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Social media, integration and conflict: the case of the Mediterranean diasporic communities

Head: Andrea Miconi

Year 2018

The aim of the research is to analyze how the use of social media can not only strengthen but also make more permeable communities in the context of the Mediterranean system. For this, we will refer to three groups of analysis, each selected with the parameters and methods of qualitative investigation: territorial communities, diasporic communities, mobile communities.

By territorial communities, we mean groups of people who share not only a space for socializing on the web, but also a physical proximity in the place of origin. As diasporic communities, in line with the literature of the last few decades, we consider those groups that have reconstituted themselves, as a result of the migratory processes, in contexts different from those of origin. Finally, we define mobile communities as the aggregations of people who are temporarily in a place other than their place of origin, for reasons of study or work, for example. These are three very different configurations, which cut the now classic distinction between space of flows and space of places, and which make up the social landscape of the Mediterranean system.

In particular, the research will consider:

  • in the case of territorial communities (e.g. Tunisians living in Tunisia, Palestinians in the West Bank), how much the network of online relations overlaps the physical space of experience, and within what limits the use of social networks can allow a disjunction between the two levels, widening the imaginary field of belonging rather than pushing towards the radicalisation of the original identities;
  • in the case of diasporic communities (e.g. Moroccan immigrants in Italy), how much the network links refer to the world of origin or residence, and how much social media favour integration in the country of arrival, or a 'rooting' in the most remote identities, as in the much discussed case of the so-called second generation immigrants;
  • in the case of mobile communities (e.g. Algerian children studying in France, or European children in Lebanon), how much social media serve to maintain suspended links with people in the social world of origin, and how much to open up new career opportunities or experience abroad.