08 April 2011

Cultural Attitudes of Tibetan Refugees

Do you ever find the perfect source after you write your paper?  Fortunately, I haven't yet turned in a final draft of my project proposal!  Here is the abstract of an article, "Cultural Attitudes of Tibetan Refugees toward Multimedia Technology," by Heather Tillberg of the University of Virginia.  The article comes from the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) in 2004.
Tibetan refugees are members of a population whose culture and language are in danger of being subsumed by dominant culture and language.  The Internet and multimedia technology (computer, television, radio) may present both direct conflict with traditional values for such a population, as well as opportunity to protect and promote use of an endangered language and culture.  Digital divide research is concerned not only with access to computers and the Internet, but also knowledge about and interest of potential users in using these tools.  Existing research suggests limited materials exist on the Internet for speakers of languages besides English, limiting the adoption of Internet use by some populations.  I will present data analysis from a series of interviews with four Tibetan refugees in the United States.  This analysis will help portray Tibetans' attitudes toward the impact of multimedia technology in their lives, and give insight into the complex issues of the digital divide.
Tillberg's analysis will rely on the notion of the digital divide, which I have argued is outdated by the new notion of "digital leapfrogging," but it's likely that her data is highly relevant to my project.  I'm looking forward to reading her findings and revising my proposal to include them!

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