Almond Aguila is a doctoral student in the interdisciplinary fields of secondary education and communication and technology at the University of Alberta.
Renegotiating diasporic identity through social media
My study investigates the re-negotiation of diasporic identity through Facebook profiles and wall posts of Edmonton-based Filipinos. By combining Filipino indigenous methods and virtual ethnography, I acknowledge my unique position as a researcher who is also a Filipino migrant. Such means occupying an in-between space - as both an insider and an outsider. While my research methods may seem aligned with virtual ethnography, I consider "pakikipagkapwa" or development of trust through relationship-building as my mother method. Interviews and focus group discussions are more like casual conversations. I treat participants as equals. This is rooted in the Filipino core value of "kapwa" which views identity as a fusion of self and others. This, I investigate how participants renegotiate their cultural identity with Filipino and non-Filipino contacts. I immerse myself in their virtual (Facebook) networks and in their material community. It is through such that I hope to uncover new facets of diasporic identity emerging from social media.
keywords: diasporic identity, social media, indigenous methods, virtual ethnography, mediated communication