The Role of Social Networking Sites in “Korean Adoptee” Bicultural Identity Formation
From existing literature on acculturation, it is unclear what the process of biculturalism may be for immigrants who immigrate alone, are not socialized into the heritage culture by their parents, or who do not have access to supportive social contexts during their formative years. With the proliferation of social networking sites, online space may serve an important role for bicultural identity development in lieu of other social contexts. Using data from 18 months of participant observation at Korean adoptee events, an online survey (N=107), and 37 in-depth interviews with Korean adoptee adults, I find that some adoptees identify distinctly as “Korean adoptees,” an identity that merges their white cultural upbringing, Korean heritage culture exploration, and adoptive status. This identity is a form of biculturalism, though one that develops devoid of traditional avenues of bicultural identity processes. I argue that bicultural identity processes must include individual-initiated heritage culture exploration and the role of social networking sites.