Erasmus University Rotterdam



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Erasmus University Rotterdam

Faculty OF HISTORY AND ARTS




Turkish Migrants and Transnational Media

Student: Hilal Özdemir, 335793, hilal.ozd@hotmail.com

Thesis Supervisor: Christine Lohmeier

Second Reader: Isabel Awad













August 2010

Abstract

This research project focuses on Turkish transnational media and its impacts on Turkish migrants living in the Netherlands. In particular, Turkish transnational television’s affects on Turkish women migrants are analysed by in-depth interviews. 28 Turkish women are interviewed about their transnational television use and the implications of it. This thesis explores transnational television’s affects on Turkish women’s identity constructions, their attachment to home/host countries and their integration processes in the Netherlands. It investigates theories about migrant populations, identity constructions and integration. Furthermore, it makes use of previous research done in the area. The main research question of this thesis is: ‘How do Turkish transnational television channels influence second generation Turkish women living in the Netherlands in the process of negotiating their identities?’ The sub-questions are: ‘How did the arrival of transnational television change the daily lives of Turkish women living in the Netherlands and how did it change their attachment to their home country and host country?’ and ‘What is the nature of the relationship between integration and consuming transnational television?’ Accordingly, this thesis focuses on the themes of; integration, social life, emotional attachment to the homeland, language use and transnational television’s implications on these. Moreover, it investigates Turkish migrants’ experiences of discrimination to discover about their relations with the Dutch society. Interviews illustrate concrete results about the above-mentioned subjects. The results indicate that Turkish transnational television has major implications on Turkish migrants’ identities which are constructed in between the Netherlands and Turkey. Another finding demonstrates that Turkish migrants get more attached to Turkey after the arrival of Turkish transnational television to the Netherlands. They started to allocate more time on watching television and their social lives changed significantly. Lastly, the interviews show that Turkish transnational television slowed down the integration of Turkish migrants to the Netherlands.



Keywords: Turkish migrants, the Netherlands, transnational media, Turkish transnational television, transnationalism, identity construction, integration, SIT, discrimination, attachment to home/host country.

Introduction_1'>Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1

1.1 Turkish Migrants and Transnational Media 1

1.2 Academic and Social Relevance 2

1.3 The Development of Turkish Transnational Television in Europe 3

2. Theoretical Framework 6

2.1 Diaspora 7

2.2 Identity Construction among Migrants 9

2.3 Media’s Impact on Constructing Identities 11

2.4 Media Consumption of Migrants in the process of Forming a Community 12

2.5 SIT (Social Identity Theory) 14

2.6 Integration to the Host Society 19

2.7 Understanding Transnationalism 21



3. jUSTIFICATION 26

3.1 Why Television? 26

3.2 Why Second Generation Women? 28

4. pREVIOUS RESEARCH 31

5. RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS 35

6. mETHODOLOGY 38

7. Data Analysis 44

7.1 Integration and Turkish Transnational Television 47

7.2 Social Life and Turkish Transnational Television 52

7.3 Emotional Attachment to the Homeland and Turkish Transnational Television 56

7.4 Language and Turkish Transnational Television 59

7.5 Experiences of Discrimination 62

8. RESULTS 66

8.1 Integration and Turkish Transnational Television 67

8.2 Social Life and Turkish Transnational Television 68

8.3 Emotional Attachment to the Homeland and Turkish Transnational Television 70

8.4 Language and Turkish Transnational Television 71



8.5 Experiences of Discrimination 72

9. CONCLUSION & FURTHER POINTS FOR RESEARCH 74

10. References 78

11. Appendix 81

A) Turkish Transnational Television Channels 81

B) Characteristics of the Participants 82

C) Translated Quotations’ Original Versions (Available in online version) 83

D) Complete Quotations’ Highlighted Version (Available in online version) 95


  1. Introduction

1.1 Turkish Migrants and Transnational Media

The theme of the present study is the media use of migrants. Transnational media and its relation to the community are crucial due to the media’s impacts among migrants. Jensen and Oster (2008), underline that satellite dishes have spread rapidly throughout the world and are appealing because they picture new information about the outside world and other ways of life. It is also been proven that ethnic minorities have a strong need for information about their country of origin and turn to transnational media to find the news they are interested in (Peeters and D’Haenens, 2005). Nevertheless, the effects of transnational media and particularly transnational television within migrant societies can be very diverse. Therefore, this study will focus on a specific group of Turkish migrants living in the Netherlands. In the mean time, it is noticeable that according to recent data Turks are the third largest ethnic minority group living in the Netherlands.1 Hence, the existence of transnational television affects a vast number of Turkish migrants living in the Netherlands. In particular, the aim of this study is to shed light upon the effects of transnational television on the second generation Turkish women living in the Netherlands. The participants consist of 28 Turkish women who are in between the ages 36 and 55. Furthermore, they are residents of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Den-Haag. The primary research question of this study is: ‘How do Turkish transnational television channels influence second generation Turkish women living in the Netherlands in the process of negotiating their identities?’ The following sub-questions are constructed to make a better understanding of the topic: ‘How did the arrival of transnational television change the daily lives of Turkish women living in the Netherlands and how did it change their attachment to their home country and host country?’ and ‘What is the nature of the relationship between integration and consuming transnational television?’



