This week I read a report by Dr Myria Georgiou which introduced me to the concept of Diaspora. Diasporic groups in her words are “peoples who at some stage in their history migrated from an original homeland and settled in a European country”. Her report not only looks at diasporic groups but the impact that globalisation and changes in the way we communicate have affected the concept. Having migrated once myself to a European country I was interested to know if I myself was once part of an Australian Diasporic group.
Harry Heidelberg answered my question in his article ‘What to make of the Australian Diaspora’. He comments that “it has been mainly associated with people escaping persecution, poverty or other problems” but in today’s society we are seeing it associated with many different circumstances. My story of migration took me to Dublin, Ireland where I lived with my family for 5 years and the connection my experience has with diaspora is the groups of people we connected with while living abroad. Australian and New Zealand families were the people we connected with initially and found comfort in spending time with. Watching Home and Away, talking about the Cronulla Riots, wearing green and gold on Australia day, we made our own little aussie bubble to make home seem less far away.
So where does media come in to the modern day concept of Diaspora? It can be seen through how linked we all remained to Australian culture through the Internet and Television. Staying in contact with friends and family, staying up to date with current affairs, as Heidelberg comments, “We still root for the home team”, no matter how far away from Australia we are. Georgiou also addresses this stating that global communication networks “challenge the nation as the singular position”. Globalisation allows people anywhere in the world to migrate without having to leave their entire culture behind them.
The Irish are renowned for their Diaspora, what are your experiences with the Diaspora concept?
Georgiou, M, 2003, ‘Mapping Disporic Media across the EU: Adressing Cultural Exclusion, Key Deliverable: The European Media and Technology in Everyday Life Networks, 2000-2003, last accessed 26/05/2014, http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/EMTEL/reports/georgiou_2003_emtel.pdf
Heidelberg, H, 2003, ‘What to make of the Australian diaspora’, The Sydney Morning Herald, last accessed 26/05/2014, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/01/13/1041990218079.html