Politics of Diaspora in the Digital Age: How Immigrant Communities Use Social Media to Change Their World

Student Author(s)

Anne Harrison

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Paula Brooke

Document Type


Event Date



Internet access has shaped the ways in which diaspora maintain their cultural identities and political ties to their homeland. The internet provides far more than a cheap phone line to faraway places. Websites such as YouTube serve as a free space for the production and reproduction of cultural identity and political suffrage. This project examines YouTube postings made by the Jamaican diaspora in the United States. The videos posted by Jamaican diaspora are used as a case study of the way in which diasporic communities use digital media to construct a culturally based political identity. Our sample consists of YouTube videos produced by or featuring Jamaican Americans. Using seven keywords, (Jamaica, Jamaican culture, Jamaican and American, Politics in Jamaica, Jamaican diaspora, I am Jamaican, and Jamaica politics), we selected the top twenty-five videos based on relevancy. We used content analysis to examine the relationship between diaspora, culture, and politics in the videos that we sampled. Our expectation was that the videos would exhibit the attributes demonstrating support for the use of YouTube as a cultural repository for the production and reproduction of a political identity.

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