Ambiguous Loss and the Media Practices of Transnational Latina Teens: A Qualitative Study

Drawing on ethnographic data from a study with 17 working-class, transnational Latina teens, I examine the media practices they perform to cope with ambiguous loss. According to Pauline Boss (1993, 1999, 2006), ambiguous loss refers to a distinct type of loss that defies closure, such as the feelings of the family of a missing person. My findings suggest that Latina teens use media to recreate cultural spaces, bridge gaps between the familiar and the foreign, and sustain a sense of historical continuity. I argue that many of the teens’ media practices are rituals of both bereavement and reincarnation; as such, media practices may be essential not only to successfully cope with ambiguous loss but also to develop resiliency and to construct transnational subjectivities.

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