Dissertation Abstracts

Hybrid Identities of Euro-Arab Rappers in Cyberspace

Author: Alia Rabio, alia.rabio@unimi.it
Department: Sociology and Methodology of Social Research
University: University of Milan, Italy
Supervisor: Prof. Paola Rebughini
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: digital diaspora , ethnomusicology , hip-hop studies , youth identities
Areas of Research: Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change , Communication, Knowledge and Culture , Visual Sociology


The research aims to study the Arab rappers who reached Europe post-Arab uprising (2011 onwards) and are helping in providing space for culture to be viewed and analysed as ‘text’. I premise that a diaspora can be analysed through cultural elements that symbolically tie the new country of settlement to the homeland. Hence, the set of rappers I am proposing to study, a subgenre of the wider area of hip-hop music i.e., ‘conscious rap’ or self-reflective rap. It differs from most hip-hop as it promotes awareness of socio-political, economic and cultural issues. The purpose of this research is to understand the quest, outreach and the assumed social responsibility of Euro-Arab rappers as social media influencers (SMI) in transmitting their message within the Euro-Arab community and constructing Arab youth online/digital identity – within Arab community as well as across and beyond Arab communities in European countries. The focus is on how the dynamics of the global transnational community functions today in relation to this kind of dialogue i.e. both within (intra-community) or across (inter-community), in a variety of shapes and shades with different degrees and levels of affiliation. Rappers can express their ideas employing a wide assortment of musical instruments, an array of dialects and languages and virtually address any topic.