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Liminality in narratives of integration: Influence of social media use on situational ethnicity of migrants

Mitra, Amit; Evansluong, Quang


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Amit Mitra
Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Operations Mgmt


Given difficult conditions in different regions of the world, it is no wonder that people embark on 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. At the same time, when migrants arrive in a new 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. Many migrants are active social media users and so their digital proclivities tend to define their narratives as does their physical realities. Therefore, deconstruction of digital narratives of migrants may lead to a conceptualisation of transitional ethnicities pertaining to virtual and physical journeys. Preliminary evidence on social media use among migrants to Germany, do not attest to the unalloyed blessing that social media is in aiding integration. In contrast social media-based engagement by migrants highlights encouragement of effects of isolation, and consequent ghetto-isation. Drawing upon extant literature on anthropology of migration, 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 virtual and physical ethnic identities. Evidence for the study was collected through in-depth interviews of migrants in several Swedish cities including Stockholm, Jönköping, Malmö, and Gothenburg.


Mitra, A., & Evansluong, Q. (2018, August). Liminality in narratives of integration: Influence of social media use on situational ethnicity of migrants. Paper presented at 19th Nordic Migration Research Conference 2018 (NMR-Conference)

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 19th Nordic Migration Research Conference 2018 (NMR-Conference)
Start Date Aug 15, 2018
End Date Aug 17, 2018
Acceptance Date Mar 7, 2018
Publication Date Jun 30, 2018
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-9
Keywords situational ethnicity, digital ethnicity, anthropology of migration, migrant identity, host community, social media
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : 19th Nordic Migration Research Conference


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