«You have raised me between two worlds»: Mothers, daughters, and emotions in the Sahrawi digital diaspora in Spain

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The theoretical development of the concept of diaspora accounts for almost any transnational population that maintains strong emotional ties based on nostalgia and memory with their territories of origin, but also affects and ties with their territories of destination. These processes are generated through intrinsically diverse experiences that are constructed in-between both social realities. The emergence of digital technologies has provided these populations with a new scenario wherein the past and present homes are connected by immediate communication, which currently reduces distances, and uprootedness. However, few investigations have analyzed the frequent communication paradoxes that occur within these communities based on not only the need to be connected but also the failure to meet family expectations. Most studies have focused on the experience of mothers and the role they play in maintaining traditions linked to their places of origin, leaving behind the experience of daughters and their mutual relationship. This article addresses this gap while exploring the challenges that these contradictions present for the Sahrawi digital diaspora in Spain. Specifically, it investigates relationships between mothers and daughters and their impact on the social media practices of the latter. Through a social media ethnography that was developed between 2016 and 2018 together with Sahrawi refugees in Spain, this research examines how aspects such as the maintenance of family honor and the need to build one’s own life plan constantly clash in relationships between mothers and daughters with respect to cultural preservation, the emergence of new forms of belonging, emotional relations, and community expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-239
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

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