Highly Skilled Algerian Women Displaced During the Black Decade: Online Networks, Transnational Belonging and Political Engagement
AbstractThe contemporary era of global transformations has re-oriented academic debates on the growth of non-nation-based solidarities and transnational cultural constructions. Despite this, social constructionists suggest that the concept of ‘diaspora’ continues to privilege the notion of ethnicity as the point of origin in the construction of solidarity between migrants, overlooking the differences of social class and gender. This research interrogates this contention by exploring the role of gender in shaping diaspora – a complex process by which migrant women articulate new identities and give new social and political meanings to their relationships with one another, with co-nationals living elsewhere and with an imagined ‘homeland’. It investigates the motivation behind the emigration of highly skilled Algerian women during the ‘Black Decade’ of the 1990s and its aftermath, and looks at the agendas of this particular set of migrants, the extent to which they feel they belong to a diaspora, and their attitude towards returning ‘home’. Their political engagement takes a variety of forms, but the research reveals that certain modes of online discourse and manifestations of a diasporic social consciousness are common to their self-presentation. In order to investigate their networks, I used Social Networking Websites Analysis (mainly Facebook) and a Respondent-Driven-Sampling (RDS) method to sample and recruit participants, coupled with 15 in-depth interviews. The majority of participants cited the amnesty law (which absolved the perpetrators of violence during the 1990s, including violence against women, of their crimes) and the rise of radical Islamist ideology as the main barriers to considering present-day Algeria as ‘home’. Participants appeared to exhibit both a sense of exile and a desire to be part of a diaspora.
Guemar, Latefa Narriman (2016) Highly Skilled Algerian Women Displaced During the Black Decade: Online Networks, Transnational Belonging and Political Engagement. PhD thesis, University of East London.