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Constructing a Nation Online:Tamil Nationalism and the Internet
R Tekwani - Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
The role of the Internet in the construction of online national identity is a growing topic for research. The Internet offers a new context for negotiations of identity and community. In particular it offers minorities and diasporic communities a new space for communication and self-representation, enabling them to challenge physical and cultural boundaries and restrictions. This paper will look at how the Tamil separatist movement of Sri Lanka, spearheaded by the violent militancy of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE), has used the Internet and its international network of support, including dispersed members of its militant network and the globally dispersed Tamil Diaspora, to create a virtual Tamil nation online.
The paper will describe in exhaustive detail the online network of the Tamil Movement, and the virtual nation of Eelam that expatriate Tamils have constructed. The paper will then examine how the Tamil militants and their diasporic supporters have used the new media and communication technologies to build a Tamil nation and a Tamil national identity on the World Wide Web.
In doing so the paper hopes to highlight the role of New Media Technologies in the negotiation of ethnic and cultural self-representation and outline new avenues for communication research that draw on diverse academic spheres from terrorism research and Diaspora studies to research into issues of nationalism and identity