‘‘Facebook is my second home’’; the Kurdish Diaspora’s Use of Facebook in Shaping a Nation
Master’s Thesis in Digital Culture, University of Bergen
Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies
This study strives to understand the use of Facebook as a social network site by the Kurdish diaspora. Academic relevance and expertise is primarily a requirement for basic study, while the social context is drawn into an applied study, and these two contexts put the research question into primary focus. Accordingly, the main purpose of the study is to explore how Kurds search for and express their ethnic identity through Facebook. The Kurdish people have been suppressed by four countries—Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria—for centuries and have thus been forced to cope with Turkish, Arabic, and Persian ethnic identity and forbidden to express Kurdish ethnic identity.
This study reveals some of the most important objectives and motivations behind the use of Facebook for Kurds in Norway and shows how Facebook features have been used to rekindle ties between the Kurds and to strengthen their ethnic identity. The Kurdish diaspora has been spread worldwide and the most effective way for the people to connect to each other in the diaspora is through social networking sites. Kurds in the diaspora make extensive use of social media to build an ethnic identity. The empirical part presents a qualitative research method in the form of an open interview with eight informants of Kurdish background living in Norway. The purpose of the chosen research method was to get the informants’ experiences and thoughts about their use of Facebook as a Kurd in the diaspora. The information gathered from the interview thus support the research questions in the study. The main findings of the study are that Kurds in the diaspora consider Facebook to be an important communication tool to strengthen their identity by discussing political issues and cultural aspects and reconnecting with friends and families they have lost contact with. They actively use Facebook to convey their identity by sharing national and common interests. Facebook is used to reinforce fellowship and association within the Kurdish diaspora.
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