Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

12-2013

Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Anthropology

Author's Keywords

Refugee; Migration; Middle East; Iraq; Internet; Communication; Kinship

Abstract

A series of interviews conducted in Amman, Jordan and Louisville, Kentucky posed the following questions: “How is information and communication technology (ICT) use affecting interpersonal communication patterns within the displaced Iraqi community in the US and Jordan?” and “What are the factors that limit the proliferation of the internet as a communication tool in that community?” Participants were individuals with legal refugee status and Iraqi nationality who left Iraq after the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War. Eight interviews were conducted in Louisville during the summer of 2012 and twelve were conducted in Amman during November 2012. Participants were asked demographic questions, as well as questions about their use of mobile phones and the internet. Based on these interviews and a survey of information collected on mobile phone and internet access in Jordan and Iraq, the researcher concluded that Iraqi refugees primarily utilize ICTs to communicate with relatives abroad. Younger participants in both Jordan and the US use ICTs to communicate with friends more often than older individuals. Participants in Jordan were more likely to call relatives in Iraq instead of using the internet than participants in the US. Interviewees in the US used smart phones, while few in Jordan did. Access issues for Iraqis in Jordan included cost and security concerns. Iraqis in the US had few access concerns. Differences between the two groups can be attributed to resource differences, as most of the participants in the US came directly from Iraq and came from well-off families and those in Jordan had exhausted their savings while waiting for resettlement. This study expands the information available on the subject of refugees' transnational communication patterns and could be helpful to aid and resettlement organizations in the future.

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