Belorussova S. Cyberdiaspora: An Analytical Review

Svetlana Belorussova
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0002-2069-3452


Download  |  Go to Issue #4. 2021


ABSTRACT. Diasporas play a significant role in the positioning of the “ethnic Internet”, for which virtuality replaces one of the foundations of ethnicity, i.e. territorial unity. The Internet can create a “sense of place” and give migrants and dispersed groups “a sense of unity and involvement in cultural traditions.” At the same time, virtual networks make it easier for community members not sharing the same space to gather in the physical realm. This article reviews the author’s position regarding the formation of cyberdiasporas, their experiences of functioning and interpersonal interactions. As the research results show, cyberspace as the “land of nowhere” allows “constantly rebuilding and remaking relations with the motherland.” Thanks to virtualization, “digital diasporas” have autonomy and form their own community presentation strategies. At the same time, the image of a group is also constructed from the outside, which affects the internal integrity and self-consciousness of the community.


KEYWORDS: diaspora, cyberdiaspora, virtual space, virtual ethnicity, cyberethnography


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-4(14)-235-248
УДК 004.738:39



  • Alonso A., Oiarzabal P. J. The Immigrant Worlds’ Digital Harbors: An Introduction. Diasporas in the New Media Age. Identity, Politics and Community, Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2010, pp. 1–15.
  • Bachrach E. Is Guruji Online? Internet Advice Forums and Transnational Encounters in a Vaishnav Sectarian Community. Indian Transnationalism Online: New Perspectives on Diaspora. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing limited, 2014, pp. 147–161.
  • Belorussova S. Yu. Kiberetnografiia: metodologiia i tekhnologiia [Cyberethnography: Methodology and Technology]. Ethnografia, 2021, no. 3 (13), pp. 123–145. (In Russian)
  • Bernal V. Diaspora, Cyberspace and Political Imagination: The Eritrean Diaspora Online. Global Networks, 2006, no. 6 (2), pp. 161–179.
  • Brah A. Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Brinkerhoff J. M. Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • Diamandaki K. Virtual Ethnicity and Digital Diasporas: Identity Construction in Cyberspace. Global Media Journal, 2003, no. 2, pp. 3–14.
  • Eng P. A New Kind of Cyberwar — in Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam: Bloodless Conflict. Columbia Journalism Review, 1998, no. 3 (37), p. 20.
  • Eriksen T. H. Nations in Cyberspace. 2007. URL: (accessed:30.12.2019).
  • Jones S. Understanding Community in the Information Age. CyberSociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1995, pp. 10–35.
  • Goel U. From the German Periphery — On Ethnographic Explorations of Indian Transnationalism Online. Indian Transnationalism Online: New Perspectives on Diaspora. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing limited, 2014, pp. 63–80.
  • Golovnev A. V., Belorussova S. Yu., Kisser T. S. Veb-etnografiia i kiberetnichnost’ [Web Ethnography and Cyber-Ethnicity]. Ural’skij istoricheskij vestnik, 2018, no. 1 (58), pp. 100–108. (In Russian)
  • Khokholkova N. Ye. “Afrikantsy 21 veka: reprezentatsii transkul’turnoi identichnosti v virtual’nom prostranstve [“Africans of the 21st Century”: Representations of Transcultural Identity in the Virtual Space]. Ethnografia, 2020, no. 3 (9), pp. 90–102. (In Russian)
  • Krekhovetsky L. Writing Ethnicity on the Internet: Communicative Practices of the Ukrainian Virtual Community. A Thesis in the Department of Communication Studies. Presented in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts at Concordia University. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. October, 1998.
  • Lal V. North American Hindus, the Sense of History, and the Politics of Internet Diasporism. Asian America.Net: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Cyberspace. Ed. by R. C. Lee, Sau-ling C. Wong. New York; London: Routledge, 2003, pp. 255–333.
  • Lieberman K.-A. Virtually Vietnamese: Nationalism on the Internet. Asian America.Net: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Cyberspace. Ed. by R. C. Lee, Sau-ling C. Wong. New York; London: Routledge, 2003, pp. 198–254.
  • Madianou M. “Doing Family” at a Distance: Transnational Family Practices in Polymedia Environments. The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography. New York: Routledge, 2016, pp. 102–111.
  • Mallapragada M. Virtual Homelands: Indian Immigrants and Online Cultures in the United States. Urbana, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • Mitra A. Creating Immigrant Identities in Cybernetic Space: Examples from a Non-Resident Indian Website. Media, Culture and Society, 2005, no. 27 (3), pp. 371–390.
  • Nuermaimaiti R. Identity Construction Online: The use of Facebook by the Uyghur Diaspora. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Master of International Communication Unitec Institute of Technology. New Zealand, 2014. URL: 30.12.2019).
  • Ostrovskaia E. Mediapraktiki russkoiazychnykh ortodoksal’nykh evreev: zhenskie gruppy i ravvinskie blogi v Facebook i Instagram [Media Practices of Russian-Speaking Orthodox Jews: Women’s Groups and Rabbinic Blogs on Facebook and Instagram]. Gosudarstvo, religiia, tserkov' v Rossii i za rubezhom, 2020, no. 2, vol. 38, pp. 263–292. (In Russian)
  • Poster M. Virtual Ethnicity: Tribal Identity in an Age of Global Communications. CyberSociety 2.0. Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1998, pp. 184–211.
  • Pozhidaeva M. A. Internet-tekhnologii kak sredstvo diaspornoi kommunikatsii [Internet Technologies as a Means of Diaspora Communication]. Idei i idealy, 2016, no. 1 (27), vol. 2, pp. 22–29. (In Russian)
  • Scheifinger H. Online Connections, Online Yatras: The Role of the Internet in the Creation and Maintenance of Links between Advaita Vedanta Gurus in India and their Devotees in the Diaspora. Indian Transnationalism Online: New Perspectives on Diaspora. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing limited, 2014, pp. 103–119.
  • Scop E. ‘ThirdSpace’ as Transnational Space. Indian Transnationalism Online: New Perspectives on Diaspora, Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing limited, 2014, pp. 81–101.
  • Trandafoiu R. Diaspora Online: Identity Politics and Romanian Migrants. Oxford; New York: Berghahn Books, 2013.