We Are Therefore I Am: Social Media and Ethnocentrism

By Narciso Cellan.

Published by The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Kenya and in many parts of Africa, community plays a critical role in the growth of a person and in shaping one’s personal identity. John Mbiti’s (1969) maxim “I am because we are; we are therefore I am” captures the socio-anthropological and ideological concept of being an African. Selfhood to the African means Ubuntu, which is achieving full humanity through communalism and sociality (Magesa, 2014). For many young Kenyans nowadays, however, community is no longer just their home village or members of their ethnic group. This study thus seeks to investigate Facebook’s implication on the ethnocentric tendencies of young Kenyans, taking into account social media’s borderless sociality. This research uses self-administered questionnaires distributed to ten percent of student population of two universities (public and private, as well as to all members of two youth organizations). Using statistical procedures, relationships between social media use and the way young Kenyans link up and interact with peers from different cultural communities and their ethnocentric views are analyzed. This study attempts to determine how young Kenyans renegotiate their cultural identity with interactants on social media. It provides insights on the importance and drawback of social media for nation building and for greater socio-cultural integration of Kenya’s citizens.

Keywords: Social Media, Ethnocentrism, Multiculturality

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 13, Issue 1, March 2017, pp.11-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 752.178KB).

Dr. Narciso Cellan

Director, Institute of Social Communication, Tangaza University College, Nairobi, Kenya

Narciso Cellan became the Director of the Institute of Social Communication (Nairobi) of Tangaza University College in 2009 and has held the office till the present.