Identities on the line: youth, internet use, and citizenship in Kyrgyzstan
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This dissertation examines the interaction between identity and Internet use in the everyday lives of urban youth in Kyrgyzstan. Using a "quick ethnography" (interview, observation, survey), the study investigates the ways in which young people develop and express "cultural identity" in their rapidly globalizing and expanding digital media environment. For urban youth in Kyrgyzstan, the Internet is widely available and free of government or special interest intrusion, unlike most of the traditional media. Through the identity lens, the study also explores the ways in which networked media like Internet might constitute or facilitate alternative sites of citizenship in authoritarian-leaning, post-Soviet, post-revolution Kyrgyzstan. The country's evolving digital media, along with its relatively nascent, volatile democracy, provide an important non-Western context for the study of how young people relate to Internet media and of potential implications for citizenship. The study adds knowledge from the Central Asian context to recent theoretical work on "cultural citizenship," which posits alternative, global citizenship practices. Implications for global journalism studies and for media development are discussed.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.