Back to overview

Exploring media use among migrant families in Europe. Theoretical foundations and reflections

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Dhoest Alexander, Nikunen Kaarina, Cola Marta,
Project The role of media in cultural and social identities construction. The case of Kosovar immigrants in Switzerland
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Observatorio (OBS*)
Volume (Issue) special issue
Page(s) 13 - 31
Title of proceedings Observatorio (OBS*)

Open Access


This article advocates the further development of research on media uses in the context of migrant families and reflects critically on the conceptual and theoretical framework for such research. First, the concept of migrant audiences is dissected. Why single out these particular audiences? We discuss the terms "migrants" and "immigrants", "ethnic minorities" and "diasporic audiences", focusing on issues of essentialism and pointing out the complexity of multiple, fluid, intersectional identifications and "super-diversity". Second, we discuss the family as a key context for media uses, both in general and specifically in relation to migrant audiences. Third, we further elaborate on two concepts which help us to theorise and research diasporic media uses. On the one hand, hybridity is often used to describe the transnational identification of (young) diasporic audiences, but there is a need for further empirical research on the various contexts shaping hybrid identity positions in Europe. On the other hand, cosmopolitanism could be a powerful framework for research, provided that we focus on concrete cosmopolitan competences in local, everyday and mediated social contexts. Overall, this paper makes a case for transnational, comparative research aiming to do justice to the diversity of diasporic family constellations and media uses across Europe.