Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Science


Amy Lutz


Cuba;immigrant incorporation;migration;new destination;social media;social networks

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


This dissertation investigates the phenomenon of Cuban migration and highlights the critical role that social networks play in facilitating the process of emigration, settlement, and the formation of new identities for Cuban migrants in Syracuse. With a focus on the most recent waves of Cuban migrants, the study explores how social networks have become integral in shaping the migration experiences of these new Cubans, enabling them to navigate the challenges and opportunities associated with emigrating and settling in Syracuse, NY, a non-gateway city. This research employs a qualitative approach, drawing on in-depth interviews of twenty-five participants, participant observations, and analysis of various forms of digital and offline social networks. This study offers insights into the intimate complexities of their journeys, shedding light on the ways in which social networks are instrumental in facilitating migration and supporting the establishment of new lives in new environments. The dissertation begins by delving into motivations behind Cuban migration, encompassing a range of factors such as economic opportunities, political circumstances, and family reunification. It then explores the mechanisms through which social networks are utilized by Cuban migrants, both in pre-departure phase, the journey phase, and during the settlement process. The analysis examines how these networks provide capital in the form of practical assistance, information sharing, emotional support, and access to resources, which are crucial for successful migration and community integrations. These newest Cuban migrants connect with their social networks in an unprecedented way through the use of social media in each part of their journey, necessitating the introduction of a new wave of Cuban migrants, Los Comunicados. Furthermore, the study investigates the transformative role of social networks in shaping new identities among Cuban migrants. It explores how individuals negotiate and construct their identities as they adapt to the cultural, social, and economic contexts of their new destination. This research examines how social networks serve as platforms for identity negotiation, providing spaces for individuals to connect with others who share similar experiences, values, and aspirations. Ultimately, this dissertation contributes to the existing literature on Cuban migration by identifying a new wave and offering a nuanced understanding of Cuban migration dynamics and the ways social networks shape migrants’ experiences. The findings provide valuable insights for policymakers, practitioners, and scholars, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and harnessing the potential of both digital and offline social networks in facilitating successful migration outcomes, fostering integration, and promoting Cuban migrants’ well-being in their new destination location.


Open Access

Included in

Sociology Commons