Diaspora as Digital Diplomatic Agents: ‘BOSNET’ and Wartime Foreign Affairs





transnational families, gender, care and household work, cross-border migration


This paper integrates a different perspective into the diaspora literature, by placing it within the frame of digital diasporas and war time engagement in actions and initiatives traditionally considered as diplomatic. We reconstruct how digital diaspora diplomacy developed during a time when the Internet was relatively new and diplomatic tools were limited due to an ongoing conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We examine BOSNET, an online epistemic community of Bosnian diaspora IT pioneers, with a shared set of normative and principled set of beliefs about the independence of their homeland, and collected, shared and spread information about what was going on in their country. We label their work as ‘policy innovation’ engagement and performativity as 'informal' behaviour, as it was unscripted, uncoded and unregulated by any written conventions or state strategies.


Adamson, F., & Demetriou, M. (2007). "Remapping the Boundaries of 'State' and 'National Identity': Incorporating Diasporas into IR Theorizing," European Journal of International Relations, 13(4), 489-526.


Al-Ali N., Black R. and Koser K. (2001). "Refugees and transnationalism: The experience of Bosnians and Eritreans in Europe." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 27(4), pp. 615- 634.


Andersson, K. B. (2019). "Digital diasporas: An overview of the research areas of migration and new media through a narrative literature review." Human Technology, 15(2), 142-180.


Bernal, V. (2006). "Diaspora, cyberspace and political imagination: The Eritrean diaspora online." Global Networks, 6(2), 161-179.


Baser, B. (2017). "Intricacies of Engaging Diasporas in Conflict Resolution and Transitional Justice: The Kurdish Diaspora and the Peace Process in Turkey." Civil Wars, 19(4), 470-494.


Baser, B., Akgönül, S., & Öztürk, A. E. (2017). ""Academics for Peace" in Turkey: A case of criminalising dissent and critical thought via counterterrorism policy." Critical Studies on Terrorism, 10(2), 274-296.


Bernal, V. (2006). "Diaspora, cyberspace and political imagination: The Eritrean diaspora online." Global Networks, 6(2), 161-179.


Bjola, C., & Holmes, M. (2015). Digital diplomacy: Theory and practice. Routledge.


Brinkerhoff, J. M. (2008). Exploring the role of diasporas in rebuilding governance in post-conflict societies. In Africa's Finances: The Contribution of Remittances (Vol. 239, No. 262, pp. 239-262). Cambridge Scholars Publishing in association with GSE Research.


Brinkerhoff, J. M. (2009). Digital diasporas: Identity and transnational engagement. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.


Brinkerhoff, J. M. (2006). "Digital diasporas and conflict prevention: The case of Somalinet.com." Review of International Studies, 32(01), 25.


Christensen, M. (2012). "Online mediations in transnational spaces: Cosmopolitan (re)formations of belonging and identity in the Turkish diaspora." Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(5), 888-905.


Couldry, N. (2012). Media, society, world: Social theory and digital media practice. Cambridge ; Malden, MA: Polity.

Demmers, J. (2007). "New Wars and Diasporas: Suggestions for Research and Policy." Peace, Conflict and Development: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 11, 1-26.

Gamlen, A. (2014). "Diaspora Institutions and Diaspora Governance." International Migration Review, 48, 180-217.


Gamlen, A., Cummings, M. E., & Vaaler, P. M. (2019). "Explaining the rise of diaspora institutions." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45(4), 492-516.


Haas, P. M. (1992). "Introduction: Epistemic communities and international policy coordination." International Organization, 46(1), 1-35.


Halilovich, H. (2013). "Bosnian Austrians: Accidental migrants in trans-local and cyber spaces." Journal of Refugee Studies, 26(4), 521-540.


Halilovich, H., Hasić, J., Karabegović, D., Karamehić-Muratović, A., & Oruč, N. (2018). Mapping The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Diaspora (BiH migrants in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America): Utilizing the Socio-Economic Potential of the Diaspora for Development of BiH. Sarajevo, BiH: International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Hall, J. (2013). Migration and perceptions of war: Simultaneous surveys in countries of origin and settlement. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet.

Hasić, J. (2016). Involvement of Diasporas in Peacebuilding Processes: A Comparative Analysis of Local Elite Perceptions of Bosnian Diaspora's Incorporation in Ownership Frameworks (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), LUISS Guido Carli and Universite libre de Bruxelles.

Hasić, J. (2018). "Post-conflict Cooperation in Multi-ethnic Local Communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Diaspora's Role." Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, 13(2), 31-46.


Hasić, J., & Karabegović, D. (2019). Structure, Frameworks, Processes, Institutions, and Actors of BiH Foreign Policy Since Independence, in J. Hasić & D. Karabegović (Eds.), Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Policy Since Independence. London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Hockenos, P. (2003). Homeland calling: Exile patriotism and the Balkan wars. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.

Hoogenboom, D., & Quinn, J. (2011). Transitional Justice and the Diaspora: Examining the Impact of the Haitian Diaspora on the Haitian Truth Commission. International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention. Presented at the Montreal, Canada. Montreal, Canada.

