Identity and diaspora online: a study of a Chinese network in New Zealand
Thesis DisciplineMedia and Communication
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis explores the distinctive formation of identity by Chinese diaspora on New Zealand’s most popular Chinese portal site www.skykiwi.co.nz. Following Gee’s framework of discourse analysis, this study is projected to find out the distinctive language produced on Skykiwi and how this language is used to enact social actors’ identities. In particular, different levels and dimensions of discourse analysis, including lexical and intertextual, linguistic and psychological, are deployed as strategic tools to analyze the selected online articles and discussion forum material. The findings of this qualitative research show that there is a distinct mode of hybridity in identity discourse on the site. This thesis argues that this hybrid identity is constructed by maintaining Chinese culture, and meanwhile using the Chinese meaning system to make sense of life in New Zealand so as to promote a partial integration. In this process, a virtual community is built on Skykiwi where the members show a strong sense of belonging and solidarity to the group. The study re-examines theories of transnationalism and hybridization, diaspora and media, sense-making and identity, centripetal and centrifugal forces of the internet, diasporic media and networks, imagined community, and particularly contributes to the knowledge of Chinese diasporic identity and virtual community on the internet.