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Mobility and Social Media: Rethinking the Role of Social Media in International Migration

Hardlife Stephen Basure and Vivian Besem Ojong


Published: 2023/12/01


This paper examines the ways in which social media are shaping different elements of mobility among foreign African migrants in Durban, South Africa. The paper is based on the anthropological methods of ethnography and netnography. Utilizing narratives from study participants in Durban as well as social media analysis, the paper explores the instrumentality of social media in influencing different elements of mobility, including adaptation, perceptions and experiences about migration, social cohesion, and communication dynamics among migrants. The paper uses Pessar and Mahler’s (2003) concept of social location to capture the fluidity that social media brings and to contextualize migrants’ positionality in relation to social media use. It is the major observation of the study that social media platforms are an important determinant of migration and adaptation patterns for migrants. They act as important platforms for sharing information, experiences and opportunities, therefore making them an integral component of the migration experience. They can even be useful for the prognosis of future migration patterns. Keywords: Migration, Social media, African migrants, South Africa, Adaptation

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