Diasporic Media: Is it Integration, or Ethnification?

Imagine re-settling in a country-perhaps out of pure necessity-where you are isolated, struggle to speak the language and long for familiar surroundings. Yet when you turn on the television for comfort, there is only foreign content, produced for another culture, with different themes and values to your own…

For many migrant families, this is the reality of immigration. This absence of recognisable media content may deter individuals from integrating into the new society; as they are stripped of the confidence to network.

More recently, however, there has been a proliferation of what is known as ‘diasporic media’. ‘Diaspora’ refers a dispersal of people; from this, diasporic media can be understood as media content that is relative to, representative of or produced by these people. Where mainstream media appeals to the majority, diasporic media targets the interests of minority audiences. This is said to help socialise these communities into their new environments, the goal being to “enhance the confidence of minority ethnic individuals”.

Turkish-German director, Faith Akin, is cited as a key figure in the diasporic film-industry. His films portray the common “migrant’s experience of rootlessness, of culture clash and of living between two worlds.” Research suggests that such media is rapidly increasing in popularity, with more than 85% of Turkish-German households watching diasporic channels.

Whilst this appears to be a positive development, there has been an expression of concern from the German mainstream, who take the increase as evidence that Turks are marginalising themselves. They argue that increased consumption of diasporic media leads to “greater ethnification”, rather than integration. German critics pose the question: Is diasporic media doing more harm than good?


A sea of Turkish flags outnumber the national flag of Germany


Berghahn, Daniela 2006. ‘No place like home? or impossible homecomings in the films of Fatih Akin’, New cinemas : journal of contemporary film, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 141-157

Hopkins, Lisa 2009. ‘Media and migration’, Australian Journal of Communication, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 36-41

UK Essays. November 2013. Diasporic Media Play In Migrant Communities. [online]. Available from: http://www.ukessays.co.uk/essays/media/diasporic-media-play-in-migrant-communities.php?cref=1 [Accessed 5 September 2016].


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