The (re)imagined Mosul: Online appropriations of a negotiated particular identity within the greater Iraqi context

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Abstract:

This article examines the appropriations of online media space(s) by Iraqis, in particular Iraqis that descend from the city of Mosul. It looks at one forum in particular, and how the participants negotiate their national and local identity and relationship to the homeland, specifically after the 2003 war on Iraq. The article looks at how the said forum is used to construct a re(imagined) Mosul, through elements of nostalgia to the past, and an idealization process of the homeland in a way that does not, in reality, exist in the present. The article sheds light also on arguments on the particularistic assertions of identity within the greater Iraqi context, and how they challenge a dominant Iraqi national discourse that borders Mosul from the south, and a Kurdish cultural and political power that challenges it from the north.

The article includes arguments of a fragmegrated identity that the forum invites its participants to have: accepting the national Iraqi identity, but also clinging into the particularity of the Maslawi identity that differentiates them from the rest of the population.

This article builds arguments on what characterizes the Iraqi online communities by looking at Anderson’s imagined community, Brah’s diasporic borders, Hall’s cultural identity , Sreberny’s diasporic gaze and Rosenau’s theory of fragmegration. The research also sheds light the lack of literature on Iraqi diaspora, both external and internal, and argues for the need for empirical research on the effects of the Iraqi dispersal on the formation of the Iraqi national identity.

Keywords: Iraq; Iraqi diaspora; Mosul; fragmegration; identity; new media; online; particularistic

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijcis.6.3.341_1

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.
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