Digital institutions: the case of ethnic websites in the Netherlands

Global Conference on Indian Diaspora Studies -5 - 7 October 2017 - ISS, The Hague

In this paper by Prof. Ruben Gowricharn and dr. Jaswina Elahi argue that ethnic websites function as digital institutions in their community and foster group identity.

“In doing so, we add to the literature on institutions in two ways: first, we contribute to the concept of institutions by adding the concept of scripts that captures specific recurrent activities and patterns of interaction. The addition of scripts as a requirement of institutions solves the fuzziness problem since they compel us to specify the behaviour and clarifies how scripts fit ethnic websites. Second, we reveal how ethnic websites unite a wide range of functions – notably, as a means of communication, as a platform on which community members can address ethnic issues, as a device through which to build networks, and as a place from which to download materials in the ethnic community – thus fostering the identity of the ethnic group. We substantiate our argument with data from three ethnic groups in the Netherlands”.

Published online in Identities, Global Studies in Culture and Power – 17 September 2018

Download the full paper here