1887
Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

Abstract

Social media is often assumed to espouse ego-centred networking. Yet by comparing posts to Facebook and Instagram, it becomes apparent that the experience and aspirations of the individual are often embedded in structures of family and other institutions that have been historically determined. This article locates images posted by women to two social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, within the Caribbean island of Trinidad’s wider history of the significance of visibility and visuality. What individuals choose to make visible and its consequences form a visual language in which Trinidadians are entirely fluent. By extension, images are used to communicate forms of differentiated identity that are made visible through social media.

The material gathered was based on 15 months of ethnographic research in a semi-urban town in Trinidad where, generally, uses of social media are expressive of a place-based sense of identity. The town is simultaneously a place that urban dwellers look down on and villagers look up to. Visual content posted to Facebook and Instagram reveal that while individuals seek to craft and shape images and aesthetics according to their own tastes, this must be done in a socially acceptable way; that is, placing emphasis on group conformity is far more of a social value than expressing individual distinction. Social media in this context communicates the imagination of oppositional futures and a divergence of lifestyles for young women: those who identify with being locally-oriented and those who identify with being globally-oriented.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/jls.19004.sin
2020-02-24
2020-04-08
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Abrahams, Roger
    1983The Man-Of-Words in the West Indies: Performance and the Emergence of Creole Culture. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Baer, Hester
    2016 Redoing feminism: Digital activism, body politics, and neoliberalism. Feminist Media Studies16(1): 17–34. 10.1080/14680777.2015.1093070
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2015.1093070 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bell, Joshua A., Kobak, Briel, Kuipers, Joel & Kemble, Amanda
    2018 Unseen connections: The materiality of cell phones. Anthropological Quarterly91(2): 465–484. 10.1353/anq.2018.0023
    https://doi.org/10.1353/anq.2018.0023 [Google Scholar]
  4. Belliappa, Jyothsna
    2013Gender, Class and Reflexive Modernity in India. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137319227
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137319227 [Google Scholar]
  5. Braithwaite, Lloyd
    1975Social Stratification in Trinidad: A Preliminary Analysis. Kingston: University of the West Indies.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Brantner, Cornelia
    2018 New visualities of space and place: Mapping theories, concepts and methodology of visual communication research on locative media and geomedia. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture13(2): 14–30. doi:  10.16997/wpcc.290
    https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.290 [Google Scholar]
  7. Burton, Richard
    1997Afro-Creole: Power, Opposition and Play in the Caribbean. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Clark, Lynn. S.
    2013The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Cozart Riggio, Milla
    (ed) 2004Carnival: Culture in Action – The Trinidad Experience. New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203646045
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203646045 [Google Scholar]
  10. Edmondson, Belinda
    2003 Public spectacles: Caribbean women and the politics of public performance. Small Axe7(1): 1–16. 10.1215/‑7‑1‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1215/-7-1-1 [Google Scholar]
  11. Eriksen, Thomas H.
    1990 Liming in Trinidad: The art of doing nothing. Folk32(1): 23–43.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Gilbertson, Amanda
    2014 A fine balance: Negotiating fashion and respectable femininity in middle-class Hyderabad, India. Modern Asian Studies48(1): 120–158. 10.1017/S0026749X1300019X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X1300019X [Google Scholar]
  13. Gómez Cruz, Edgar & Meyer, Eric T.
    2012 Creation and control in the photographic process: iPhones and the emerging fifth moment of photography. Photographies5(2): 203–221. 10.1080/17540763.2012.702123
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17540763.2012.702123 [Google Scholar]
  14. Haynes, Nell
    2016a Kiss with a fist: The chola’s humor and humiliation in Bolivian lucha libre. Journal of Language and Sexuality5(2): 250–275. 10.1075/jls.5.2.06hay
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jls.5.2.06hay [Google Scholar]
  15. 2016bSocial Media in Northern Chile: Posting the Extraordinarily Ordinary. London: UCL Press. 10.2307/j.ctt1g69xv2
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1g69xv2 [Google Scholar]
  16. Haynes, Tonya
    2016 Mapping Caribbean cyberfeminisms. SX Archipelagos1: 1–19.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Hjorth, Larissa, & Lim, Sun Sun
    2012 Mobile intimacy in an age of affective mobile media. Feminist Media Studies12(4): 477–484. 10.1080/14680777.2012.741860
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2012.741860 [Google Scholar]
  18. Hochschild, Arlie R.
    2012The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Stanford, CA: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Hosein, Gabrielle J.
    2007 Everybody Have to Eat: Politics and Governance in Trinidad. PhD thesis, University of London.
  20. 2008 Gender, biopolitics and Caribbean feminisms: Blending flesh with beloved clay. Caribbean Review of Gender Studies2: 1–10.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Hosein, Gabrielle J. & Outar, Lisa
    2012 Indo-Caribbean feminisms: Charting crossings in geography, discourse, and politics. Caribbean Review of Gender Studies6: 1–10.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Hosein, Shaheeda
    2011 Unlikely matriarchs: Rural Indo-Trinidadian women in the domestic sphere. InBindi: The Multifaceted Lives of Indo-Caribbean Women, Rosanne Kanhai (ed), 101–120. Mona: University of the West Indies Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Kanhai, Rosanne
    (ed) 2011Bindi: The Multifaceted Lives of Indo-Caribbean Women. Mona: University of the West Indies Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Keep, Dean
    2014 Artist with a camera-phone: A decade of mobile photography. InMobile Media Making in an Age of Smartphones, Marsha Berry & Max Schleser (eds), 14–24. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Lasén, Amparo
