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Traveling Without Moving
Foreign news and boundary-
crossing in Cyberspace
Jeremy Edwards
University of Texas at Austin
The Online World
 It’s now easier than ever to find foreign
media/cultural products on the Internet
 The online world has its own
“geography” of cultures and nations--
just like the “real” world
 What happens when people “travel”
virtually over the Internet? How can we
think about this phenomenon?
Diaspora in Cyberspace
 Anderson (1991): Nations as “imagined
communities” thru print media
 Thompson (2002): Visual vs. print
 Mitra (1997): Web sites exclude some
people and welcome others
 Boczkowski (1999): expats overtly
express cultural ideas taken for granted
at home
Boundary Crossing
 Halavais (2000): National boundaries
re-created on the Internet
 Need a concept that covers both virtual
and real-world “boundaries”
– (Though really, all boundaries are virtual)
 Information or cultural product is
traveling, even if a person isn’t
Acculturation, real and virtual
 Acculturation/socialization related to
long-term, regular, non-threatening
interpersonal communication
 Melkote & Liu (2000): Chinese grad
students “going home” over the Internet
– Increased behavioral acculturation
– Decreased value acculturation
Online Survey, November 2003
 790 American college students: are
they boundary-crossers?
– 92% have traveled abroad
– 49% use the Internet to communicate
internationally
– 20% read foreign news websites
 Three different groups, or just one?
Boundary-crossers are travelers
 Foreign news readers are people who
have already been abroad
 Traveling to more countries--> more
likely to read foreign news
 Same relationship, but weaker, for
travel --> international communication
OOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOO
OOOO
*
O O
O O O
OOOOO
OOOOO
OOOOO
OOO
OOO
O O
Travelers
Foreign
News
Readers
Communicators
O
O
O O
Liberalization?
 Travelers, communicators, foreign-news
readers are all more liberal than non-
boundary-crossers…
 …but only if they are 25-and-under
 Alwin & Krosnick (1991): 25-and-
under’s most likely to change political
identity
A map for boundary crossing
 Travel abroad
 Acculturation takes place
 Return home
 Media used to reinforce/revisit/expand
travel experience
 In “impressionable years,” liberalization
takes place too
Issues/Problems/Questions
 92% Travelers: representative sample?
 Liberal/Conservative maybe an
oversimplification of acculturation--but
something is going on
 Are online travelers “traveling” to new
places, or “going home” to places
they’ve already been?
 Other types of boundary crossing?
Questions
and, perhaps, answers

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Travelling

  • 1. Traveling Without Moving Foreign news and boundary- crossing in Cyberspace Jeremy Edwards University of Texas at Austin
  • 2. The Online World  It’s now easier than ever to find foreign media/cultural products on the Internet  The online world has its own “geography” of cultures and nations-- just like the “real” world  What happens when people “travel” virtually over the Internet? How can we think about this phenomenon?
  • 3. Diaspora in Cyberspace  Anderson (1991): Nations as “imagined communities” thru print media  Thompson (2002): Visual vs. print  Mitra (1997): Web sites exclude some people and welcome others  Boczkowski (1999): expats overtly express cultural ideas taken for granted at home
  • 4. Boundary Crossing  Halavais (2000): National boundaries re-created on the Internet  Need a concept that covers both virtual and real-world “boundaries” – (Though really, all boundaries are virtual)  Information or cultural product is traveling, even if a person isn’t
  • 5. Acculturation, real and virtual  Acculturation/socialization related to long-term, regular, non-threatening interpersonal communication  Melkote & Liu (2000): Chinese grad students “going home” over the Internet – Increased behavioral acculturation – Decreased value acculturation
  • 6. Online Survey, November 2003  790 American college students: are they boundary-crossers? – 92% have traveled abroad – 49% use the Internet to communicate internationally – 20% read foreign news websites  Three different groups, or just one?
  • 7. Boundary-crossers are travelers  Foreign news readers are people who have already been abroad  Traveling to more countries--> more likely to read foreign news  Same relationship, but weaker, for travel --> international communication
  • 8. OOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOO OOOO * O O O O O OOOOO OOOOO OOOOO OOO OOO O O Travelers Foreign News Readers Communicators O O O O
  • 9. Liberalization?  Travelers, communicators, foreign-news readers are all more liberal than non- boundary-crossers…  …but only if they are 25-and-under  Alwin & Krosnick (1991): 25-and- under’s most likely to change political identity
  • 10. A map for boundary crossing  Travel abroad  Acculturation takes place  Return home  Media used to reinforce/revisit/expand travel experience  In “impressionable years,” liberalization takes place too
  • 11. Issues/Problems/Questions  92% Travelers: representative sample?  Liberal/Conservative maybe an oversimplification of acculturation--but something is going on  Are online travelers “traveling” to new places, or “going home” to places they’ve already been?  Other types of boundary crossing?