Springer Nature

How migrants manifest their transnational identity through online social networks: comparative findings from a case of Koreans in Germany

Posted on 2021-03-22 - 04:09
Abstract Although migration has long been an imperative topic in social sciences, there are still needs of study on migrants’ unique and dynamic transnational identity, which heavily influences the social integration in the host society. In Online Social Network (OSN), where the contemporary migrants actively communicate and share their stories the most, different challenges against migrants’ belonging and identity and how they cope or reconcile may evidently exist. This paper aims to scrutinise how migrants are manifesting their belonging and identity via different technological types of online social networks, to understand the relations between online social networks and migrants’ multi-faceted transnational identity. The research introduces a comparative case study on an online social movement led by Koreans in Germany via their online communities, triggered by a German TV advertisement considered as stereotyping East Asians given by white supremacy’s point of view. Starting with virtual ethnography on three OSNs representing each of internet generations (Web 1.0 ~ Web 3.0), two-step Qualitative Data Analysis is carried out to examine how Korean migrants manifest their belonging and identity via their views on “who we are” and “who are others”. The analysis reveals how Korean migrants’ transnational identities differ by their expectation on the audience and the members in each online social network, which indicates that the distinctive features of the online platform may encourage or discourage them in shaping transnational identity as a group identity. The paper concludes with the two main emphases: first, current OSNs comprising different generational technologies play a significant role in understanding the migrants’ dynamic social values, and particularly, transnational identities. Second, the dynamics of migrants’ transnational identity engages diverse social and situational contexts. (keywords: transnational identity, migrants’ online social networks, stereotyping migrants, technological evolution of online social network).


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