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. (2018, May). Technologies of freedom: Digital ethnicity of migrants. Presented at 2nd Gelisim-UWE International Conference on Economics, Finance and Management