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Liminality in narratives of integration: Articulation of digital ethnicity in social media use by migrants to Sweden

Mitra, Amit; Evansluong, Quang; Diedrich, Andreas


Amit Mitra
Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Operations Mgmt

Andreas Diedrich


Given challenging conditions in different parts of the world, it is no wonder that people undertake journeys to regions where they may feel secure, seek refuge, be able to acquire a livelihood, as well as carry on a type of living. Migration is therefore an inevitability of the contemporary world. At the same time when migrants arrive in a country that they have hitherto never been to, there is an expectation that they will integrate into the host country’s way of life, buy into shared beliefs and prevalent value systems. Therefore deconstruction of their digital narratives of migrant journeys may lead to conceptualisation of unique dimensions of an emergent online ethnicity and consequent integration. Despite a growing interest in social media use, relatively little is known about why or how migrants leverage influence on practices that would enable them to integrate into host societies. Preliminary evidence on social media use among migrants to European countries like Germany do not attest to any unalloyed blessing in aiding integration. In contrast there are pointers that indicate social media based interaction of migrants is indeed encouraging the opposite effects of isolation, and consequent ghetto-isation. Drawing upon concepts of digital anthropology, we argue that migrants’ use of social media creates a liminality that is synonymous to ambiguity and disorientation that may diminish through a composite adaptation of acculturation and ethnic identity. Evidence for the study was collected through in-depth interviews of migrants in several Swedish cities including Stockholm, Jönköping, Malmö, and Gothenburg.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Nov 6, 2019
Institution Citation Mitra, A., Evansluong, Q., & Diedrich, A. (2019, November). Liminality in narratives of integration: Articulation of digital ethnicity in social media use by migrants to Sweden. Paper presented at Organizing Migration and Integration in Contemporary Societies - OMICS Conference, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden