Trying to come with a very synthetic and succinct statement for my dissertation. For the elevator pitch. Here is one:
I am looking at how latino/hispanic immigrant youth with mexican origin growing up in Austin, TX, use media to navigate many sociocultural worlds, contexts, spaces. How they do their identity work, negotiate their fluid identities (multiple), local belonging, and connections broader figured worlds.
IS the notion of assimilation trajectories useful for explaining their navigation of different contexts?
The borders hispanic/latino youth cross are not only the ones of nations, they keep crossing borders in their everyday life as they navigate different sociocultural worlds, contexts, and spaces.
Using and mobilizing resources capacity and support in order to navigate the different worlds, and by doing so, to also perform their identities, do identity work.
The question will be to what extent should i focus more on the process of assimilation? to what extent more in their identity work? and to what extent in the new media practices? or could i some how find a practical way to integrating them, and at the same time remain very practical and narrow in the chapters and the questions?
Another thing to do, perhaps in the intro, or in the section about the site is to narrate the geographic location of FHS and the houses of the participant families. How I got there. The amount of time invested in transportation. Usually an 1 1/2 in a bus. Or an hour in a bicycle. The landscape of isolation, of cars, of roads, of nobody walking.
The three different sites where I focus my analysis are interconnected. New media practices connect them, and the media devices travels across the different spaces many times along and in the pockets or backpacks of the latino/hispanic youth. The assimilation trajectory also links the three spaces, since they are part of a complex process of navigation and multiple identity construction.
Engagement with media is more complicated. Everyday uses reveal that they are not totally savvy although they are indeed avid users. Making meaning thorugh the use of media is one thing. Constructing identities. Navigating spaces. Relationships with others in the different spaces. Certain dispositions are reflected in media usage.
How do they navigate the worlds of their homes/families, the after-school, and online? How do this navigation contributes to their assimilation? At home, they speak only Spanish with their parents with the exception of Gabriela. However they do help their parents to translate. They are important agents in the assimilation of their families. They finish high school, speak english, can translate. However, they do not take advantage of the tools to become engaged in civics, to find more opportunities. The place where they find more opportunities is the afterschool world. In the online world and social media they do not mobilize as much resources. But they are indeed very active users of the tools.
What are their strategies to assimilate? How does new media help them in the assimilation process? does it help? why yes? why not? what are the missing opportunities? the disconnects? Perhaps the most dramatic one is in their little hability to speak up, to participate in forums, to publish content, to become more visible in the worlds they enter and cross. In the afterschool they are definitely very visible and active. In their homes they play the roles of translators, brokers.
How do they use of new media as source materials for identity work, for assimilating, incorporating, doing school? Or how they do not use new media technologies?
How does new media change the process of assimilation? As they have more options, more worlds to explore, how do they change their assimilation process? Using technology across sites to do identity work.
My project involves bringing new media practices to the center of the process of assimilation, problematize their relationship with that process, and see how they use the media to navigate different trajectories, different pathways of assimilation. See the new media skills they have, the ones that are missing, and the ooportunities and challenges for the future of the immigrant communities, and adults.
Problematize how privilege operate through access to voice and thought making our own personal success, suffering louder. Why this group of immigrants kids cannot make their personal voices louder on the Internet? even if they have been positioned as tech savy, media makers. Why they struggle with talking in forums, making comments, uploading content. Why do they want to remain in the margins, even online?
Why this immigrant youth do not go to dedicated immigrant sites where they could discuss issues of race, gender, culture? Is that a sign of assimilation? Is that a sign of navigation? detachment from origins? What does that mean about the internet ecology? about the media environment and hispanic/latino in the usa? What does the absence of those kind of mentors, networks mean for this youth?
Where are they becoming visible? Where are they building networked publics?
One interesting project to pursue in the future is to look at how this immigrant youth is carving spaces inside social media platforms, and creating networking publics. They do not longer use dedicated ethnic/immigrant platforms dedicated to ethnic culture, race. What are the implications of this shift? How does this use of mainstream social media limit the agency? or how do they help you? Do they use it as a resource? What resources are they mobilizing?
After the defense it became clear to me that the scale of the project was to big. So I am working in narrowing it, reducing the questions and objectives. Any feedback regarding this narrowing is superhelpful. I have thought in have just one primary question:
1. How do new media practices shape the assimilation process of a group of Latino/Hispanic immigrant youth growing up in Austin, Texas?
For the secondary questions I would like to have:
1. How do Latino/Hispanic youths narrate the new media practices they have within the contexts of home, an after-school program, and the Internet?
2. How do different kinds of access (motivational, material, skills, and usage) affect what Latino/Hispanic youth do with new media technologies and how they move across various sociocultural worlds?
3. What kind of resources and opportunities are Latino/Hispanic youth gaining, mobilizing and finding as they engage in new media practices? and How do those practices help them to navigate their assimilation process?
I have left out the questions about identity production. Although I still plan to address the theme of identity in my analysis, I think it could be more productive to focus only in the interplay between media practices and the assimilation process.
