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KakaoTalk and Facebook

Korean American Youth Constructing Hybrid Identities


Jiwoo Park and Dafna Lemish

KakaoTalk and Facebook: Korean American Youth Constructing Hybrid Identities explores the role smartphones play in the lives of Korean American youth as they explore their identities and navigate between fitting into their host society and their Korean heritage. Employing multiple methodologies, this book gives voice to the youth’s personal experiences, identity struggles, and creative digital media practices. While similar in many aspects to other American youth, they also differ greatly in the central roles that their smartphones’ use plays in maintaining their mastery of the Korean language, connecting to Korean pop culture, and cultivating their social networks with other co-ethnic peers and homeland relatives and friends. The results of this study challenge traditional assumptions about assimilation of second generation immigrants into a host society and suggest that digital technologies facilitate the process of segmented assimilation, according to which ethnic identities continue to play a central role in the identity of children of immigrants. KakaoTalk and Facebook will be of great interest to scholars and educators of media and youth and those exploring how digital media have changed the nature of immigration processes in dramatic ways.

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Conclusion: The Contribution of Digital Media to Segmented Assimilation Theory


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The Contribution of Digital Media to Segmented Assimilation Theory

This study addressed three specific research questions posed at the outset. First, what is the nature of the digital media practices of first-and-a-half and second generation descendants of Korean immigrants in their socialization and the development of their ethnic identity (see Chapter Three)? Second, how do they engage in the exploration of and commitment to their ethnic identity using the digital media devices at their disposal (see Chapter Four)? Third, based on that relationship between ethnic identity formation and exploration and commitment via digital media, how does digital media consumption affect this young population’s assimilation into mainstream American society (see Chapters Five and Six)? A multi-methodological approach, using a combination of PEIs and surveys, provided us additional analytical leverage in addressing digital media practices and their role played in the multifaceted dimensions of ethnic identity formation among the children of Korean immigrants in the U.S.

This final chapter then continues with a discussion of the study’s implications, specifically how its examination of digital media practices by the children of Korean immigrants reveals what previous literature has overlooked regarding their ethnic identity formation and how it is poised to fill in that gap. ← 135 | 136 →

The Nature of the Digital Media Practices

In response to the first research question, first-and-a-half and second generation participants showed little difference in their digital media practices. On the one hand, in many...

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