Accepted paper:

Online political participation as a metrics of diasporic connection to its homeland. The case of the Malagasy overseas.


Fortunat Miarintsoa Andrianimanana (Pompeu Fabra University)
Nirintsoa Razakamanana (IRD)

Paper short abstract:

As a tool for migrants to connect between them and with their homeland, the internet is also a space for transnational political participation. Aiming to discover the online political participation of the Malagasy overseas during Madagascar's 2018 elections, we found a weak collective implication.

Paper long abstract:

The Internet is undoubtedly a privileged space of connection and gathering of geographically dispersed migrants between them and with their homeland. This exploratory study analyses the political participation practices, here understood as a way of connecting with the homeland, that the Internet offers to the Malagasy overseas in the context of the presidential elections of Madagascar on 2018. Thus, it analyses within this context (i) what levels, forms, and content of political participation did they lead on the internet, (ii) who are the most politically engaged Malagasy overseas on the internet, and (iii) how did they use the internet. Following the approach of E-Diaspora Atlas project (Diminescu, 2012), the techniques used in this research are based firstly on the quantification of the Malagasy migrants' websites citing the Madagascar elections as well as the networks they form, and secondly, a qualitative analysis of their content. According to the network analysis, content analysis, and geolocation, there are significantly few and isolated Malagasy diasporic websites and blogs quoting or interacting with the Malagasy presidential election in contrast to a huge number and visible networks of international media doing so. This result reveals not only the online political information transfer between the Malagasy overseas but also the weight of their political participation towards Madagascar. It also shows the main typologies of Malagasy diasporic websites with their weak ties and networks. Is this a sign of a political disinterest or of a diasporic community in the making?

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