`Who do they think they are

Gloria Macri, School of Communications, Dublin City University
Title: Who do they think they are?’ – Online Narratives among Romanian Diaspora
in Ireland
Focusing on identity as a dynamic process, this paper looks at the way members of
Romanian community in Ireland narrate and perform their ethnic identities. The
concept of ‘identity’ is strongly criticised for being too ambiguous and torn between
“hard” and “soft” meanings, essentialist connotations and constructivist qualifiers
(Brubacker&Cooper,2000). Thus this paper embarks on a study of identification, as
an on-going process of understanding themselves and being defined by others, a study
of the continuously flowing boundaries between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’. In a European
context where Romanians are rather portrayed as second class citizens by the media,
an investigation into the strategies that they use in order to define themselves and
others is an interesting and equally challenging task.
For an ethnic minority community the Internet (and in particular online discussion
forums) represents a quick and mostly efficient source of information as well as a
useful tool for keeping in contact with friends and family. This paper investigates the
messages posted on the Online Forum of the Romanian Community (Ireland).
Interesting findings emerge in relation to the many aspects of the ‘Us’ vs. ‘Them’
dichotomy, as Romanians build their identification narratives in relation to being
European, or Irish, diasporic etc.