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Online participation, social isolation, biculturalism, and empowerment: a virtual ethnography of Kenyan diaspora women living in North America

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TitleInfo
Title
Online participation, social isolation, biculturalism, and empowerment: a virtual ethnography of Kenyan diaspora women living in North America
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Orwenyo
NamePart (type = given)
Evalyne Kerubo
NamePart (type = date)
1983-
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Evalyne Kerubo Orwenyo
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author
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Perterson
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Nelson Andrew
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Nelson Andrew Perterson
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Advisory Committee
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chair
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Zippay
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Allison
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Allison Zippay
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
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Farmer
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Antoinette Yvetta
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Antoinette Yvetta Farmer
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Alidou
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Ousseina
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Ousseina Alidou
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Advisory Committee
Role
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outside member
Name (type = personal)
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Nyabuga
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George Morara
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George Morara Nyabuga
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Advisory Committee
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outside member
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Rutgers University
Role
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degree grantor
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School of Graduate Studies
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Text
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theses
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2020
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2020-05
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2020
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English
Abstract (type = abstract)
This virtual ethnography was conducted in two online communities on Facebook, a popular social media platform comprising of Kenyan diaspora women residing in Canada and the United States of America. The author used a convergent, parallel mixed-methods approach to investigate whether and how online communities provided a pathway for reducing social isolation, attaining biculturalism, and exercising empowerment. The quantitative research questions tested the hypothesized directions, magnitudes, and relationships of the following variables: online participation, positive acculturation (biculturalism), empowerment, opportunity role structure, sense of community, and social isolation. The qualitative research questions explored participants’ perceptions of the relationships between the variables mentioned above. The author applied a postcolonial theoretical framework, among others, to contest the generalizations of African immigrant women, valorize their unique cultural identity, and demonstrate the expanded notions of civic participation. Quantitative data were collected using validated modified scales (n = 287) and analyzed using path analysis. Qualitative data were collected using systematic observations (n = approx. 18,000) and semi-structured interviews (n = 39) and analyzed using discourse analysis and thematic analysis, respectively. The final output model was a good fit for data X2 (4) = 5.42, p = .25; CFI = .997; NFI = .987; TLI = .987; RMSEA = .035. Findings from systematic observations indicated that salient topics in online interactions included acculturation, managing relationships, social support, among others. Findings from semi-structured interviews revealed descriptive categories and themes such as varied motivations for joining the online community, empowerment, benefits, and drawbacks of online participation, etc. Overall, the results from the qualitative and quantitative analyses were consistent. The findings supported existing theories of empowerment, sense of community, and opportunity role structure but indicated the need to redefine acculturation theory. Overall, participants’ acknowledgment of their social isolation predicted positive acculturation (biculturalism), empowerment, and a sense of community. Online participation and opportunity role structure mediated the relationship between social isolation and biculturalism, empowerment, and sense of community. Despite apparent social inequities, participants perceived online communities as serving a utilitarian role in countering perceived social isolation, increasing access to information, and as a source of emotional support. The online communities demonstrated the heterogeneity of Kenyan diaspora women whose complexity cannot be reduced to generalized simplifications. Future research should focus on how to collaborate with online participants in digital activism for social justice and humanitarian assistance efforts. To ascertain civil discourse, online community administrators should institute rules for engagement. This study contributes knowledge to Africana Studies, Diaspora Studies, Social Work, New Media Studies, and Women and gender studies. Social Work curriculum should incorporate virtual ethnography as a research method because it presents a practical and useful way of learning about communities. After all, in present-day, online communities have become universal for people with access to the internet.
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
Virtual ethnography
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Social Work
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Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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ETD_10841
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application/pdf
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1 online resource (xiii, 193 pages) : illustrations
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
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School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore10001600001
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Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/t3-ekhn-8j26
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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Rights

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The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
FamilyName
Orwenyo
GivenName
Evalyne
Role
Copyright Holder
RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2020-04-27 11:25:28
AssociatedEntity
Name
Evalyne Orwenyo
Role
Copyright holder
Affiliation
Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
AssociatedObject
Type
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Name
Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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Technical

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2020-04-27T19:29:46
DateCreated (point = end); (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2020-04-27T19:29:46
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