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Virtual migrant communities: 'Orkut' and the Brazilian case

[working paper]

Schrooten, Mieke

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Corporate Editor Universität Bielefeld, Fak. für Soziologie, Centre on Migration, Citizenship and Development (COMCAD)
Abstract "This paper attempts to provide some insights into ethnography on the internet, more specifically research on the use of Social Network Sites (SNSs) by migrants. Starting from the Brazilian migrant communities in Europe, it raises the question of the usability of the analysis of virtual migrant communities for the study of transnational networks. Can offline and online observations be combined? Does virtual research lead to high quality data? The paper illustrates the methodology of virtual research by exploring the example of the online social network site ‘Orkut’ which is enormously popular among Brazilians, both among those who are residing within Brazil as among those who migrate. Providing an important resource for migrants from different social classes, Orkut plays a significant role as an access gate to information and as a place where the status of Brazilian migrants can be discussed. It also functions as a stage to re-affirm Brazilian nationality. Within the variety of Brazilian websites, magazines and satellite channels, Orkut is often mentioned as the most important application to keep in touch with other Brazilians inside and outside Brazil. Recognizing the growing importance of SNSs such as Orkut, a growing body of scholarship addresses several aspects of these sites and the practices they enable. Most scholars recognise the importance of these SNSs for community formation and the formation of a diasporic public sphere. This paper highlights the significance of social network sites as a topic of research. The fact that participation on social network sites leaves online traces offers unprecedented opportunities for researchers. Even so, because of the relatively recentness of SNSs, there are some methodological and ethical limitations. These will also be discussed and further explored." [author's abstract]
Keywords virtual community; migrant; Brazil; information; migration; social network; ethnography; Internet
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration; Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology; Interactive, electronic Media
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
City Bielefeld
Page/Pages 18 p.
Series COMCAD Working Papers, 80
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne