Diaspora activism and citizenship: Algerian community responses during the global pandemic

Latefa Guemar, Jessica Ayesha Northey, Elias Boukrami

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Abstract

Focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic, this article explores the Algerian diaspora’s impressive outpouring of collective solidarity in the UK and seeks to discover why and how a migrant community previously known for collective mistrust developed such forms of activism. It draws on concepts of diaspora philanthropy, activism and citizenship to understand, firstly, how diasporas might be enabled or hindered, in supporting their communities and then the wider impacts of their crisis responses on processes of social change. Drawing on participant observation, interviews and social media from charitable organisations and leading influencers from the Algerian community in the UK, it explores a wide range of remarkable initiatives to support vulnerable communities, predominantly in London during the pandemic. Motivations and facilitating factors of this solidarity included emerging trust in local elites and leaders, Islamic faith, effective engagement in online spaces and pride in a transnational Algerian identity. Seemingly apolitical towards the homeland, this activism is contributing to social transformation within this diasporic group, rebuilding fractured communities and creating new social identities, feelings of belonging and citizenship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1980-1997
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume48
Issue number9
Early online date31 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2022

Funder

British Academy under Grant YF_190115.

Keywords

  • Diaspora activism, diaspora citizenship, social transformation, COVID-19, Algerian diaspora

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