Young connected migrants


Jonge verbonden migranten: Een vergelijking van het internetgebruik van jonge asielzoekers en vluchtelingen en expats. 

Jeugdige asielzoekers, vluchtelingen en expats hebben digitaal contact met hun thuisland en aankomstland. Ik vergelijk ervaringen van deze jongeren in Nederland om te achterhalen of internet gebruik leidt tot segregatie en/of integratie. Het onderzoek omvat interviews, online en offline observaties en analyseert smartphones als een broekzakarchief met betekenisvolle foto’s.

Dit project is mogelijk gemaakt door een VENI subsidie verstrekt door de Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (project nummer 275-45-007).


Young connected migrants: Comparing digital practices of young asylum seekers, refugees and expatriates in the Netherlands.

This project considers how expat and refugee young people living in the Netherlands digitally encapsulate themselves in bubbles and develop a cosmopolitan stance towards others. Previously, digital practices of forced migrants and expatriates were studied in isolation. This comparative project highlights power relations, reveals continuities and discontinuities and nuances understandings of “who migrants are” .

This project is financed by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research VENI grant,  project reference ‘275-45-007’.

Digital media use provides a timely entry-point to explore the migrant condition from the perspective of migrants themselves: migration and digital technologies are both characterized by paradoxical experiences of space and time. Digital diasporas are attracting scholarly interest.

However, our understanding of migrant youths is limited because adult, working-class, labor migrants have received most attention. With a few notable exceptions, there is very little scholarly focus on young connected migrants . Although scholars emphasize the diversity of migrants, internal differences among young migrants are understudied. For example, no monographs exist on technology use among young forced migrants or expatriates. This gap is notable, given common representations of youth as “digital natives” born in a technologically advanced era who are assumed to effortlessly adopt sophisticated technologies.

Creative, participatory and digital techniques are combined during three phases of data gathering: 1) In-depth interviews; 2) virtual ethnography; and 3) A photo voice activity where informants are invited to share and reflect on self-selected photographs from their mobile phone archive.

This innovative study will have a three-fold impact. Academic debates in media, gender and postcolonial studies about migration and ICTs will be diversified. Results about learning and rights will be shared with relevant practitioners and policy-makers. The photo exhibition will provide the general audience a more inclusive view of Dutch society and everyday European multiculturalism.


We live here, and we are queer!: Young gay connected migrant network and identity formations in the Netherlands

Jeffrey Patterson is a masters student in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He has his undergraduate degree in Sociology and holds a minor in Psychology from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. His growing interest in digital diaspora research and the critical perspective of intersectionality led him to this particular study. 

For part of Jeffrey’s masters programme Youth, Education, and Society he is currently conducting a thesis research project ‘We live here, and we are queer!: Young gay connected migrant network and identity formations in the Netherlands’ investigating their digital practices and online identity performances. This research is part of the broader VENI project ‘Young Connected Migrants’ of Koen Leurs. Jeffrey’s academic interests include gender and sexualities, and is looking to broaden his knowledge in critical and cultural media studies (particularly digital media studies) and identity construction. 

For any further questions, he can be contacted via email