1.2 Academic and Social Relevance

Many scholars like Vertovec (1999), Aksoy and Robins (2000, 2002), Ogan (2001), Georgiou (2006) examined issues such as; migration, integration, identity, and diaspora in earlier studies. Previous studies have shown that migrants stay attached to their own homelands’ cultures and actively use media from their home countries. Particularly, migrant populations are actively using transnational television in the process of reconstructing their identities (Aksoy and Robins, 2000). This finding of Aksoy and Robins (2000) makes it appealing to do further research about different groups within a migrant community. Accordingly, this study will focus on Turkish women migrants living in the Netherlands and the impacts of transnational television on their process of negotiating identities. This research can be counted as a continuous work of the studies of Aksoy and Robins (2000, 2002) as well as Ogan (2001) who did research about Turkish migrants’ media use. Furthermore, this study also makes use of Georgiou (2006) who has done a research about Greek Cypriots transnational media use. By utilising a variety of related literature, this thesis will illustrate a specific group of Turkish migrants’ transnational media use in terms of their integration and identity construction.

The social relevance of this project relies on migrants’ experiences about integration. This includes questions such as whether they see themselves as integrated to their host society or not. To adapt this into my case study, this research is concerned about a specific group of Turkish migrants’ considerations about integration in relation with their use of television from Turkey. Besides its social relevance, the theoretical relevance of the present research project relies on testing a certain group of migrants’ media use by using applicable theories. Accordingly, this thesis will make use of relevant theories to explore the research questions. Adapting theories to a targeted group of migrants will enable the findings to be more explicit and reliable.

1.3 The Development of Turkish Transnational Television in Europe

The topic of transnational television use of the Turkish migrants living in the Netherlands, calls for a brief examination of the development of Turkish transnational television in Europe and in the Netherlands. Therefore, the arrival of Turkish channels to Europe will be explored concisely.

Transnational satellite broadcasting of Turkish channels in Europe has started in the early 1990s. The initiative was taken by the state broadcaster, TRT. The growing Turkish populations living in Europe induced the state to target a channel for the Turkish migrants living in Europe. Aksoy and Robins (2000) say that TRT’s strategy aspired to connect the imagined community of Turks at a global scale. TRT’s ambition was ‘to reach, and connect, these widely dispersed populations, both Turkic and Turkish, and in the process to make itself one of the world’s largest transnational media organisations – broadcasting, as it expressed’ (Aksoy and Robins, 2000: 4).

TRT was the only Turkish public broadcaster in Europe for some years. Private broadcasters emerged a few years after TRT’s arrival. The first attempt by a private channel which directly addressed the Turkish migrants in Europe was initiated in 1995 by Show TV. Afterwards, Kanal D and ATV started to be broadcasted. Although these channels targeted Turkish migrants living in Europe, they did not have locally oriented material for Turkish audiences living in Europe. As Aksoy and Robins (2000) argue, almost all of the programs were taken from the Turkish schedules, with a small amount of dedicated productions such as Avrupa’da Yedi Gün (Seven Days in Europe), Su Bizim Avrupa (That’s Our Europe) or Dostlar Sofrası (A Gathering of Friends). Accordingly, it is predictable that Turkish migrants wanted to watch the programs which Turkish people in Turkey have watched. The emergence of these commercial channels gave the opportunity to the migrants to select whatever they want to watch. Opposite to TRT’s monopolistic era, which consist of one type of programming occurred in an official sense, private channels offered migrant populations many types of programming such as live programs, movies, serials and quiz shows.

Aksoy and Robins (2000) argue that private broadcasters could avoid censorship and put on the screens the kinds of images and stories that TRT could never have permitted. For instance, programs about untouchables such as Kurds, Alevis or gays were available in private broadcasters’ schedules. Subsequently, what commercial channels helped to create was a more liberal environment in which sensitive issues about Turkey, identity or religion could be more openly debated. In addition, these private broadcasters offered many entertainment programs which led to an increase in their audiences both in Turkey and Europe. Hence, a recent research done by the associated organisation of the Turkish State, RTUK, has shown that migrants living in Germany prefer to watch commercial channels instead of the public broadcaster2. Within the same research, it is also proven that migrants spend most of their time in front of Turkish television channels. It is therefore predictable that the arrival of a variety of Turkish television channels led to changes in Turkish migrants’ lives.

This fact may also be applicable for the Turkish women migrants who live in the Netherlands which generate the main focus of this study. This phenomenon is worth to investigate since there is not any research done about this particular group. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to generate an understanding about Turkish transnational television’s effects on Turkish women migrants in terms of their daily lives, identity constructions and integration to the Dutch society.

