The role of media in cultural and social identities construction
The research focuses on two dimensions: it will determine the characteristics and specificities of media consumption (media diet) of Kosovars in Switzerland; and it will analyze the role of media consumption on the integration process and social and cultural identities construction. The study will for the first part being descriptive and determine the media diet of Kosovar immigrants in the three linguistic regions of Switzerland concerning radio, daily press and magazines, television, home-video, internet, books and cinema. The objective is to provide a picture of the type of media used, the modalities of consumption, as well as the semantic roles attached so to determine which factors, personal and socio-cultural, are inscribed in media consumption. The second part of the study will be explorative. It will determine the role of media in language and knowledge acquisition and investigate the communication networks and the imagined communities maintained through media use. The main focus in this second part is on the integration process, in particular focusing on social identities, both in terms of self-identification and hetero-identification, and cultural identities. In particular, the aim is to determine if and under which conditions media consumption fosters assimilation and integration or, on the other side, separation and marginalization. The research will also analyze how immigrants´ media use influences on the one side identification processes, or in other words a sense of belonging to one or more social groups, and on the other side how the exposition to different cultural media products affects the cultural identities of individuals. As a final objective, the study will verify the connections between these two identity aspects and the integration process. Following the example set by media studies the research will focus on qualitative methods, and in particular those formulated by ethnography. The research will be based on three tools: in-depth interviews; observation; focus group. Concerning the sample, the study focuses on one of the most important migrant communities in Switzerland: Albanian speaking Kosovars, which represents a prominent target group of integration policies but at the same time very few data are available on it. The size of the community is important: reliable estimates account for over 150´000 individuals living in Switzerland. This immigrant group is particularly heterogeneous in terms of migration motives (economic, political), time spent in Switzerland, and religious beliefs.