Digital DREAM : the DREAMer identity, struggle, and political engagement on Facebook




Iglesias, Gabino José

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This dissertation seeks to understand the role Facebook plays in the (re)creation of online identities of members of the DREAMer community, the way their undocumented status impacts their usage of the social networking site, and how code switching is used. Through in-depth interviews, this study gathered non-identifying data in order to try to understand the motivations and actions of DREAMers while on Facebook, how they define themselves, and whether the battle for citizenship and the DREAM Act play a role in the way they behave on the social networking sites. The data gathered was analyzed using discourse analysis and the results were evaluated using Social Identity Theory, Uses and Gratifications Theory, and Chicana Theory. Furthermore, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was used to explore the way in which limited access to the opportunities that citizens of the United States have, as well as economic and personal issues, have an effect on the way DREAMers behave on Facebook. Lastly, this study questions whether a popular image of the DREAMers as a group actively seeking citizenship applied to all participants or if another experience merited attention.


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