Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location

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Social interaction and relations are no longer dependent on simultaneous spatial co-presence; there are also relations developing with the absent other through mediated communication. When place seizes from being a singular and restricting context for social relations, the experience of time and space becomes distanciated Giddens, and diasporic communities break off the specificities and singularities of place and expand their potentials for communication and community. Diaspora refers to people who cross boundaries and who settle in locations different to those of their origins.

Diaspora is also a category that implies multiple connections across space and flows of ideas and information beyond a singular nation. Work done within studies of transnationalism has contributed in thinking of diasporas as networked, transnational formations cf. Portes, ; Vertovec, Diasporic cultures and political activity, emerging across geographical boundaries and taking specific forms in local domains have also attracted interest across the social sciences and have been discussed as forms of counter-hegemonic practices and alternative forms of selective community participation and re-articulation of identities Sandercock, ; Schiller et al.

Diasporic transnationalism is less about place and more about space. It is less about the boundary and more about imagination. It invites us to consider the possible emergence of contradictory yet viable forms of transnational imagined communities, especially through selective and partial participation. As such, diaspora can arguably become a metaphor for life and identity in cosmopolitan times. As a metaphor it captures the human connection across boundaries and growing mediation.

Session 2 - Diasporic identities and constructions of Greekness

Media, telephony and digital technologies have altered transnational communication practices in the last couple of decades to such an extent as to allow daily and vast transnational exchanges online, on the phone and on television screens. Cohen proposes a redefinition of diaspora in the light of these changes:. Moreover, transnational bonds no longer have to be cemented by migration or by exclusive territorial claims.

Looking at the wider transnationalisation that affects the life of most human subjects at present is not an invitation to put social divides, injustice and hierarchies aside, but rather, it is an invitation to consider connections or lack of and restrictions to connections across space as key elements of identity and community. At the same time, and in order to appreciate the significance of diaspora, we also need to look at diasporic identities in their specificity.

Diasporic identities are shaped in different spaces, which are interconnected and sometimes distinct and competing. Each different space is attached to a shared sense of belonging and to a sense of longing and shared memory of uprooting Cohen, Diasporic identities depend on shared myths and memories, as well as upon a sense of belonging in an imagined community which has some continuity and relevance across time and space Georgiou, For diasporic identity, spatiality is of particular importance, especially as mobility and resettlement shape both experience and imagination.

Diasporic mobility and resettlement connect at least two places, while the simultaneity of migration of a group to more than one places creates the conditions for networked relations across places.

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Diasporic identities then become complex and changing systems and the position that individuals or groups take in spatial matrices define many of the elements of the content of those identities. Space also carries social meanings — and these are always plural. The meanings of space are shaped in contexts of continuities, links and conflicts. The home, the public, the city, and the national, in its interconnections with the transnational space form layers of the spheres of belonging; they together form the puzzle of the context where social relations, communication and action take place and shape the meanings of identity and community.

Each of these elements of space is an autonomous node and each has its own dynamics, its morality, economy, and its social and cultural meanings. The home or the city are not only defined in relation to the meanings of identity; they also play multiple roles in the broader economic and cultural contexts of the locale, the national and the trasnational context. However, in relation to meanings of identity and community they have a specific significance both in their autonomy and in their interconnection.

These are spaces where the struggles for inclusion and exclusion are not between two sides: these of the powerful and the subordinate but between different powerful and subordinate actors. Media actively get involved in the practices and ideologies of what it means to belong, of what identification with a group and a community consists of, what the symbols of the imagined self, the Other and the community are and how the boundaries around communities and places are appropriated.

In addition, the geography of social relations is changing as much as the relations between spaces. They often stretch out over defined spaces; yet, and as Massey argues, social relations, movements and communication change, but they meet in places that become unique points of their intersection. This section briefly introduces the main spaces where diasporic life unfolds.

Identity, Space and the Media: Thinking through Diaspora

Experience of ethnicity in early childhood, within the home, critically marks a sense of belonging. Home is the symbolic and real place that becomes a synonym to familiarity, intimacy, security and identity against the unknown, the distant and the large. Media destabilize the role of the home in achieving ontological security.

For diaspora, extended cultural boundaries might be enabling for the construction of new and multiple domestic and collective homes. At the same time, and as cultural boundaries stretch, stability becomes less adequate as a synonym for home. Home in the case of diasporic populations is always ambiguous and incomplete.

