Social Media and Filipino Migrants in Central Italy

By: John Rafael  

This study highlights social media utilization by Filipino migrants in central Italy and underlines the effects controlling one’s image to their online networks has on their migrant livelihoods. Ethnographic research was done through participant observation, open-ended, semi-structured interviews,and focus group discussions of twenty-five Filipinos, namely in the areas of Rome, Siena, and the Rieti province. The project delineates both the extent of social media use and its importance in Filipino-Italian migrant livelihoods, utilizing Harvey and Myers’ critical hermeneutic framework, which recognizes the lack of neutrality in evaluating narrative data, as the basis of analysis. This work shows that Filipino migrant social media use goes beyond recreation and networking - it reaffirms a positive transnational imaginary. Different factors, including the degree of social media utilization, digital literacy, and affiliation to their Filipino culture, vary the degree such production and perpetuation of the imaginary takes place. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that upholding this imaginary attempts to curb Italian xenophobic tendencies towards foreigners, most notably by displaying similar or analogous cultural values and traditions. Such attempts of cultural production serve to recognize and accept these migrants in society by the host culture. The lens through which this phenomenon is examined additionally highlights social media as a coping mechanism for the separation from loved ones, difficult work experiences, and other factors faced by Filipino immigrants in Italy.

Social Media, Filipino, Migrants
Media Technologies
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

John Rafael

2016 Human Rights Fellow, WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University, United States
California, United States

I firmly believe that everyone has a story that should be heard and validated. This principle has guided much of my life, and the never ending pursuit of this principle is what has and continues to motivate my own life goal of serving others. My various endeavors all share a core component: helping peoplea round the world understand themselves and the world around them. My participation in various cultural organizations in the Bay Area brought me to the forefront of advocating for both students and marginalized populations in the Asian American community. Furthermore, I have connected and empowered individuals from low-income communities of color in understanding their own health. Thus, this desire to further be a platform for other burgeoned my interest in the social sciences. My research on the effects fo social media in the maintenance of Filipino transnational relationships gave both the participants and researchers further into how technology shapes and enhances their lives. With a steadfast belief in the power of narrative, I intend to further pursue a career helping others through community advocacy and ethnography. I hope to use academic research to not only amplify my voice but also the voice of others.