CFC: Multiethnic Southeast Asia and Social Media: Identity, Ethnicity, Community and Migration

Catherine Gomes's picture



Multiethnic Southeast Asia and Social Media: Identity, Ethnicity, Community and Migration

Projected to be published by Anthem Press


This edited collection aims to document ethnic, community and migrant identities and anxieties in the face of the changing ethnographic landscape of Southeast Asia in the age of social media.  Digital ethnography with its emphasis on social media is a burgeoning research field.  Social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogs, Vlogs, Pin It, Tumblr, Weibo, WeChat, QQ etc.) is arguably the most effective mode of network broadcast communication today.  It is a platform that allows users to document and express their individual and collective identities while providing a sense of belonging and agency.

Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore are neither monoethnic nor monocultural due to conflict and change in their histories (e.g. colonialism, war and economic growth).  Instead they are sites of ethnic minorities, some of which have hybridised cultural ethnicities such as the Eurasians and the Peranakans.  These ethnic minorities often perform their cultural practices parallel to the dominant ethnic culture in their home nation.

Meanwhile, migration due to the global movements of people for work, study and lifestyle is part of everyday life with 3.2 per cent of the world’s population (232 million people) made up of international migrants (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2013).  In Southeast Asia the circulation of both skilled and unskilled labour together with a growing number of students from within and outside the region has become commonplace, particularly in the rapidly growing economies of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.  The presence of these migrants has been acknowledged to have favourable economic effects such as contributing to the growth of host nation industries and remittance to the home nation while at the same time contributing to a diversity of ethnicities and cultures never seen before.  The presence of both permanent and temporary migrants has created a heightened sense of anxiety among locals who perceive migrants to be competitors for employment and as direct threats to the social and cultural fabric of the nation. 

By using social media as a tool of inquiry, this edited collection maps the ways in which ethnic minorities articulate their identities and examines the ways in which locals and migrants cope with each other so as to uncover the methods by which migration affects individuals and communities.  It will feature essays dealing with but not limited to the following themes: nationalism, belonging, integration, (online) communities, multiculturalism, interculturalism, digital activism, anxiety over migrants, xenophobia and new racisms.

Production Details

The proposed length of the book is 10 chapters of 6,000-8,000 words authored by leading experts from diverse disciplines such as Digital Ethnography, Media and Communication Studies, Migration Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Southeast Asian Studies and Politics who will be able to provide critical in-depth discussion of the emerging issues related to multi-ethnic identities and anxieties in the age of social media and the global circulation of people

Recommended Topics

The focus of this book is to use social media as a tool to uncover new forms of and networks of nationalism as a consequence of migration in Southeast Asia while aiding contemporary discussions of racism and xenophobia in this age of social media and mass migration, as well as mapping the intersections of the relationships between migrants and locals.  Topics to be discussed in this publication include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Social media as a platform for changing representations and cultures of identity (e.g. digital activism, identity formation, modes of representation and network media and communication)
  • Community, multiculturalism, belonging and agency among ethnic minorities
  • Migrant anxieties, nationalism, xenophobia, new racisms
  • Agency, empowerment, integration and belonging among migrant communities
  • The role played by local and foreign governments in creating a sense of belonging for migrants to the host and home nations through social media.

Submission Procedure

Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit a chapter proposal by 7 March, 2014. The proposal should explain scope of the proposed chapter and its alignment with the theme for the book. The proposal should not be longer than 600 words. Chapter proposals should be accompanied by a brief biography for each of the chapter authors.

Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by 30 March, 2014.

Full chapters are expected to be submitted by 30 July, 2014.

All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a blind peer-review basis.

Potential Contributors

Scholars and practitioners working on ethnicity, race, migration and community with a focus on social media in Southeast Asia.

Please send all inquires and submissions by email (attached word document) to:

Dr. Catherine Gomes

RMIT University