Accepted Paper:

Diaspora goes online: 'Cape Verdean Americans' in the lead?  
Sónia Melo (Nottingham Trent University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I will look at how and why of all Cape Verdean migrant groups the ones based in the USA have been the most active in fostering the Cape Verdean networking space and communication over the Internet.

Paper long abstract:

Recent research has focused on how diasporic migrant communities maintain active links through cyberspace for a number of different reasons: finding jobs, maintaining their sense of identity and belonging to a certain group or nationality, or keeping active solidarity ties or political links with the place of origin (Mitra, 2000; Stubbs 1999; Yang, 2003; Ong, 2003). Much of the research has, then, concentrated on how different migrants have appropriated the medium - the Internet - as an instrument of communication and as a means of maintaining certain active networks.

However in using national or ethnic categories as the basis for identifying online migrant communities (i.e. Mitra, 2000) this literature also collapses together a number of differences within the diaspora. Those concepts often entail generalisations that do not account for the variations within each one of these categories. For instance, one may ask, do all the diasporic migrant groups actively participate in online networks in the same way or to the same degree? If not, why are some groups more active than others? What are the reasons that account for that situation?

In this paper I aim to approach these issues by looking at the space inhabited by web pages and sites related to Cape Verde and Cape Verdeans. I will look at how and why of all Cape Verdean migrant groups, the ones based in the US have been the most active in fostering the Cape Verdean networking space and communication over the Internet. I will also tackle the way in which Cape Verdean language politics affects the online interaction between the groups. In addressing these questions, I will draw on offline ethnographic materials - interviews, field notes - and materials collected online on Internet sites and web pages. The offline data has been collected in three different locations: in Cape Verde, in the United States and in Portugal.

Panel IW04
Diaspora and migration