Vortrag: Koen Leurs (PhD student at Utrecht University (NL)

Koen Leurs ( Utrecht, NL): Mediated crossroads: the impact of digital applications on the identity construction of young Dutch-Moroccans

Koen Leurs is a PhD student in Gender Studies, at the Media and Culture Studies Department at Utrecht University (NL)

Description of the lecture:

Youth born from parents who migrated to the Netherlands from Morocco, experience various junctions in their everyday, transitional journeys of adolescence, youth culture and diaspora. Multiple intersecting issues of age, generation, class, education, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ‘race’, religion and nationality become invoked. As young people increasingly participate in a mediated world, the question arises whether young Dutch-Moroccans perform local ethnic identities, re-articulate transnational affiliations or adapt to mainstream global representations of youth culture? Do they engage in multiply located self-positioning or attach to homogenized identity models that circulate? Therefore, I will explore in the talk the ways in which various digital media applications such as online social networking sites, instant messenger, online discussion boards and video sharing platforms are used to setup alternative interactive spaces between cultures of origin, diaspora, youth culture and cultures of immigration. Attention is paid to the ways in which the internet is mutually co-constructed in youth’ online practices, paying attention on the one hand to the medium specific, structuring principles of the internet and inscriptions left by global cultural industries as well as on the other hand opportunities for appropriation and subversion. In my talk I will also trace my personal trajectory of developing the methodological toolbox of the study. The research process broadly speaking consisted of three phases: (1) a large-scale survey, (2) in-depth interviews, and (3) ethnographically informed textual/discourse analysis. With phase 1, I learned more about what youth commonly do online. In phase 2, my aim was to find out why youth do what they do online and in phase 3, I aimed to take a closer look athow youth perform their identities online.