Drawing on empirical research in Paris, this study explores how Latina women make sense of their diasporic lives and the role of new media communications. Key questions include: Why do Latinas migrate? What does it mean for Latinas to live and have intimate relationships in Paris? Do they feel included, or have a sense of belonging? How do they make sense of their diasporic lives through the everyday use of new media communications, and what are the consequences of mediated experiences in their identity formation? This research aims to deliver a better understanding of the contemporary phenomenon of Latina migration into Paris and its diasporic media space by exploring complex consequences of identity formation. The primary method consists of semi-structured, personal, in-depth qualitative interviews with 11 Latinas in their 20s to 50s of working-class and middle-class backgrounds. As a secondary method, this research examines various social media and blogs used and circulated by Latinas.
Main findings reveal that Latina identity is significantly shaped upon protecting and defending their country of origin, while having extreme concerns with the violence and loved ones left behind. Home country issues thus become a primary concern for Latinas and they tend to neglect participation in French political affairs. The consequences are invisibility in French society, causing them to feel unwelcomed, isolated and excluded. In the realm of intimacy, Latinas who marry French men have to modify their own cultural identity in order to fit into French society and French ways of life. New media are therefore used as an escape to cope and understand cultural differences. This implies dissatisfaction in their diasporic lives, while attempting to communicate their cultural needs in order to feel at home. Also, there are complexities of exile parent-child relations due to transmission of national identity, violent historical memories and imagined lives of the past.
As a whole, my research argues that Latina diaspora in Paris create a distinctive set of experiences on national identities, home-making strategies, motherhood, and intimate relations with French men while struggling to assimilate into Parisian culture. These experiences generate unique consequences because of French assimilation policies, cultural misunderstandings, and language barriers that lead to everyday use of their own ethnic/national media to cope with loneliness and social exclusion. Latinas tend to have limited interaction with the mainstream French society and seek to connect with other Latinas to maintain their cultural identity. Overall, my research importantly highlights the hidden, emotional worlds of Latinas and their lived and mediated experiences in the diasporic conditions of Paris. The role of new media communications, of ethnic/national media in particular, is a key focus throughout my research, which has significant consequences on Latinas’ transnational lives and identities.
|School:||The American University of Paris (France)|
|Source:||MAI 58/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||European Studies, Womens studies, Latin American Studies|
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