Ethnicity in digital crossroads. Understanding processes of cultural thickening in a mediatized world | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2040-4344
  • E-ISSN: 2040-4352



This article discusses existing approaches to ethnic community building in diaspora and suggests that the concept of ‘cultural thickening’ can be useful for the understanding of ethnicity in a ‘mediatized world’. It is argued that in everyday life, ethnicity is continuously being (re-)constructed through repetitive practices of mediated and non-mediated communication, through which ethnic boundary-making takes place. This theoretical framework is then discussed through the cases of four diasporic websites of the Moroccan and Turkish diaspora that are analysed through media ethnography. It is argued, firstly, that communication spaces for negotiations about ethnicity are expanded by these websites. Through debates on ‘banal’ practices of everyday life relating to different fields such as cooking, sports or education among others, the users of the websites discuss who belongs to their community and what it means to belong to the community. Second, using these diasporic websites becomes a shared characteristic of the ethnic community in the eyes of the members of diasporas.


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