General project description

Migrancy, central to this program, embeds many of the local and global paradoxes that also pertain to digital media with their compression of space and time. However, the link between the two fields is still under-theorised and is in need of more situated and comparative research. Bridging approaches from the humanities and social science, the primary aim of the project is to develop new conceptual tools and an innovative methodological approach that will allow us to monitor, evaluate and assess the socio-cultural specificities of the interaction between youth and digital media in a comparative perspective (migrants versus native utch, Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands versus Mexican migrants in the USA, female versus male).

The comparative research focuses on a) identity construction and global representations, b) development of new learning strategies and socialization patterns, c) new forms of digital literacy and youth networks, and d) differences and similarities of these dynamics in a cross-national comparison. The methodology, based on large scale online surveys, the monitoring of internet use and electronic dairies, video recorded interaction analysis and ethnographic research, will enable to gain insight into the dynamics between these global digital spaces and traditional contexts of socialization.

Moreover, it will locate the study of the effects of digital media in relation to socio-cultural configurations mediated
by nationality, gender and ethnicity, which will be a significant contribution to the debate on digital media.

Read the full project description here.

Project 1:
Identity, globalization and digital media - Koen Leurs


Main supervisor: Ponzanesi, Co-supervisors Leander & De Haan


In this project we will be researching the impact of new digital applications on the identity construction of young Dutch migrants in a
transnational setting. We will investigate whether digital media create an alternative interactive space between the culture of origin and that of immigration, and how issues of identity, gender and ethnicity are negotiated and articulated
between online and offline worlds. This project has two main focal points: a) identity construction and global
representations which will focus on how young migrants use media technologies to define themselves as individuals within the global representation of youth culture; b) participation and consumerism, which will focus on how migrants take
an active part in and are targeted by the cultural industry. By developing new conceptual tools based on qualitative analysis and empirical research, the aim of the project is to integrate ongoing research on youth and digital literacies with a much-needed perspective on migration and cultural difference, and its interrelationship with consumer culture.

Project 2:
Learning and socialization, new media & the migrant condition - Asli Ünlüsoy


Main supervisor: De Haan, Co-Supervisors: Ponzanesi & Leander


In this project we research the effects of the ‘mediatization’ on the learning and socialization of immigrant and Dutch youth. The effects of ‘mediatization’, understood as the impact of new, digital media on social life, are seen as interrelated with a set of broader social changes referred to as the “migrant condition” or the ‘world in motion’. The project takes a socially distributed view of learning, by which 1) learning is conceived as enacted through social and material resources and 2) individual learning is inherently related to collective changes, such as those associated with the migrant condition. Empirically, it studies if and how learning and socialization are differently enacted in what is called ‘new ecologies of learning’ compared to how this is done in traditional settings. Theoretically, the project aims at explaining how these ‘new ecologies of learning’ of our current times relate to the broader changes exemplified by the concept of ‘the migrant condition’.

Project 3:
The digital literacy practices of immigrant youth for the formation of identity and learning networks



Main supervisor Leander, Co-Supervisors De Haan & Ponzanesi

This project is focused on the analysis of the everyday digital literacy practices of Moroccan immigrant youth. While the past several years have seen an increasing amount of research on the digital literacy practices of youth, within and well beyond the Netherlands, relatively little of this work to date has focused on immigrant youth and their productions and interpretations of social media (e.g. web logs, Hyves, YouTube, texting, Twitter, gaming). This project will provide a unique contribution to the field by developing ethnographic studies of youth as they use social media and integrate it into their everyday lives in the Netherlands. We are particularly interested in how digital literacy practices are used to produce identities and learning networks. What are the shapes and scales of new media networks for Moroccan immigrant youth? How are these new networks changing, and how are they related to social networks with longer histories (e.g., extended family, community)? How do networks formed through practices with social media support the development of local, national, and transnational identities? How do such networks also structure new social spaces for learning? These questions are addressed in this project through ethnographic research that will be augmented with other research methods, including social network analysis and survey data.