P04
Virtual diasporas: how digital tools influence the politics of diasporas

Convenors:
Corneliu Bjola (University of Oxford)
Ilan Manor (University of Oxford)
Location:
Oscar Wilde Room (Magdalen College)
Start time:
12 September, 2016 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

We invite papers on: how digitalization has transformed imagined communities into virtual communities; how states utilize digital tools to achieve political goals, with a focus on development; how digitalization influences the sense of identity of diasporas and their bonds to country of origin.

Long abstract:

Diasporas have traditionally been conceived as imagined communities that maintain relatively detached ties with their countries of origin. This is about to change as a result of the global proliferation of Information and Communication Technologies. Digital tools now enable diasporas to remain in continuous contact with their countries of origin. Likewise, governments use digital tools to strengthen political ties with global diasporas. Thus, through the digital world these imagined communities have transformed into virtual communities. The transition from imagined communities to virtual ones is of great relevance to development studies. States, on their part, use digital tools in order cement their relations with virtual diasporas, incorporate them in national advocacy campaigns and seek their assistance in creating political and financial ties with foreign countries. Diasporas, on their parts, may use digital tools in order to maintain a sense of national identity, foster relations with other expats and send remittances to their country of origin. The panel aims to explore the ways in which digitalization has impacted the politics of diasporas. We invite theoretically informed and policy relevant papers focusing on three major themes. The first is a conceptual theme that examines on how digitalization has transformed imagined communities into virtual communities. The second focuses on the nation state and how it utilizes digital tools, and virtual communities, to achieve political goals, with a focus on development. The final theme focuses on how digitalization influences the sense of identity of diasporas and their bonds to their country of origin.