LE MONDE (France), E-DIASPORA.FR
PARIS - A group of researchers has created the first comprehensive world map of immigrant diasporas, Le Monde reports. Called the "e-Diaspora Atlas" and published by the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris, the website classifies and analyzes the online presence of 28 diasporas:
"A migrant site is a website created or managed by migrants and/or that deals with them (at any rate, a site for which migration or diasporas is a defining theme). This can be a personal site or blog, the site of an association, a portal/forum, an institutional site, or anything similar," explains e-diaspora.fr.
The project, initiated in 2003, brought together 80 researchers from around the world who studied over 8,000 websites linked to diasporas. They found that the online geography of these communities did not always correspond to their actual physical location. One of the most popular websites for the Palestinian diaspora, for instance, is a website called The Electronic Intifada that was created by American citizens of Palestinian origin and hosted in the United States.
Results also indicate that each diaspora maintains different relations with its home country. The French e-diaspora is heavily structured around institutional websites, a reflection of France's strong and protective state; whereas the Moroccan and Mexican e-diasporas have almost no links to their home institutions.
The atlas is still a work in progress, with new e-diasporas emerging as immigrant communities find a voice online, as is the case for the Chinese Uyghur community, and with other online diasporas still unexplored - in sub-Saharan Africa for instance. A free iPhone app is available for the public to discover the researchers' work.