MOROCCAN DIASPORA IN FRANCE: COMMUNITY BUILDING ON YABILADI PORTAL
AbstractOver the last decade, social networking sites emerge as an ideal tool of communication that facilitate interaction among people online. At the same time, in a world which is characterized by massive waves of migration, globalization results in the construction of the diaspora who seek through new ways to build communities. Within this framework, while traditional media have empowered diaspora members to maintain ties and bonds with their homeland and fellow members, the emergence of social media have offered new opportunities for diasporas to get involved in diasporic identity and community construction. The creation of several diasporic groups on social media like Yabiladi.com and WAFIN.be, respectively in France and Belguim, emphasize the vital role they play in everyday lives of the diaspora. To study the importance and implications of these online communities for diaspora members and investigate their online practices, this article carries out a virtual ethnography of the Moroccan community on Yabiladi portal in France. By means of the qualitative approach of interviews, this article aims at justifying whether the online groups of diasporic diasporic Moroccans in France can be defined as communities, and whether social networking sites can be considered as an alternative landscape for the diaspora to create links with other diasporic members. This article, through users’ experience, provides deep understanding of Yabiladi members’ beliefs about the ‘‘community’’ and their online daily practices which enable them to ‘‘imagine’’ it as a community.
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