Women and young girls tell their stories on migration and media practices: Generational order and identity positions
2010 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Migrant women is an important group in the debate about citizenship and participation as studies have shown that they (at least in some ethnic communities) seem to be more isolated from the broader society compared to men. Studies have indicated that migrant women risk marginalization as they are caught in an intersection of being immigrants and women (Gillespie, 1995; Berger, 2004). However, gender issues have so far got little attention, as compared to studies on religion and class. This paper will therefore look more specifically at gender, in this case women and their lived experiences of migration and the role of media in the migration process. Special attention is devoted to whether the Internet may be used as a means of empowerment and its significance for social, cultural and religious purposes and participation. Also, implications for exercising citizenship practices, both in the homeland and in the “new” country are highlighted. Women’s specific Internet use will be analyzed with relation to their everyday experiences (and life as a family) but also in relation to these women’s concerns about exclusion/inclusion (social, economic, political) in society. The concerns raised in this paper evoke the broader question about citizenship in the sense of participation, i.e. the more active involvement of citizens in shaping their futures. We draw upon the concept of ‘fragmented citizenship’ here (Wiener, 1997) as it acknowledges the potential distinction between the notion of belonging and the more legal aspect of nationality. For diasporic communities, the notion of fragmented citizenship is an everyday experience, as waiting for a residence permit (legal belonging) can be at odds with participation in the new society as migrants and residents at the same time. The analysis will also be framed within current discussions on civic culture (Dahlgren, 2006) and the need to rethink traditional parameters of citizenship, and its focus on the public sphere, and instead look into the terrain of the private and the experiential domain of everyday life. Such a discussion may increase our understanding of how diasporic women negotiate both a ‘diasporic gender identity’ in terms of old and new belongings as well as their capacity for participation and citizenship, that is, empowerment and recognition in the private and public spheres. Nancy Fraser (1992) argues from a gender perspective, in her well known critique of habermasian theory of the public sphere, for multiplicity of publics as a means to create spaces of participation especially for marginalized groups. And therefore the analysis has also to consider that the rise of communicative spaces is not exclusively indebted to new communication technology: there are other spaces of participation relevant in the everyday lives of migrant women that also need to be identified. The paper is based on an in-depth study with migrant families living in Sweden that was carried out during a period of three years implying interviews and observations in home-settings. The methodological approach is a phenomenological and narrative perspective in order to understand a small group of women’s perceptions and interpretations of daily life in the light of their Internet practices.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. 24 s.- p.
media, women, migration, generation, identity, positional theory
Media and Communications
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-16155OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-16155DiVA: diva2:439061
3rd European Communication Conference, ECREA, Hamburg, October 12-15, 2010
FunderSwedish Research Council, 421-2003-1744