Exploring Media Use among Migrant Families in Europe: Theoretical Foundations and Reflections


  • Alexander Dhoest University of Antwerp
  • Kaarina Nikunen University of Tampere, Finland
  • Marta Cola Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland




Media use, diaspora, migrants, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, families


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.

Author Biography

Alexander Dhoest, University of Antwerp

is associate professor in communication studies at the University of Antwerp. His research focuses on uses of media in relation to social (national, cultural, ethnic and sexual) identities.




How to Cite

Dhoest, A., Nikunen, K., & Cola, M. (2013). Exploring Media Use among Migrant Families in Europe: Theoretical Foundations and Reflections. Observatorio (OBS*). https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS002013663