Logging into Diaspora – Media and Online Identity Narratives among Romanians in Ireland

Gloria Macri

Abstract


This article provides an empirical account of the way members of the Romanian community in Ireland use media (and essentially the online space) as sources for their collective feelings of diasporic identification and also to negotiate and articulate these identity narratives. Diasporic identities are here understood as ongoing processes of understanding themselves and, at the same time, being defined by others. Identities are thus constructed at the intersection of the continuously flowing boundaries between ‘Us’ and Them’. It is at the boundaries that symbolic space is negotiated and identities are fiercely debated, constructed and re-constructed. Some of the existing studies (Nedelcu, 2000; Hiller and Franz, 2004) confirm that the Internet undeniably meets the basic informational and communication needs of an ethnic community, thus being an intrinsic part in the life of many diasporic communities. The study presented here aims to reach further and explore the complex meaning and the role of virtual space in the process of articulation of diasporic narratives of identity.
This ethnographic study focuses on the online discussion forum of the Romanian Community in Ireland. The forum was chosen as the preferred research context mainly because it constitutes a lively debate arena; it is the pulsating heart that keeps the
community alive. The study presents an analysis of data collected over a six-year period (2004-2010) in the forum archives.

Keywords


diaspora, identity, media, internet, ethnography, Romanian

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS522011443