23. February 2023

"In search of a Rohingya digital diaspora: virtual togetherness, collective identities and political mobilisation" New Article!

New Article!

By Doctoral Researcher Anas Ansar (BCDSS) and Abu Faisal Md. Khaled 


Frequently called the most persecuted minority in the world, the Rohingyas have suffered systematic violence and oppression in Myanmar since the 1970s. Today, the vast majority of the nearly three million Rohingyas are in exile, escaping state-sponsored human rights violations and persecution in the Rakhine state of Myanmar—a place they call “home”. Neighbouring Bangladesh, which currently hosts over a million displaced Rohingya, has been a ‘sanctuary’ for at least the last four decades. A sizable community has also emerged successively in other South-East Asian countries and pockets of Australia, Europe and North America. In this context, bringing together issues at the crossroads of (im)mobilities, online connectivity and the quest for identity, this study examines the role of social media platforms in forming and shaping new types of diaspora activism among the exiled Rohingyas. Drawing on yearlong online ethnographic findings, it unpacks how digital platforms constitute a space for togetherness, where diasporic Rohingya identities are constructed, contested and mediated. Analysing recurring themes and patterns of engagement on these web-based platforms, the paper looks at how diasporic civic and political e-activisms are transforming the very contours of Rohingya identity formation and their pursuit of recognition. Finally, focusing on such a creative constellation of socio-cultural and political issues in virtual space, we demonstrate how Rohingyas practice a politics of resistance and recognition when confronting the policy pretensions of Myanmar’s government.

Find the whole Article here

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