This thesis examines how Colombian women within the city of Atlanta utilize Facebook as a parallel public sphere, a cultural phenomenon through which the silenced use mediums of popular culture to discuss private and public dilemmas (Dewey 2009). Through ethnographic research in Atlanta, I analyze how these young women use Facebook as they negotiate their identity through the multiple contexts of their everyday lives. Drawing from feminist critiques, I explore whether Facebook provides an alternative to the traditional public sphere, while also investigating how power structures influence freedom of expression online. Through an international network of friends, these women tackle topics of discrimination, personal struggles, and individual accomplishments. By addressing pertinent issues, such as immigration reform policies, through a public forum, Colombian women become activists in order to disseminate information and educate others. This study explores the parallel public sphere, as well as its possible implications for diasporic communities, by examining the power of social connections and the performance of public personas through an arena not bounded by physical space.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michaelanne_dye/1/