    2004 Affective technologies – Emotions and mobile phones. Receiver, Vodaphone11. www.receiver.vodafone.com/11/articles/pdf/11_03.pdf (November21 2019)
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Meighoo, Kirk P.
    2003Politics in a ‘Half-Made Society’: Trinidad and Tobago, 1925–2001. Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Miller, Daniel
    1994Modernity: An Ethnographic Approach: Dualism and Mass Consumption in Trinidad. Oxford: Berg.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. 1997Capitalism: An Ethnographic Approach. Oxford: Berg.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. 2011Tales from Facebook. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Miller, Daniel, Costa, Elisabetta, Haynes, Nell, McDonald, Tom, Nicolescu, Razvan, Sinanan, Jolynna, Spyer, Juliano, Venkantraman, Shriram & Wang, XinYuan
    2016How the World Changed Social Media. London: UCL Press. 10.2307/j.ctt1g69z35
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1g69z35 [Google Scholar]
  31. Miller, Daniel & Sinanan, Jolynna
    2017Visualising Facebook: A Comparative Perspective. London: UCL Press. 10.2307/j.ctt1mtz51h
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1mtz51h [Google Scholar]
  32. Mohammed, Patricia
    2002Gender Negotiations among Indians in Trinidad 1917–1947. Basingstoke: Palgrave. 10.1057/9781403914163
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781403914163 [Google Scholar]
  33. Mohammid, Sheba
    2017 Digital Media, Learning and Social Confidence: An Ethnography of a Small Island Knowledge Society. PhD Thesis, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University).
  34. Özkul, Didem & Humphreys, Lee
    2015 Record and remember: Memory and meaning-making practices through mobile media. Mobile Media & Communication3(3): 351–365. 10.1177/2050157914565846
    https://doi.org/10.1177/2050157914565846 [Google Scholar]
  35. Pertierra, Anna C.
    2018Media Anthropology for the Digital Age. Cambridge: Polity.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Pink, Sarah & Hjorth, Larissa
    2012 Emplaced cartographies: Reconceptualising camera phone practices in an age of locative media. Media International Australia145(1): 145–155. doi:  10.1177/1329878X1214500116
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X1214500116 [Google Scholar]
  37. Pink, Sarah, Horst, Heather, Postill, John, Hjorth, Larissa, Lewis, Tania & Tacchi, Jo
    2016Digital Ethnography: Principles and Practice. London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Prentice, Rebecca
    2015Thiefing a Chance: Factory Work, Illicit Labor, and Neoliberal Subjectivities in Trinidad. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 10.5876/9781607323754
    https://doi.org/10.5876/9781607323754 [Google Scholar]
  39. Ragbir, Anusha
    2012 Fictions of the past: Staging Indianness, identity and sexuality among young women in Indo-Trinidadian beauty pageants. Caribbean Review of Gender Studies6: 1–21.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Rainie, Lee & Wellman, Barry
    2012Networked: The New Social Operating System. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 10.7551/mitpress/8358.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/8358.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  41. Sanatan, Amílcar
    2016 The internet is cool, scholarship is cold and Beyoncé is a feminist: Reflections on the popular action assignment in Introduction to Women’s Studies. Caribbean Review of Gender Studies10: 151–164.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Sinanan, Jolynna
    2017Social Media in Trinidad: Values and Visibility. UCL Press: London. 10.2307/j.ctt1xhr53j
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1xhr53j [Google Scholar]
  43. 2019 Visualising intimacies: The circulation of digital images in the Trinidadian context. Emotion, Space and Society31: 93–101. 10.1016/j.emospa.2019.04.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2019.04.003 [Google Scholar]
  44. Sinanan, Jolynna & Hosein, Gabrielle J.
    2017 Non-activism: Political engagement and Facebook through ethnography in Trinidad. Social Media + Society3(3). doi:  10.1177/2056305117719627
    https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305117719627 [Google Scholar]
  45. Singh, Kelvin
    1994Race and Class Struggles in a Colonial State: Trinidad 1917–1945. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Thrift, Nigel J.
    2008Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect. Routledge: London. 10.4324/9780203946565
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203946565 [Google Scholar]
  47. Van House, Nancy A.
    2011 Personal photography, digital technologies and the uses of the visual. Visual Studies26(2): 125–134. 10.1080/1472586X.2011.571888
    https://doi.org/10.1080/1472586X.2011.571888 [Google Scholar]
  48. Villi, Mikko
    2012 Visual chitchat: The use of camera phones in visual interpersonal communication. Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture3(1): 39–54.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Wilken, Rowan & Goggin, Gerard
    (eds) 2013Mobile Technology and Place. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203127551
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203127551 [Google Scholar]
  50. Wilson, Robert E., Gosling, Samuel D. & Graham, Lindsay T.
    2012 A review of Facebook research in the social sciences. Perspectives on Psychological Science7(3): 203–220. 10.1177/1745691612442904
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691612442904 [Google Scholar]
  51. Wilson, Stacey
    2012Politics of Identity in Small Plural Societies: Guyana, the Fiji Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137012128
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137012128 [Google Scholar]
  52. Yelvington, Kevin A.
    (ed) 1993Trinidad Ethnicity. London: Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. 1995Producing Power: Ethnicity, Gender and Class in a Caribbean Workplace. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Youssef, Valerie
    2011 Finding self in the transition from east to west. InBindi: The Multifaceted Lives of Indo-Caribbean Women, Rosanne Kanhai (ed), 128–147. Mona: University of the West Indies Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Zhao, Sumin & Zappavigna, Michele
    2018 Digital scrapbooks, everyday aesthetics and the curatorial self: Social photography in female visual blogging. InMultimodality and Aesthetics, Elise S. Tønnessen & Freda Forsgren (eds), 218–235. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/jls.19004.sin
Loading
/content/journals/10.1075/jls.19004.sin
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Caribbean , digital images , digital visual communication , ethnography , Facebook , Instagram , social media and Trinidad
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error