Ethnopolitics in Cyberspace: The Internet, Minority Nationalism, and the Web of Identity

Overview

Defying predictions that the Internet would eventually create a world where nations disappeared in favor of a unified 'global village,' the new millennium has instead seen a proliferation of nationalism on the Web. Cyberspace, a vast digital terrain built upon interwoven congeries of data and sustained through countless public/private communication networks, has even begun to alter the very fabric of national identity. This is particularly true among stateless nations, diasporic groups, and national minorities, ...

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Ethnopolitics in Cyberspace: The Internet, Minority Nationalism, and the Web of Identity

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Overview

Defying predictions that the Internet would eventually create a world where nations disappeared in favor of a unified 'global village,' the new millennium has instead seen a proliferation of nationalism on the Web. Cyberspace, a vast digital terrain built upon interwoven congeries of data and sustained through countless public/private communication networks, has even begun to alter the very fabric of national identity. This is particularly true among stateless nations, diasporic groups, and national minorities, which have fashioned the Internet into a shield again the assimilating efforts of their countries of residence. As a deterritorialized medium that allows both selective consumption and inexpensive production of news and information, the Internet has endowed a new generation of technology-savvy elites with a level of influence that would have been impossible to obtain a decade ago. Challenged nations-from Assyrians to Zapotecs-have used the Web to rewrite history, engage in political activism, and reinvigorate moribund languages. This book explores the role of the Internet in shaping ethnopolitics and sustaining national identity among four different national groups: Albanians outside of Albania, Russians in the 'near abroad,' Roma (Gypsies), and European Muslims. Accompanying these case studies are briefer discussions of dozens of other online national movements, as well as the ramifications of Internet nationalism for offline domestic and global politics. The author discusses how the Internet provides new tools for maintaining national identity and improves older techniques of nationalist resistance for minorities. Bringing together research and methodologies from a range of fields, Saunders fills a gap in the social science literature on the Internet's central role in influencing nationalism in the twenty-first century. By creating new spaces for political discourse, alternative avenues for cultural production, and novel means of social organization, the Web is remaking what it means to be part of nation. This insightful study provides a glimpse of this exciting and sometimes disturbing new landscape.

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Editorial Reviews

Karim H.Karim
Intriguing, topical, balanced, and well-supported by empirical information, Ethnopolitics in Cyberspace will likely become an important book on the contemporary evolution of nationalism.
Wolf Schäfer
Clear and comprehensive, essential reading for students and scholars alike, an authoritative analysis of nationalism and nationality in the era of the Internet, Ethnopolitics in Cyberspace fills a critical gap in our hitherto anecdotal understanding of the use of the Web by cyber-elites and peoples without countries. Too sophisticated a scholar to merely celebrate the new ecumene of cyberspace, Saunders shows that the Internet is not neutral but a double-edged sword. He analyzes how subaltern nations, national minorities, immigrant diasporas, and other groups without real-world territories are able to bridge borders, oceans, and time electronically to pursue their identity projects.
Alexander J. Motyl
Drawing on a variety of disciplines in innovative and exciting ways, Robert A. Saunders has produced a delightfully written and provocatively argued book that will challenge many views of how national identity is produced and reproduced in today's world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739141946
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert A. Saunders is assistant professor in the Department of History, Economics, and Politics at the Farmingdale State College, SUNY.

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Table of Contents

1 Acknowledgements 2 Introduction: Turning the Tables on Procrustes Part 3 Part I: The Color and Shape of a Cyberspatial World Chapter 4 Chapter 1: From Bibles to Bollywood: Mass Media, Identity, and the State Chapter 5 Chapter 2: Media Unbound: The Internet, Cyberspace, and Nationalism on the Web Chapter 6 Chapter 3: New World (Dis)Orders: National Identity and Ethnic Poli-tics in the Global Era Part 7 Part II: Homo-Cybericus-Genus & Species Chapter 8 Chapter 4: Electronic Irredentists: Albanians Seeking Unity in Digital Space and Virtual Places Chapter 9 Chapter 5: Post-Imperial Digerati: Near Abroad Russians Transcending Local Barriers via Global Technologies Chapter 10 Chapter 6: Cybernetic Vanguard: The Roma's Use of the Web to Protect a Minority under Siege Chapter 11 Chapter 7: Virtual Prophets: Ummahists and the Construction of a New Imagined Community 12 Afterword: Towards a Cybernational Future? 13 Bibliography 14 About the Author

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