migrants to political refugees. These groups, with regards to their different motives for dispersal, have different influences on their diasporic and transnational activities. Hence, practices by groups or members of it and the meaning and sense they attach to their practices are empirically diverse. A methodological issue is at stake, not only regarding adequate methods to employ, but the sensitivity to the question of what reality-status a researcher gives its data. This will in turn have influence on what conclusions are drawn in wider dimensions, related to the matters of belongingness and citizenship. Based on a comparative study, the task here is to comment on how concepts of diaspora, identity and home are being redefined by younger generations of Kurds settled in Sweden and the UK (with reference to their origin homelands). By way of looking at the intersection between the online and offline, it becomes clearer how these redefinitions diverge from what academic writing mainly suggests about issues of diasporas and identity.