Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
In this study, we examine the transnational networks of the Somali diaspora online. We explore the claims that the web signifies a shift towards a de-territorialized, transnational diaspora, which constructs its identity and engagement around a transnational imagined community. Based on a network and web content analysis, we assert that the claims about the transnational as the territorial locus of identity and engagement should be revisited. The analysis shows that the Somali diaspora's engagement has a specific multi-territorial topology through which information and resources are exchanged and a hybrid identity is constructed. Somalis' online engagement, however, is mainly directed towards community-based practices and social integration in their host-land, as opposed to transnational advocacy for the homeland. We argue that web data show a particular territorial arrangement and engagement, which we conceptualize as transglocalization, meaning local, networked formations existing alongside the national and transnational, each operating with awareness of the other yet acting separately. The study demonstrates that online network analysis offers promising approaches to diasporic social integration, policy-making and issue advocacy.