06 SES 09 A, Learning, Playing & Reflecting
Wars, political instability, poverty, the hope of a better future, the socio-economic gradient between the shores of the Mediterranean push crowds of migrants to venture into often dangerous sea-crossings that, every day, give back us news reports of shipwrecks or, more and more rarely, of rescues at sea.
Those who succeed to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean try to maintain a relationship with their origins: social networks, with their virtual squares, allow them to weave and maintain relationships, to build a bridge over the Mediterranean that puts them in communication with their own culture and their families of origin (Dekker et al., 2018; Cassar et al., 2016). Immigrants, in fact, thanks to social networks, can share their days with friends and relatives thousands of miles away, but also meet up with their compatriots in Italy. Furthermore, ethnic immigrants’ online social networks serve as important venues and channels when they attempt to improve their knowledge or understanding about the rules of the host country’s social institutions (Codagnone and Kluzer, 2020). At the same time, through digital devices they can make new friends with Italians or other immigrants; in this way they can also throw bridges between cultures, bridges that foresees that integration is not a process of metamorphosis but of dialogue, of mutual enrichment, of construction of new shared knowledge of citizenship (Borkert et al., 2009).
Immigrant incorporation and enduring transnational practices, in fact, are not antithetical but simultaneous processes that mutually inform each other (Levitt and Glick Schiller, 2004). Migration scholars in facts recognise that many people maintain ties to their countries of origin at the same time as they become integrated into the countries that receive them; many of them predict, however, that transnational attachments will confine themselves to the first generation. The children of immigrants are not likely to engage in their ancestral homes with the same intensity and frequency as their parents, nor will they be as influenced by homeland values and practices (Nedelcu, 2012).
This new notion of citizenship, therefore, passes through the use of Social Networks: through the sharing of images of people, places and foods that tell stories from all over the world it is possible to break down prejudices, reduce distances and bring closer the differences. Social networks, in this sense, are transformed and change their original declination from a place of interpersonal relationship to become a space for dissemination, knowledge, exchange and comparison (Erdem, 2018).
The research was conducted through interviews with migrants and second-generation immigrants aged between 16 and 18 years. The research does not claim to define an exhaustive representation of the processes of integration/exclusion in the awareness, moreover, of the multiplicity of variables involved (countries of origin, age, education, etc.) that influence these processes. The aim of the research was to highlight the critical issues relating to the use of digital spaces in the absence of specific media training and the need, therefore, to rethink digital and media literacy paths for migrants and immigrants of second generation. The interviews focused on the media consumption of respondents and, in particular, on their use of the most famous social networks and social media: Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp. In particular, the study was focused on Facebook use since it is the social media platform most commonly used by migrants.
It emerged the different use of social networks by second-generation immigrants, on the one hand, and new migrants, on the other. A first consideration concerns the inclusive dimension of such applications: the use by 'newcomers' makes it clear, in fact, how these apps/platforms are functional to the realization of closed networks of contacts, despite the widespread use of public posts and, therefore, in this dimension they are certainly not-inclusive. Facebook, in fact, allows for the maintenance of strong ties and contact with family and friends in the home country. Yet it also facilitates the creation of what is called in social-network analysis weak ties, which allow for the acquisition of ‘information ready for use’ and immediate access to real-time information from other networks or sources. Facebook is also one of the best social–media sites for developing a pool of new latent ties, as simply “liking” a page provides the user with access to its content. The use of these applications therefore presents the risk, following this logic, of the radicalization of positions: on the one hand, the phenomena of homologation and, on the other, those of exclusion or self-exclusion: it is possible to incur in the risk of the 'mythization' of the culture of origin in spite of the causes that determined the migratory process and the difficulties encountered during the trip; social media, by building a privileged communication channel with its own past, make the migrant totally reject the culture of the country of arrival and favors that he join small groups. On the contrary, may happen the total rejection of one's roots, the total severing of all ties with the culture of origin and the total adherence to the culture of the destination country.
Cassar C. M., Gauci J.-P., Bacchi A. (2016), Migrants’ Use of Social Media in Malta, The People for Change Foundation, Malta. Codagnone C., Kluzer S. (2020). ICT for the Social and Economic Integration of Migrants into Europe. Colucci E., Smidt H., Devaux A., Vrasidas C., Safarjalani M., Castaño Muñoz J. (2017) Free Digital Learning Opportunities for Migrants and Refugees. An Analysis of Current Initiatives and Recommendations for their Further Use; EUR 28559 EN; doi:10.2760/684414 Dekker R., Engbersen G. (2014). How social media transform migrant networks and facilitate migration. Global Networks, 14, 401–418. Dekker R., Engbersen G., Faber M. (2016). The use of online media in migration networks. Population, Space and Place, 22, 539–551. Dekker R., Engbersen G., Klaver J., Vonk H. (2018). Smart Refugees: How Syrian Asylum Migrants Use Social Media Information in Migration Decision-Making. Social Media + Society. 4. 205630511876443. 10.1177/2056305118764439. Erdem B. (2018), How Can Social Media Be Helpful for Immigrants to Integrate Society in the US, European Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies Articles, European Center for Science Education and Research, vol. 3, EJMS May. Kluzer S., Hache S., Borkert M., Cingolani P., Premazzi V. (2009). The State of the Art of Research in the EU on the Take up and Use of ICT by Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities. Levitt P. (2009), Roots and Routes: Understanding the Lives of the Second Generation Transnationally, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35:7, 1225-1242, DOI: 10.1080/13691830903006309 Levitt P., Glick Schiller N. (2004), Conceptualizing simultaneity: A transnational social field perspective on society, International Migration Review 38(3): 1002-1039. Nedelcu M. (2012): Migrants' New Transnational Habitus: Rethinking. Migration Through a Cosmopolitan Lens in the Digital Age, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI:10.1080/1369183X.2012.698203 Pischetola M., Sozzani C. (2018), The impact of digital networking on the life of asylum seekers in Italy, Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture, 10.1386/cjmc.9.2.253_1, 9, 2, (253-263).
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