Diasporic Communication, Vol. 9 - 2002, No. 1
This article follows the process of development of academic debate and interest on the concept of diaspora and attempts to situate it within current analyses of postmodernity and globalisation as well as within developments in cultural studies and social anthropology. Drawing upon the theoretical and conceptual conceptualisations of diasporas within these fields, the article is suggesting that diasporic cultural practices constitute ways of "imagination," of "institution" of "spaces" that often extend beyond the boundaries of place, of articulation of "imagined" and "encountered" community and of senses of belonging that straddle the "local versus global" and divide and, in the process, redefine locality and "the global." Crucial in such processes is the development of the "diasporic media spaces" that are increasingly in evidence in transnational and local settings. The article suggests that such spaces of negotiation and exchange are increasingly becoming sites where conflicting claims of belonging as well as common frameworks of identity and solidarity coexist and become articulated.
Vilayati Bollywood: Popular Hindi Cinema-Going and Diasporic South Asian Identity in Birmingham (UK)
Drawing on theoretical developments in the studies of Black British diasporas, combining textual analysis with extended qualitative interviews, and focusing on the citizenry of British South Asians in Birmingham, this paper offers an account of the history of the emergence, fall, and rise again of Bollywod cinema-going in the city as a cultural and leisure activity. This article argues that the localised space of the Asian cinema in which Bollywood films are viewed and made sense of are useful to an understanding of the films' importance as texts and as an engagement with diasporic British South Asian social identities and geographies. As shall be demonstrated in the paper, Bollywood cinema-going in Birmingham, as in other parts of Britain, embodies notions of diasporic belonging and a remaking of post-war urban British landscapes that sustain and develop Black British public spheres.
The article promotes the growing body of research concerned with the impact of television watching and the uses of other media on the cultural orientation and loyalty of migrant groups. Since diasporas are by definition re-imagined communities, their survival depends on their ability to provide a space for conflicting claims of belonging and their willingness to reconcile those differences, and the media provide that kind of multiple narratives and discourses. The article examines radio as that part of diasporic media that for most minority groups in Europe is the most accessible. Specifically, it is focused on Radio MultiKulti, a public service station targeting Germans and all ethnic minorities in Berlin, and BeurFM, a private station targeting only North Africans in Paris and some other French cities. The author sees in their programming an opportunity not only for cultural survival, but also for cultural renewal and, in German case, for promoting understanding between different immigrant groups and the German majority population.
This article critically examines existing theory on the uses of new technologies by minority communities to make connections, transforming identities and challenging traditional notions of community. As with the debate about new technologies in general, a utopian and dystopian position has prevailed. Has the development of new technologies, as the optimists predict, opened up access and liberated minority groups from established structural constraints? Has the Internet been a tool for mobilisation both socially and politically? Or as theorists such as Robins and Webster (1999) argue does the development and use of new technologies reinforce and maintain traditional hierarchies both within and without minority communities. What are the consequences of global and technological processes on already excluded groups? After examining these theories, the article applies them to Muslim communities in Britain by situating them within the worldwide community of Muslims (the Umma). Suggesting that there has been perhaps too much emphasis on theorising about the potential of new technologies with few empirical studies to support arguments that new technology provides for greater connectivity between dispersed groups, the article argues that an empirical approach will reveal how far minority communities are able to access new technologies for these purposes or whether these are limited to a privileged educated elite. Such questions are important for identifying the barriers to access and suggesting ways of enabling and empowering people in a new media environment.
Based on an empirical inquiry, this article seeks to assess the role of television in the process of national identity-formation in Taiwan. It situates both the formation and transformation of national identity in the contingent particularities of post-WWII Taiwan, where a powerful regime in exile met an indigenous majority population that gave rise to what I refer to as "the double-homeland complex." This article sets out to explore not only whether but how the inhabitants of Taiwan have appropriated the quintessentially modern sense of nationhood and to identify the role that television has played in shaping and mediating that appropriation. This thesis first examines how multiple identities, especially Chinese and Taiwanese identities, have been articulated and represented by the media since 1971; and, secondly, how different ethnic groups in Taiwan have engaged in different ways to accommodate the variety of identities against the backdrop of a changing media environment. It is Taiwan's uniqueness, in terms of the degrees of post-war media control and current media globalisation, that makes it a fascinating case study of the interplay between the local, the national and the global in the formation of national identity. In this article, the idea of "hybridity" receives close attention as a basis for evaluating the role of television in national identity-formation in Taiwan.
Intra-state violent conflicts are no longer fought solely in the actual war territories: in the villages of Ambon, the jungle of Sri Lanka, or the occupied territories of Israel. Increasingly, conflicts seem to become dispersed and delocalised. Stories about American Jewish groups supporting right-wing extremism in Israel, German Croats speeding the violent collapse of Yugoslavia, and the Tamil Tigers in London, Kurds in the Netherlands, Filipinos, Khmer, and Vietnamese in California are not new to us. Within the field of Conflict Studies, however, the process of the "deterritorialisation" of conflict is left surprisingly unexplored. In this paper we will examine the political mobilisation of diaspora communities and their role in intra-state conflicts. How and why are diaspora communities involved in intra-state conflicts in their erstwhile homelands? What activities do they undertake? How are they organised? What strategies do they use? And, eventually, how do they affect contemporary conflicts? By examining these issues we aim to understand more about the dialectics between locality and conflict, the production of (long-distance) nationalism, and the relationship between virtual and spatial communities.