Whereas identities in postmodern societies are increasingly celebrated as mobile and fluid for agents from the Global North, agents from African societies face sedentarizing discourses. Recent research has shown that digital media play an ambivalent role in this process. This article explores the circulation of migration-related news on a Malian-diasporic online news portal during the month of December 2016. It argues that Southern online news and user interactions with them can mobilize African identity constructions in opposition to sedentarist hegemonic discourses in three ways: (1) the traveling of articles across space reconstructs the complexities of Malian mobilities; (2) user profiling and interactions produce non-sedentarist narratives about mobile Malians; and (3) the circulation of specific expressions and content questions fixed connections of identities and territories.
Syntia Hasenöhrl is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Vienna. Since October 2016, she has been part of an interdisciplinary DOC-team project that is funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences and affiliated with the Vienna-based research platform “Mobile Cultures and Societies.” She studied African Development Studies in Geography at the University of Bayreuth, and Human Geography / Global Studies at the University of Tubingen. Her dissertation project explores opportunities for political mobilization that emerge from the negotiation of identities and belongings in the translocal space of a Malian-diasporic online news portal. Email: email@example.com