The Search for Connection Online

Sarah C. Bishop

in Undocumented Storytellers

Published in print February 2019 | ISBN: 9780190917159
Published online January 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190917197 | DOI:
The Search for Connection Online

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This chapter takes a close look at immigrant activism online. Because many undocumented immigrants are prohibited from higher education and professional employment, much of their narrative activism has found its home on the internet, where production costs are low, amateur professionalism is the norm, and the option for anonymity is still vaguely present. Digital reclaimant narratives serve more than a single purpose, and the narrators demonstrate how the act of story sharing online may serve as a path to self-actualization, help to mitigate one’s fear and uncertainty, offer a means for communal coping, or satisfy a sense of responsibility. A close look at these varied and profound outcomes reveals digital reclaimant narratives as powerful tools in the hands of individuals who in other contexts face constant limitations. But it is clear that creating reclaimant narratives in digital contexts incites particular hazards, including the difficulty of gaining an audience for heterogeneous perspectives, the normalization of free labor, the facilitation of hateful and xenophobic responses, and the perpetuation of the confirmation bias.

Keywords: digital activism; self-actualization; communal coping; hate speech; confirmation bias

Chapter.  10396 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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