Karen Women (re)constructing the Self Through Rap: Crossing Boundaries and Navigating Lived Spaces



Drawing on the case study of a young woman rapper living in protracted displacement in a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border, I argue that media, mediated communication practices, and mediated environments afford encamped women refugees a portal to communicate and have a presence beyond the camp gates. The case study of Pu Dah, a Karen woman, articulates her identities, presence and everyday realities from within the confinement of the camp and questions if, and if so how, she transcends different spaces and demonstrates boundary crossings. The argument is based on in-depth interviews with Pu Dah, complemented by an analysis of her music, personal videos and photographs she has uploaded to spaces such as YouTube and Facebook. I conclude that her music and media practices not only allow her to transcend borders and boundaries but also challenge the traditional Karen social status.

Author Biography

Charlotte Hill, Department of Media Arts and Design, Chiang Mai University

Charlotte Hill is a lecturer of media and cultural studies at the Department of Media Arts and Design, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Having lived and worked in Thailand since 2008, her ethnographic research explores the role of media and mediated practices in the everyday lives of displaced and encamped people.



2022-11-07 — Updated on 2022-11-18