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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The rotuma website : transnational relations and the articulation of cultural identity Clark, Caroline Anne

Abstract

As in other parts of the world, multimedia technology and the Internet have changed the ways that people in the Pacific interact. Although multimedia technology is a relatively recent addition to the Pacific, Islanders recognize the potential that it holds and are working to define how it should be used within their communities. The use of multimedia technology to bring together geographically dispersed people is of particular use. At the same time, the number of Pacific Islanders migrating both throughout the region and abroad continues to increase. Over time, transnational migration can lead to a weakened sense of cultural identity. Given the importance of kin relations and cultural identity, many Pacific Islanders are using multimedia technology and the Internet to remain connected. This thesis explores a resource that uses contemporary multimedia technology to preserve cultural identity in the context of global migration: the Rotuma website. Rotuma is an island located 465 km north of Fiji. As a small island society, Rotumans historically have not developed a strong sense of cultural identity. In the last century, Rotumans have migrated in large numbers to Fiji and abroad. A weak sense of cultural identity coupled with excellent success abroad in education and employment opportunities could have disastrous consequences for the long-term preservation of this island's heritage. However, the Rotuma website harnesses the power of multimedia technology to both preserve existing kin relations and develop new social networks not feasible in the physical world.

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