Posted to the Ethnos Project by on December 5th, 2014

This thesis engages in a broad discussion of technology, communications, identity, and cultural change in the Canadian Arctic. Using an ethnographic methodological strategy, it looks at how a group of Inuit college students in Iqaluit use the online social network Facebook. It was found that Inuit youth are intensive users of Facebook, basically using it to communicate with their communities of origin, to maintain friends and family ties across a vast territory, to access cultural referents on Facebook groups, discuss issues, shape their identity, ask questions, access pictures of the land and recall traditions. In these Facebook groups, there is a cultural memory and remembrance of the past collectively established through the hypertext of Facebook which further shows how technology is incorporated and adapted to a culture rather than being undermined by that technology’s incorporation. In this sense, Inuit youth “travel” through Facebook using it for their own purposes such as accessing cultural referents of the land in a multimedia interface. This research also argues, from an actor-network perspective, that Inuit youth are immersed in a culture of connectivity (van Dijck, 2013) through which social life and experiences are increasingly mediated by social network sites.

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