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