Romani Studies

A cyber-ethnographic foray into GR&T internet photo blogs

Romani Studies (2008), 18, (1), 39–70.

Abstract

Internet studies are rapidly approaching disciplinary status in academia (Silver 2006: 2). As ethnographers we find Internet cyber-culture(s) and social networking using advancing communication technologies to be provocative and relatively unexplored ethnographic topics. As Romani studies scholars we seek out research applications relevant to our specific interest in culture change among Gypsies (Romanies) and Travelers in the United States (GR&T peoples). As cyber-ethnographers using a 'data dredging' methodology we explore Internet cyber-subcultures comprised of youthful GR&T peoples. We describe GR&T adaptive and creative uses of some interfacing new mass communications technologies; for example, photo cell phones, the Internet and personalized web logs. GR&T adolescents using these technologies construct self-ascribed identities and ascribe identities to others via their online Internet communications. They also reveal their values and material cultures. GR&T 'self-narratives' encountered in their photo-blog guest books comprise a distinctive written argot. From these online data sources we isolate and discuss specific themes, and a theoretical implication.

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Author details

Nemeth, David

Gropper, Rena