Blogging While Black and British: An Exploratory Study on the Use of Blogs as Social, Cultural and Counterhegemonic Practice

This source preferred by Deborah Gabriel

Authors: Gabriel, D.

Editors: McKay, G. and Goddard, M.

This thesis is an exploratory study on how people of African descent in the UK use blogs as social, cultural and counterhegemonic practice and is positioned within the theoretical frameworks of alternative media and critical race theory (CRT). The research questions at the centre of this study are what motivates African Caribbean people in the UK to become bloggers; what gratification they experience through authoring blogs; how they use blogs to address issues of representation in the mainstream media and their perceptions of the social impact of their activities as bloggers. The findings reveal that motivation for blogging is linked to voice, visibility and empowerment and gratification is linked to voice, knowledge sharing, knowledge acquisition and social interaction. While voice, as a motivational factor and gratification for some participants is linked to interests in creative writing and journalism, for many others motivation and gratification are driven by a complex set of factors linked to issues of race and representation. These stem from feelings of being voiceless, invisible and marginalised as African Caribbean people in British society and blogs function as an assertive strategy and medium for self-representation. The constructed narratives of the bloggers who participated in this study reveal their experience of subtle forms of prejudice and discrimination perpetuated through dominant discourses in the mainstream media and marginalisation in the wider society. The findings demonstrate that race and ethnicity are inextricably linked to motivation and gratification and influence blogging practice and content production. This thesis expands on current literature by documenting how African Caribbean people have appropriated blogs to harness social and cultural capital, to mediate against racism and marginalisation within British society and to empower themselves and their communities.

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