The Performance of Refugeehood on Social Media in an Era of Superdiversity: A Digital Ethnographic Study of Arab Refugee Identities and Literacies on YouTube
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe internet has increased the visibility of cultures and subcultures that would otherwise remain invisible (Varis & Wang, 2011). This study explores the post-migration identities and literacy practices of one such subculture, namely Arab refugees resettled in Europe, by taking a close look at their social media presence and activism in a superdiverse setting. Using digital ethnography as a methodology, and drawing upon various theoretical perspectives, including notions from Mikhail Bakhtin, Erving Goffman, and Pierre Bourdieu, the study analyzes YouTube videos by two refugee YouTubers from Syria, who have been resettled in Germany and Sweden. By investigating their use of language and other semiotic resources on the social media platform, the aim is to gain insight into their identity performance (Jonsson & Muhonen, 2014) and how they reflect superdiverse conditions. The study builds on a growing body of research exploring superdiversity in digital contexts (e.g., Androutsopoulos & Juffermans, 2014; Stæhr, 2015; Varis, 2017; Varis & Blommaert, 2015). However, two aspects remain largely unaddressed in the literature: the resettlement experiences of Arab refugees as creators of digital content and an explicit examination of power and social justice issues, two gaps this study attempts to fill.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching