Thursday, December 6, 2012

The "e-Diasporas Atlas"

The "e-Diasporas Atlas",

The next issue of "Social Science Information"  will be devoted to "Diasporas on the Web". The journal will publish a collection of articles presenting the main results of the "e-Diasporas Atlas"  research project, developed within the ICT Migrations program (Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme and Telecom ParisTech, Paris).

On this occasion, an event will be held at the British Academy in London, involving contributors as well as invited speakers, from 6 to 8 p.m on Thursday 13th December 2012. A cocktail reception will follow at 8 p.m. Researchers working on migrations and/or web studies and digital humanities will be welcome.

An overview of the e-Diasporas Atlas project will be given by its director, Dana Diminescu, and her research team. The Atlas is the first of its kind, introducing digital methods into diaspora and migration studies. Over 80 people worldwide were involved, including computer scientists and social science researchers from disciplines such as sociology, geography, anthropology, history. Some 8,000 websites were mapped, analysed and archived. Three articles included in this special issue of *Social Science Information* will be presented by their authors, on topics ranging from cyber-Hindutva to transnational Tamil networks and networks of French colonial repatriates.

A discussion will then be chaired by Myria Georgiou (Dept. of Media and Communications, LSE). We are happy to announce the participation of Robin Cohen (author of Global Diasporas and former Director of the International Migration Institute, University of Oxford) and Noortje Marres (Senior lecturer in Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London), who will provide their invaluable expertise on these topics.

Some of the main questions raised by the research will be addressed. What kinds of diasporas are formed by connected migrants? Do the online networks woven by migrants scattered throughout the world, and the traces they leave on the Web, reveal traditional or novel functions of diasporas? Do these 'e-diasporas' merely mirror physical diasporas, are they an extension to these diasporas, or do they generate new forms of communities? From a more general perspective, can they be considered as an echo-chamber of globalization - of a society which is itself a diaspora in the making? And how do digital methods help us to adopt a more reflexive stance on this phenomenon?
Diasporas on the Web
Date: Thursday 13th
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Place: British Academy, Reading Room, 10
Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

The "e-Diasporas Atlas",
includes (among others) the following working papers:

- Houda Asal, Community sector dynamics and the Lebanese diaspora: internal fragmentation and transnationalism on the web.
- Kristina Balalovska, Discovering Macedonian diaspora. A Web cartography of actors, interactions and influences.
- Anat Ben-David, The Palestinian Diaspora on The Web: Between De-Territorialization and Re-Territorialization.
- Tristan Bruslé, Nepalese diasporic websites, signs and conditions of a diaspora in the making?
- Anouck Carsignol, South Asianism : Militantisme politique et identitaire en ligne.
- Sylvie Gangloff, Les migrants originaires de Turquie : Des communautés politiquement et religieusement dispersées.
- Teresa Graziano, The Tunisian diaspora: Between digital riots and Web activism.
- David Knaute, Discovering the Zoroastrian e-diaspora.
- Priya Kumar, Transnational Tamil Networks: Mapping Engagement Opportunities on the Web.
- Priya Kumar, Sikh Narratives: An Analysis of Virtual Diaspora Networks.
- Priya Kumar, Palestinian Virtual Networks: Mapping Contemporary Linkages.
- Eric Leclerc, Cyberspace of the Indian diaspora.
- Emmanuel Ma Mung Kuang, Enquête exploratoire sur le web des Chinois doutremer. Morphologie du web et production de la diaspora ?
- Sabrina Marchandise, Investir le web social des étudiants marocains en mobilité internationale. Une méthode imposée par le terrain.
- Francesco Mazzucchelli, What remains of Yugoslavia? From the geopolitical space of Yugoslavia to the virtual space of the Web Yugosphere.
- Oksana Morgunova, National Living On-Line? Some aspects of the Russophone e-diaspora map.
- Mayhoua Moua, Figures médiatisées dune population en situation de dispersion : Les Hmong au travers du Web.
- Marie Percot & Philippe Venier, Les migrant indiens du Kérala à travers le Web.
- Dilnur Reyhan, Uyghur diaspora and Internet.
- Marta Severo & Eleonora Zuolo, Egyptian e-diaspora: migrant websites without a network?
- Ingrid Therwath, Cyber-Hindutva: Hindu Nationalism, the diaspora and the web.
- Aurélie Varrel, Explorer le web immobilier des migrants indiens.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Difference + Integration

