Visualization Methods for Exploring Transborder Indigenous Populations: The Case of Berber Webosphere

Visualization Methods for Exploring Transborder Indigenous Populations: The Case of Berber Webosphere

Abdelaziz Blilid (Charles de Gaulle University – Lille III, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4990-1.ch010

Abstract

This chapter highlights the importance of information visualization using web mapping to shed light on the correlation between social actors. It shows how this method helps to understand if Berber identity beyond frontiers is a reality or just a motto in support of “cultural activism.” The suggested web mapping presents the hyperlinks weaved between websites whose focus is Berber cultural identity. Berbers are the indigenous people of North Africa. They are scattered in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya; they have built a “resistance identity,” including both cultural and political claims, long before the digital age. Since the 1960s they have been struggling for recognition against the state's cultural and political domination in which they live. The analysis of Berbers' relationships amongst each other on the internet is valuable for understanding the main features and issues of this digital connection, its shape, its contents, and actor typology.
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Introduction

The Amazighs1 (or the Berbers) are the indigenous populations of North Africa. In the past, the Amazighs occupied a large territory extending from the Nile valley, in Egypt, to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Mediterranean to the south of the Niger. These people are today unequally distributed in countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and the Tuareg in the south. The Amazighs share similar languages and customs. They are, separated from each other, according to the state's political frontiers that don’t match the Amazigh nation according to them.

The Amazighs began using the Internet in the 1990s in order to attain a visible presence, after many years of activism in associations.

The author uses visualization techniques to identify how Amazigh people shape their digital presence on the Web and represent themselves as a unique and unified identity, despite their geographic fragmentation which generated variations of their language and culture. This chapter will show how Amazighs interact on the Internet to remain united despite their linguistic and cultural diversity. Similarly, the author will analyze how this people uses the Internet to protect their oppressed culture. First, the author will present the methodology used and data collection. Then he will expose our results about the Berber webosphere. Finally, he will analyse these results related to the issues of Amazigh activism.

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