Virtual diasporas and the dilemma of multiple belongings in cyberspace
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In this paper, I outline the dilemma that confronts those who participate in multiple belongings in cyberspace via virtual diasporas. I suggest that it springs from a mismatch between how diasporic belonging is understood and how it is practised online as well as the consequences that follow on from virtual enactments of diaspora. By extending Lefebvre’s notion of the lived and utilising an understanding of online participation as deeply individuated, I argue that the nation is embodied in each instance through the social constitution of the abstract notions by which it is conceived and the practices by which it is perceived. As such, although the nation is conceived and constructed in imagination, being part of a nation is an excluding, bounded affair that does not easily permit more than one process. And while the Internet might allow its users to experience multiple belongings, they are of the impoverished, malnourished kind. In diasporic virtual communities, the restless and singular technology of the Internet has been utilised to promote and extend the paradox of multiple belongings based on exclusionary, essential ties. This, I contend, is the dilemma that virtual diasporas pose for national belonging.
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