Poetic Resistance: Karen Long-Distance Nationalism, Rap Music, and YouTube

Hill, Charlotte. 2022. Poetic Resistance: Karen Long-Distance Nationalism, Rap Music, and YouTube. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 25(1), pp. 30-50. ISSN 1367-8779 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article investigates a concern among encamped elder Karen refugees (an ethnic minority from Myanmar) living along the Thai-Myanmar border that the youth are disconnected politically and culturally. I argue that Karen youth are creative, active participants reimagining and revitalising Karen politics and culture in their image. I explore how displaced youths have found a voice in Karen rap and how they express this voice in the digitally mediated lived space of YouTube. I consider YouTube as a lived space where citizenship is re-imagined and long-distance nationalism is articulated. Finally, I contend that YouTube is transforming Karen youths’ political experiences and mobility and that they are actively political - just not in the way the elders expect.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



digitally mediated spaces, Karen refugees, long-distance nationalism, rap music, refugee camp, youth politics, YouTube

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


9 June 2021Accepted
21 October 2021Published Online
January 2022Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

28 Jul 2021 08:04

Last Modified:

20 Jan 2022 03:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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