Following these narrower questions, the objectives are:
1. To understand how new media practices and access shape the assimilation process of Latino/Hispanic youth.
2. To describe some of the different trajectories of assimilation among this population group.
3. To contribute to the theory of segmented assimilation by considering the role of new information communication technology (tools and networks) and new media practices in the process of immigrant incorporation into the U.S.
As regard to the chapters, I might need some help with Chapter 4, the one on the internet. In this chapter I want to address the setting of the web as a networked multi-site. However, I am aware of the challenges that this could generate and I have been thinking in ways to limit it without loosing the analytical complexity. The more I think about it, I realize that the strenght of this chapter relies in showing how despite having material access and motivation (being online), using social media platforms and search engines (usage), the new media skills that this group of LAtino/Hispanic youth are developing do not allow them to mobilize and gain that much social, cultural, technical and human resources. Although they do acquire some of these resources, and connect (bridge) with some publics/audiences, they are not fully empowered by their new media practices to, for instance, comment in public forums, publish content beyond facebook, and engage in collective intelligence enterprises or civic projects. For these youths, the worlds of the internet are not as writable as they are for other dominant/privileged youth (except for the world they enter in facebook where they can interact with their local peers). Despite visiting in several online worlds, their participation turns out to be peripheral, smaller, and less visible in terms of content production and direct interactions with online community members, the size and diversity of their social networks, and the finding of opportunities for collaboration and projects. I intend to show in my analysis that this kind of peripheral agency is related to broader inequalities that exist in society, and by doing so illuminate the interplay between new media practices, skills, and segmented assimilation. Given the complexity of such interplay, I am wondering if I should marrow the Internet setting and focus only in social media (and maybe even just one SNS such as facebook) and avoid considering other sites such as the Google search engine and interest-driven websites.
One of the challenges for doing it is that the practices that the subjects of the study do online happen across many sites. Although the most popular are the Google search engine, Facebook, and Youtube, there are a couple of other sites, where each of the participants seem to also be expending considerable time, developing their new media skills, and in some way participating in broader cultures.
Furthermore, the fact that none of these youths mentioned across our interviews and fieldwork that they interact in ethnic/race forums, social network sites, or online communities, seems to provide some clues about how some Latino/Hispanic youth might be navigating the "mainstream" internet.
empirical research on how this group interacts with technology in everyday life
since segmented assimilation trajectories occur in a lifetime, what i describe here is limited to a certain period of time, and their trajectories will continue, could change.
the divergent assimilation pathways are influenced by multiple factors, that are not only related to the present and recent context, but to prior life conditions, to individual and familial sociocultural histories.
how to measure lifetime changes in socioeconomic status in a short period of time?
is assimilation toward mainstream American culture always a sign of upward assimilation? could they assimilate to other culture and still move upward?
“Acculturation” is a process of cultural change and adaptation that occurs across time. To examine acculturation at a single point in time or for shorter periods limit the description of its dynamic nature
static approach can not examine temporal changes in the process of acculturation.
"More specifically, segmented assimilation is a process of cultural and economic integration into a “mainstream” society. Individuals and groups thus will differ in how effectively they succeed in their cultural and economic integration, as indicated by different assimilation trajectories (i.e., segmented assimilation)"
Within the United States, segmented assimilation has typically been examined for Latino populations, and recently it has been examined with Asian Americans.( Nagasawa R, Qian Z, Wong P. Theory of segmented assimilation and the adoption of marijuana use and delinquency by Asian Pacific youth. Sociol Q 2001;42(3):351–372)
3 outcomes: (1) acculturation change toward mainstream White American culture coupled with upward socioeconomic mobility (upward assimilation); (2) acculturation change and downward socioeconomic mobility into an underclass (downward assimilation); and (3) resistance to acculturation and to assimilation into the mainstream society (resistance to forced assimilation)
parallel dimensions are socioeconomic status (SES) and levels of acculturation (acculturation).
4 life milestones: (1) elementary school, (2) middle school, (3) high school, and (4) adulthood.
from poverty to affluence.
Study Limitations : self reported data, memory of previous moments in life, self reported internet practices. relatively small sample
Lifelong learning, lifelong cultivation of resources: developing human, cultural, and social capital early in life may promote upward assimilation trajectories and contribute to healthy outcomes later in life
the transition from late adolescence to young adulthood is an especially critical period, presenting both risks and opportunities.
interventions designed for young adults at this crucial life stage may focus on building human and social capital via life-skills training, strengthening social networks, and building community support systems.A general aim is to facilitate transitions into upward assimilation trajectories
acculturation gaps within the family: youth assimilating faster, parental fears. How does this gap relates to the use of new media? How does new media let us see the acculturation gap in a more dramatic way? This gap can be seen also in relation to the use of technology and digital media. Gaps within the family. Could be bridged by brokering activities, or simple live them, and allow the children and youth to be digital, while the parents do other thing and have no idea of what the youth are doing. The computer for instance is sometimes portrayed as something educational, for youth and not for the parents. Highest values of education for youth, but not for the parents, who need to work