Territorial bounds to virtual space: transnational online and offline networks of Iranian and Turkish–Kurdish immigrants in the Netherlands

Authors

  • MATTHIJS VAN DEN BOS,

    1. Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237, 1012 DL Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • LIZA NELL

    1. Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237, 1012 DL Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Abstract In this article we question a central trope of transnationalism and new media – deterritorialization – and its application to border crossing Internet usage by Iranian and Turkish-Kurdish migrants in the Netherlands. Their Internet usage indicates the extent to which territoriality channels these groups' online practice. We found Dutch-Iranian sites reflected correspondingly sparse offline community networks and state boundaries moulded their transnational ties, while regionally specific transnational dynamics were evident in Turkish-Kurdish website surfing. These cases indicate that transnationalism and new media need not broaden or dissolve geographical identity or connectivity, but may reinforce it. Finally, we address the relations of territoriality with generation (first and second) and network medium (web forums versus conventional sites). Whereas first-generation migrants' life online often reveals extensions of offline networks, the online practice of the second generation frequently reflects these networks in subtler ways, forming partially sovereign online communities that pivot on hyphenated identities. However, the relations of generation and network medium differ for Turkish Kurds and Iranians in the Netherlands.

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