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Title: Internet centers/usage by Burmese ethnic migrants in Mae Sod : traversing the borders of Internet divide and recasting ethnic identities
Authors: Dacanay, Nikos
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: This paper, taken from an on-going research on the use of Internet centers by marginalized women in the Thai- Burma border, reflects upon the various means of appropriation of the technology. The Internet has ostensibly liberating effects on these women, but this paper proposes that there is more to the feeling of being free in the virtual world. There is currently a “project” of affirming, claiming, and molding traditional ethnic identities through the use of Internet. The paper imagines this as revolutionizing the discursive mode of resistance and rebellion by these marginalized women against the military regime in Burma. Using their agentic qualities, the women transform their social scripts as “marginalized” and “displaced” into “empowered” women who are informed, educated, and aware of their human rights. Set in the border town of Mae Sod in Tak province Thailand and against the backdrop of an omnipresent – but mute - population of illegal migrants from Burma, the discursive inferior-superior relationship between Thais and Burmese, and the complex networking of bodies and organizations providing humanitarian and development aid in the border, this paper looks at the symbiotic relationship between the use of the Internet and the re/construction of ethnic identities. The paper argues that the incomplete and ongoing self-making ethnic identity project shapes how Internet is used as much as how Internet is also shaping this identity project (i.e. construction of virtual identities, appropriation of modern identities, repairing ethnic identities, etc.)
Project Number: 104714
Project Title: Investigating the Social and Economic Impact of Public Access to Information and Communication Technologies
Appears in Collections:IDRC Research Results / Résultats de recherches du CRDI
2010-2019 / Années 2010-2019
Amy Mahan Research Fellowship Program / Programme de bourses de recherche Amy Mahan
Research Results (IPAI) / Résultats de recherches (IAPT)
Public access use and impact / Accès public: utilisation et impact

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