In situations of displacement from beloved landscapes and acquired tastes to the unfamiliar land, it is common for immigrants to retrieve what they have missed. Their actions may include the potential to recreate the atmosphere of their homeland in their new receiving lands, to maintain strong connections with people of the same groups, and to find their own places or channels that will allow them to enjoy their traditional ways of life. Smartphone, an emerging affordable new communication technology has become one of the most common ways through which minorities are empowered to sustain and constitute their community connections today. To bring such telecommunication technology and a cultural study together, this Higher Degree research focuses on mobile phone usage amongst Australia’s multicultural communities. It aims to better understand the ways in which ethnic community groups communicate via mobile phones. The project explores whether communities are using these technologies to sustain and constitute their connections and cultures by also investigating what broader impact this technology is having on minority communities in Australia. Three communities — Thai, Rohingya and Hmong —are explored in this study. The analysis embraces frameworks based on Anderson’s notion of imagined community (1983) and Habermas’s historical concept of the public sphere (1989). It employed a case study methodology as the main approach which also includes the application of Ethnographic Action Research (EAR). This approach allows the research questions to be explored more deeply and contextually through the real experiences of the selected community participants and their cultural environments.
Natcha Krisneepaiboon, Griffith University, Australia
Stream: Social Media and Communication Technology
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