Migrant Youths and YouTube Entertainment: Media Participation in Post-Migrant Finland


  • Mikko Malmberg Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Mervi Pantti University of Helsinki




YouTube, post-migrant society, ethnic minorities, self-representation, media participation, entertainment


Recent media studies in Europe have stressed the importance of studying socie- ties’ negotiations on migration and the ability of migrants and other ethnic minorities to participate in these processes. Social media platforms have been widely praised for their openness to culturally diverse voices and representations. For minorities who have often been ignored and misrepresented in traditional media, these platforms arguably provide an empowering space where they can self-represent their identities, provide counter-representations to large and diverse audiences, and enhance their careers as media professionals. The video streaming social media platform, YouTube, is at the forefront of media participation. However, YouTube also has been criticized for promoting a highly commercialized culture of self-commodification and entertainment that maintains the status quo instead of enabling progressive social change. This study presents the results of an examination of the YouTube scene in Finland, a country with the lowest percentage of foreign-born inhabitants in Northern and Western Europe, where few YouTubers with migrant backgrounds have become increasingly visible within the last few years. Drawing on interviews with YouTubers, the study presents new insights into ethnic minority participation on YouTube and challenges binary oppositions between commercialism, entertainment and social change.

Author Biographies

Mikko Malmberg, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

Mikko Malmberg is a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Social Sciences. His PhD project examines how media personalities of migrant background in Finland contest dominant representations of migrants and Finnishness. Malmberg has a master’s degree in Media Studies from Erasmus University Rotterdam

Mervi Pantti, University of Helsinki

Dr. Mervi Pantti is Professor in Media and Communication Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. Her research is concerned with the emotional dimension of mediated communication, crisis and disaster reporting and humanitarian communication. She has published close to 100 articles in academic journals and edited books. She is co-author of Disasters and the Media (with Karin Wahl-Jorgensen and Simon Cottle, Peter Lang, 2012) and editor of Media and The Ukraine Crisis: Hybrid Media Practices and Narratives of Conflict (Peter Lang, 2016). Currently, she serves as associate editor of Journalism Studies.


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How to Cite

Malmberg, M. and Pantti, M. (2020) “Migrant Youths and YouTube Entertainment: Media Participation in Post-Migrant Finland”, Culture Unbound, 12(2), pp. 275–292. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.20200527b.