Social Media and Multicultural City: A North European Comparison

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 23 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
David HERBERT, Kingston University London, United Kingdom
Janna HANSEN, University of Agder, Norway
It is well established that issues arising from immigration and the visible presence of especially Muslim minorities in Northern European cities have become controversial, and are much covered by the media, coverage in which the relationships between immigrants, Islam and majority society are often framed in conflictual ways (Larsson and Lindekilde 2009, Bangstad 2012). What is less well researched is how these conflictual frames are used, responded to, challenged and dealt with at a local level. This paper will report on the first phase of a mixed method comparative research project (Netherlands, Norway, Denmark) which attempts to capture the local dynamics of mediatisation in a polymedia environment in ethnically diverse areas of northern European cities. The paper will report on three groups of findings arising from our mixed method approach: (i) questionnaire results suggesting that discussion of media content on extremism can serve to reduce perception of cultural threat; (ii) interview findings on the use of/response to mass and social media by ethnic minority activists and (iii) social media analytics and interview findings which reveal how social media use both feeds into changing perceptions of neighbourhood and constructs forms of spatial inclusion and exclusion for some user groups. This evidence suggests that different social media platforms – given their different ‘affordances’ (modes of expression and communication they enable) - are associated with different kinds of stratification and segmentation, depending on their properties and local environments/cultures.