This is a very interesting academic website on nomadism by the universities of Leipzig and Halle-Wittenberg that was just introduced to me by Elnaz today. I'm still discovering it myself, but it's full of interesting resources on all sorts of nomadism, old and new.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Reading the following book at the moment:
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
It was written in Russian in 1921 but was not allowed to be published in Russia so it came out first in English in 1924 in New York.
It is a dystopian science fiction that had a strong influence on Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.
It interestingly shows the over-sedentarised future of a single state that clearly marks it territory against the countryside. It aims for perfect mechanisation and rationalising human behaviour using Taylorian industrial concepts.
Freedom is seen as the source of unhappiness so in a logical progression from nomadism to civilisation, they have given up all freedom and choice to embrace full happiness in an ordered nation-state. I'm finding this short novel even more inspiring than 1984 that I just read two months ago.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Haves and Have Nots

Watch the video of this interesting LSE lecture here:
Date: Tuesday 8 February 2011
Venue:  Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Branko Milanovic
Chair: Professor Danny Quah

Inequality is a surprisingly slippery issue, involving not just straightforward comparisons of individuals, but also comparisons of price and consumption differences around the world – and over time. In this lecture Branko Milanovic, the lead economist at the World Bank's research division, will approach the issue in a new and innovative way, focusing on inequality in income and wealth in different time periods and contexts: from inequality in Roman times (and how it compared with inequality today), to depictions of wealth inequality in literature (Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina), to inequality across generations of a single family (the three generations of Obamas illustrating this theme). As for global inequality today, the talk will examine its main cause (differences in average incomes between countries), the role China and India might play, and, perhaps most importantly, whether global inequality matters at all, and if does, what can we do to reduce it.
Branko Milanovic is one of the world's leading experts on inequality. He is lead economist at the World Bank's research division in Washington DC, a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and the author of The Haves and Have Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Discussion topic 1: Eastern/Western relationships

Babak asked a valid question tonight:

Why is it that we see more successful relationships between Iranian women and foreign men (later clarified as Western) rather than the ones between Iranian men and Western women?

Every one in the kitchen (even including the most skeptic and PC of us mentioned below) agreed that according to their experience, this statement was statistically true. What was not easy to agree upon was the reason for it happening.

Babak was the first to offer his own explanation for it. My best try at summarising his theory was that because the women in the West have already gained some rights and powers over men, they are not ready to give up these advances and adapt to the perceived cultural differences with Eastern men, whereas a Western man would happily accept the exotic cultural input from his Eastern female partner, without feeling threatened in a power game. (I have to ask Babak to correct this and also allow me to use his name, otherwise I would change it to a nickname. I'm still a bit torn between a journalistic approach to sources or academic referencing here).

Shadi was first to question the many generalisations occurring in the above question and answer as they were posed by Babak, but with the intervention of many of us she agreed that at least the question can be asked based on our collective experiences, but still she found the offered answer un-PC (I have to ask her for more explanation too).

My attempt was to approach it from an evolutionary/cultural angel, suggesting that maybe it is because it is part of human nature (or at least an human cultural tradition predating and overarching Eastern and Western cultures) that the woman would join the social circle or tribe of the husband, and would possibly  have to be more adaptive in putting up with the new environment and people. This may be why we used to see more western women marrying Iranian men (in comparison to now, I strongly guesstimate) in the past generation when the chance of living in Iran was much more.

Another simple and maybe simplistic explanation that I think we all avoided talking about (but I suspect we have all come to think about at one moment or another) can be that excruciating feeling of being defeated by a stronger civilisation when your women being taken not directly as bounties of conquest but by will and necessity, or to put it more academically through the same push and pull forces that have produced such waves of diasporic migration and transnational mobility of Iranians. and who can underestimate the practicality of such bonds in allowing for social and geographical mobility, leading to personal prosperity. Maybe this is why the Iranian government has not yet yielded to the high demand of granting Iranian nationality to the kids who only have an Iranian mother. It seems like we are officially disowning the ones who are taken by the victors, but when our men impregnate a foreign womb, the children are automatically Iranian. I might have sounded that I am passionate about fighting this injustice, but I am more interested in finding out the underlying reasons for it (if it is true as we all thought tonight) before making a judgement.

What do you think about the question and the answers? I'm sure this is not specific to Iran and the West and everyone has come across such cases in the context of globalisation. What is the phenomena? What are the causes? What repercussions can it have for both sides in the long run?

Caveat: I just noticed I have only mentioned heterosexual relationships above which can be criticised for a lot or reasons, but please understand, if you take both sexes to be the same in the original question, then maybe the whole asymmetrical power issues coming from cultural sexual roles would be irrelevant.

A moment of inspiration

Late after return from a dear friend's birthday party, a moment of inspiration just happened. I though I should seize it!

Lets see, the "carnet" could also help, but tonight I decided with myself to use that for more private notes, at least if I didn't feel like or was not able to write anything on the blog; but thankfully this is not one of those moments!

The cause of inspiration will be mainly carnet-fit (for now!) but I can let the effects out here as long as my battery allows this late.

I feel like I have absorbed enough heat for a while and it's now time to emit (using the metaphor of the dark stone and fire),  but what can cause this sudden shift from the state of absorbance to incandescence? the muse effect will hopefully be explored in the carnet ;-) but of course the vibrant energy of the group of the semi-tribal gathering was also inspiring.

The other topic of discussion is so independent that I have to write it in another post with a subject title for discussion. It is an issue that was discussed in the party that had a lot of potential and was not explored or discussed sufficiently. Well it was a party after all! And if you ask me a really nice one, with lots of dearly missed friends to catch up with...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A musical message from gypsies to Mr Sarkozy:

VAMA feat. Ralflo - Sarkozy versus Gypsy

We love to live and we live to travel
Alalala like it, alalala like it
Hop! Hop! Alalalikeit

We're looking for the better way
But you decide we cannot stay
Hop! Hop! Alalalikeit

You take the right to dream, to work
Three hundred euros won't buy hope
Alalala like it, alalala like it

The fingerprint is not our soul
We're human beings first of all
Alalala like it, alalala like it
Hop! Hop!

R: Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
The gypsies, gypsies

We ask permission to love your country
Why don't you like it, why don't you like it
Hop, hop,
Why don't you like it

If all the gypsies were to steal
Tour Eiffel would disappear

Alalalikeit, alalalikeit
Hop! Hop!

The world belongs to all the people
Gypsy people is not people?
Hop! Hop!
Gypsy groove and French chanson
We all play l'accordeon
Alalala like it, alalala like it
Hop! Hop!

R: Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
The gypsies, gypsies

Ilegal! Ilegal! Ilegal!
Ilegal! Ilegal! Ilegal!
Ilegal! Ilegal! Ilegal!

La France s'imprègne d'un sale arôme
Ca blaire le pogrom le long des aérodromes
Ils brisent, rasent les palettes des romantiques
Vident nets les caravanes de leurs sérums
Culs secs, 3 shooters puis on gerbe le rhum
Expulse par tripes aéroportées c'est des roms
Ce Roméo atterrit en Roumanie
Juliette est un homme elle l'a bannit Abolit
Les frontières Comme Ebola
Elle boula sa définition
Du vrai Rome Surhomme
Consensus de leur forum
Y'a de quoi écrire des milliers de romans
On est tous des fils de tzig, de nomades, de migrants
Sarkozy lui continue d'en faire des tonnes
Alors que tous les chemins mènent aux Roms

(France smells like a bad aroma
It's like a riot along the runways
They are crushing, demolishing the vivid dreams of the romantics
Remove their serums from all caravans
Cash, 3 shooters and we throw up the rum
The Rom(a) sent away, guts by airmail
This Romeo lands in Romania
Juliet is a man, she banished him
Abolished borders as Ebola did
Definition of Roma, the real, modified
Superman, consensus, all abide
One could write thousands of novels about
We are all sons of gypsies, nomads, migrants
Sarkozy continues to do a lot
But still all roads lead to the Rom(a).)

R: Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
The gypsies, gypsies

R: Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
Hey, hey Sarkozy why don't you like the gypsies
The gypsies, gypsies, gypsies