May 21, 2012

FocusOnTheHorn

By Alpha Abebe 

It should come as no surprise that diasporas and the internet are such good bedfellows. They are both in the business of obscuring national boundaries and building long distance relationships. Independently, they often coalesce into deterritorialized communities, facilitate collaboration, and become sites of fierce contestation. Brought together, they work in much the same way. Scholars and commentators caught on to this long ago, and have been examining the social, political and economic impacts of diasporas online. Debating Eritrean independence, the 2005 Ethiopian election, Oromo nationalism, Harari identity politics, the London conference on Somalia – many of the processes that have shaped these constructs, events and movements happened online in virtual spaces created by the diaspora. The extent to which this has facilitated the circulation of progressive or regressive discourse and action is up for debate in each case. However, what has become clear is that the internet…

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