Jansen, F. (2010). Digital activism in the Middle East: mapping issue networks in Egypt, Iran, Syria and Tunisia. Knowledge Management for Development Journal, 6(1), 37-52.


Karabegović, D. (2018). "Aiming for transitional justice? Diaspora mobilisation for youth and education in Bosnia and Herzegovina." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44(8), 1374-1389.


Karabegović, D., & Hasić, J. (2019). 'Protection and Promotion of BiH's Citizens' Interests Abroad': Foreign Policy Relations with Diaspora. in J. Hasić & D. Karabegović (Eds.), Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Policy since Independence (pp. 209-231). London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Kent G. (2006): Organised diaspora networks and homeland peacebuilding: the Bosnian world diaspora network as a potential development actor. Conflict, Security & Development, Volume 6, Issue 3(10), pp 449 - 469.


Khamis, S., Gold, P. B., & Vaughn, K. (2012). "Beyond Egypt's "Facebook revolution" and Syria's "YouTube uprising": Comparing political contexts, actors and communication strategies." Arab Media & Society, 15(spring), 1-30.

Koinova, M. (2011). "Can conflict-generated diasporas be moderate actors during episodes of contested sovereignty? Lebanese and Albanian diasporas compared." Review of International Studies, 37(01), 437-462.


Koinova, M., & Karabegović, D. (2017). "Diasporas and transitional justice: Transnational activism from local to global levels of engagement." Global Networks, 17(2), 212-233.


Koinova, M., & Tsourapas, G. (2018). "How do countries of origin engage migrants and diasporas? Multiple actors and comparative perspectives." International Political Science Review, 39(3), 311-321.


Kumar, P. (2018). "Rerouting the Narrative: Mapping the Online Identity Politics of the Tamil and Palestinian Diaspora." Social Media + Society, 4(1).


Lyons, T., & Mandaville, P. G. (Eds.). (2012). Politics from afar: Transnational diasporas and networks. London: Hurst.

Mencutek, Z. S., & Baser, B. (2018). "Mobilizing Diasporas: Insights from Turkey's Attempts to Reach Turkish Citizens Abroad." Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 20(1), 86-105.


Mergel, I. (2013). "Social media adoption and resulting tactics in the U.S. federal government." Government Information Quarterly, 30(2), 123-130.


Meyer, D. S., & Minkoff, D. C. (2004). Conceptualizing political opportunity. Social forces, 82(4), 1457-1492.


Orjuela, C. (2008). "Distant warriors, distant peace workers? Multiple diaspora roles in Sri Lanka's violent conflict." Global Networks, 8(4), 436-452.


Robinson, P. (2005). The CNN Effect: The Myth of News, Foreign Policy and Intervention (1st ed.).


Shain, Y. (2002). "The Role of Diasporas in Conflict Perpetuation or Resolution." SAIS Review, 22(2), 115-144.


Smith, H., & Stares, P. B. (2007). Diasporas in conflict: Peace-makers or peace-wreckers? Tokyo ; New York: United Nations University Press.

Sokefeld, M. (2006). "Mobilizing in transnational space: A social movement approach to the formation of diaspora." Global Networks, 6(3), 265-284.


Sokol, A. (2019). BiH's Wartime Foreign Policy: Lobbying for Peace and Lifting the Arms Embargo. In J. Hasić & D. Karabegović (Eds.), Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Policy Since Independence, London: Palgrave Macmillan (pp. 23-43).


Stubbs, Paul. "Conflict and Co-operation in the Virtual Community: eMail and the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession." Sociological Research Online 3.3 (1998): 1-14.


Stubbs, Paul. "The ZaMir (for peace) Network: from transnational social movement to Croatian NGO?." Internet identities in Europe. ESCUS, 2004.

Tenove, C. (2019). "Networking justice: Digitally-enabled engagement in transitional justice by the Syrian diaspora." Ethnic and Racial Studies, 42(11), 1950-1969.


Van Hear, N. (2011). Diasporas, Recovery and Development in Conflict-ridden Societies. In T. Faist, M. Fauser, & P. Kivisto (Eds.), The Migration-Development Nexus (pp. 85-103).


Van Hear, N., & Cohen, R. (2017). "Diasporas and conflict: Distance, contiguity and spheres of engagement." Oxford Development Studies, 45(2), 171-184.


Weber, R. H. (2011). "Accountability in the Internet of Things." Computer Law & Security Review, 27(2), 133-138.


Westcott, N. (2008). "Digital Diplomacy: The Impact of the Internet on International Relations." OII Working Paper No. 16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1326476 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1326476

Young, L. A., & Park, R. (2009). "Engaging Diasporas in Truth Commissions: Lessons from the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission Diaspora Project." International Journal of Transitional Justice, 3(3), 341-361.





How to Cite

Hasić, J., & Karabegovic, D. (2020). Diaspora as Digital Diplomatic Agents: ‘BOSNET’ and Wartime Foreign Affairs. Migration Letters, 17(1), 103–113. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i1.832