Papers of BAS. Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 5, 2018, No. 1

INTERNET AND CULTURAL TRANSMISSION: THE CASE OF INDIGENOUS AND IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES IN NEW JERSEY, USA

Iveta Pirgova

Abstract. Regardless of whether the Internet is perceived as a threat to traditional cultures or a form of intercultural dialogue, it is a means of communication with an enormous impact on the cultural processes in the modern societies. Regional and international programs for cultural preservation today co-exist with those focusing on dynamics of cultural habitats and both rely on the Internet for communicating ideas, strategies and/or best practices.

This paper offers a comparison between traditional forms of reproducing folk cultures and the ones facilitated by the Internet as relevant to both “old” and “new” communities in New Jersey, USA. More specifically, the presentation reflects on the use of the Internet for preserving folk cultures as well as modifying cultural elements when (re)defining “cultural roots” and “cultural uniqueness”. My special focus is on the Internet ‘search for’ or ‘presentation of’ “cultural uniqueness” when traditional forms of cultural transmission have been disrupted or when ethnic cultures have become associated with minority groups in the multicultural context of the American society. The last part of the paper presents a discussion on the various forms of cultural diffusion and online presentation of “our” culture. The examples are based on a field research conducted in the southern part of the state over a period of ten years.

Key words: Internet, cultural roots, cultural uniqueness, cultural transmission, cultural preservation