Rethinking the role of digital diasporas in North Africa societies. The Western Sahara case after Gdeim Izik protest

The question of the widespread use of Internet and information and communication technologies (ICT) constitutes a new dimension in the study of political activism and diasporic identities. In recent years, researchers have shown an increased interest in analyse web usage practice of diasporic groups and their influences in political issues concerned with their homelands. Since the Arab Spring was reported in 2010, new transnationals activisms has been attracting a lot of interest in order to explore the potential role of the Internet in new forms of struggles. Considering these evidences, and focus on the Gdeim Izik protest held in 2010 in the Moroccan-occupied areas of the Western Sahara, this proposal attempts to examine the role of the Internet as a new tool to reinforce transnational identities. By employing qualitative modes of enquiry based on visual ethnography and in-depth interviews, I analyse one of the YouTube activism channels of Sahrawi people in the Western Sahara and the impact of these videos in the Sahrawi diaspora, located in the refugee camps (Algeria) and Spain. I argue that these videos, based on direct violence and charged of emotions, strengthen the Sahrawi identity and their hope for the solution of the conflict.


Silvia Almenara Niebla . Universidad de La Laguna .

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