It is never as fixed and permanent as the ideal perception of The Home assumes it to be: private, safe, fixed, a shelter to return to. In a way, this idealization of home does not correspond to any kind of home anywhere in late modernity, where symbolic and real boundaries of space and privacy are blurred Silverstone, But in no other case is the change of Home more obvious than in the case of diaspora.

The diasporic home is not necessarily synonymous with a house, it is not necessarily singular. Which house would that be anyway? Which one home is home? Nostalgia, strangeness and the sense of loss intensify the efforts of making a house a home Morley, The search for ontological security becomes one of the main reasons for reinventing close family relations, relations that often become even more intense in the diaspora than they would ever be in the country of origin.

The extensive focus on constructing a diasporic home, along with the relations that it implies — relations among its members, relations to the inside and the outside world that a construct with walls and windows shapes — give home its meanings. Within the home, diasporic identities are constructed as the hierarchy of family relations and the dominant culture of the family shape roles and moral values.

Silverstone and Hirsch note the significance of the domestic in the modern world as a place enhanced, mediated, contained, even constrained by our ever-increasing range of information and communication technologies and the systems and services that they offer the household. Media shape cultural scapes and mediate interpersonal relations and thus domestic hierarchies and moral values.

Media produce representations of the world outside the domestic space but also of the home itself Morley and Silverstone, Robins suggests that we should think through the city, instead of through the nation; the city, he argues, is a more useful category of analysis, especially since it allows us to reflect on the cultural consequences of globalisation from another than a national perspective.

City, and especially the culturally diverse and global city, is a symbolic and physical landscape of cultural contestations, of conflict, but also of coexistence of difference. As Massey puts it:. Everyday life often becomes the context for seeking a voice and a presence in public life. Politics of expression and representation are exposed in the street and on the walls, in performances and nightlife, but also in local political and cultural activities. Especially the streets, community centres, libraries, schools, pubs and clubs of culturally diverse working class neighbourhoods reveal imaginings and reimagining of belonging which are often distant from the rules and the imagination of the nation and thus leave more space for the emergence and expression of identities that are multiple, diverse and outcomes of close contact with difference.

The boundaries of everyday practice and mediated life have less to do with the nation and more with the potentials and restrictions in i.

These solidarities emerge at points of contact between urban subjects who have different origins, possibly different orientations for the future, but importantly they emerge among human subjects who share a common present. There is a key contradiction in the position of the nation in our times.

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On the one hand, culture and communication become increasingly deterritorialized and transnational, while at on the other hand, the national political boundaries become increasingly reinforced. This condition creates a rupture between the politics of the nation and the human condition within nations and even more so for those human subjects who cross national boundaries, especially through migration. But the physical contains and grounds the mediated. The nation-state aims at sustaining its power and legitimacy based on ideologies of singularity — of singular loyalties, of the singularity of the national space ownership and of clear-cut borders.

At the same time, diaspora challenges national ideologies, but it often finds itself trapped in them. Ching-In marked it as to-read May 09, Meiver marked it as to-read Jun 18, Colin marked it as to-read Jul 16, Eric Baldwin is currently reading it Nov 27, Anh Le marked it as to-read Mar 30, Aishe marked it as to-read Apr 08, Varun marked it as to-read May 26, Erin Riddle added it Jun 09, Artem marked it as to-read Dec 11, BookDB marked it as to-read Sep 28, Nadin Adel marked it as to-read Nov 24, Mouhamed Haouam marked it as to-read Mar 17, Ruby Maya marked it as to-read May 16, Pauline McGonagle marked it as to-read Jul 16, Jeeja added it Apr 14, Alison Collins marked it as to-read Jun 01, Deepak Sharma marked it as to-read Aug 16, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

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This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. The importance of Ethiopia to the development of Rastafarian culture and Pan-African ideals is well known. Liberia surfaced as a known entity within African American communities during this period as a result of earlier migrations through the American Colonization Society.


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Yorubaland, as explained by J. Lorand Matory was an important icon in Afro-Brazilian ideas about African homelands and sustained connections. See J. CrossRef Google Scholar. Google Scholar. Randall B. See Michael A. Michael A.