On the whole, the 2nd Chapter covers information about the relevant theoretical perspectives to make a better understanding of the research topics. Afterwards, Chapter 3 provides a justification of why television was chosen as the primary medium of examination and why women were chosen as the target group. Chapter 4 focuses on previous research done in the area. Chapter 5 illustrates research questions and expectations in detail. Later, Chapter 6 explains the methods used to gain the present data. Chapter 7 offers a detailed analysis of the data. Chapter 8 focuses on the concrete results of the analysis. After all, Chapter 9 provides a conclusion and concentrates on the implications if the results.


  1. Theoretical Framework

This research project is concerned with the transnational media use of migrants and its possible consequences. Therefore, key theories and necessary concepts will be explored to generate a better understanding of the research questions.

In the first part, the concept of diaspora will be explored because it is an important concept to examine migrant populations’ characteristics. It will give a remarkable point of view to discover topics such as being a dispersed population and being in between two countries. As identity constructions of migrants and the possible effects of transnational television on this process generate the main concerns of this study, theories about migrant identities are essential to consider. Therefore secondly, identity construction of migrants and transnational media’s impact on this process will be discussed to clarify the course of action of negotiating identities. Afterwards, Social Identity Theory (SIT) will be investigated in detail since it is beneficial to comprehend host societies’ considerations about minority or migrant groups. Moreover, SIT is vital for this study as it generates the only theory which engenders a perspective from the host society. For the objectivity and reliability of the present study, it is crucial to put emphasis on the theories both from the perspectives of the migrants and the host societies. Hence, after SIT, integration and the concept of transnationalism will be addressed. These two concepts, similar to diaspora and identity construction of migrants, put more emphasis on migrant communities. They are dominantly about the migrant populations rather than their host societies. It will be constructive to make use of the above mentioned theories to demonstrate a better understanding of the research questions.



    1. Diaspora

It is evident that millions of people from Turkey live abroad. In particular, they generate migrant communities in Europe. For the most part, they have migrated for economic reasons, starting from the 1960s, generally following the agreements between Turkey and European countries. As a result, many Turkish people are sustaining their lives away from their home countries. This is the same case for many other people in the world. The existence of populations having the same geographic, national and religious references in a range of national spaces has given rise to the expansion of the concept of diaspora which actually means dispersion (Kastoryano, 2003). Subsequently, diaspora is about dispersed populations who live in a host country. Hence, migrants belong to diaspora and considered as diasporic communities.

Vertovec (1999) puts emphasis on the various meanings of diaspora and focuses on three discernible definitions of diaspora. These aspects of the term are diaspora as a social form, diaspora as type of consciousness and diaspora as a mode of cultural production. The first meaning which considers diaspora as a social form, defines it as a concept referring almost completely to the experiences of Jews, in relation to their experience of sending away from their homelands and their experiences of dispersion. Within this description, a diaspora situation is a negative fact which is associated with forced displacement, victimisation and loss. Nevertheless, it is plain that many people have been identified as belonging to diaspora, even if their migratory journey has not involved negative outcomes. The second type, namely diaspora as a type of consciousness, is defined as a particular kind of awareness said to be created among contemporary transnational communities. It is described as being marked by a dual nature. This type describes diaspora as an awareness of decentred attachments, of being at the same time ‘home away from home’. Lastly, the characterisation of diaspora as a cultural production claims that diaspora is defined not by purity but by the recognition of a necessary diversity. Hence, diaspora identities are those, which are constantly producing and reproducing themselves anew, through transformation and difference (Vertovec, 1999).

Especially diaspora as a type of consciousness and diaspora as a cultural production are beneficial for the theoretical framing of this thesis. As Aksoy and Robins (2000) state, Turkish migrants are aware of being away from home and they are reconstructing their identities through their changed settings. Moreover, migrants are conscious about their necessity to stay in their host countries. Similarly, Hall (1990) makes the point that, diaspora identities are constantly reproducing themselves through transformation and difference in between two notions with the awareness of being away from country of origin.

Another scholar, Georgiou (2006), defines diaspora as a concept which has transformed over time which refers to people’s multiple senses of belonging and loyalties beyond national boundaries. It is centrally dependent on the fact that there is a home country somewhere far away that people have as a reference and can imagine as being a part of. In addition, diaspora entails relations between spread people who sustain a sense of community through various forms of communication while living in a distant country. Diaspora is much dependent on the memories as well as the current events taking place in the homeland. Therefore, transnational media is also crucial for diasporic communities as it connects migrant populations with their home countries. Accordingly, Georgiou (2006) states, identities in diaspora are constructed in transnational spaces through mediated links. In the diaspora, migrants’ emotional and cultural attachment to their homelands as well as their attachment with the people who have experienced migration is apparent. Therefore, diasporic groups or communities live in multiple spaces.

On the other hand, Karanfil (2007) highlights diasporic groups’ consciousness about their double experiences. He refers to diasporic communities in terms of their media use. ‘Groups who feel a need to preserve and reproduce their identity in a place away from the one they might consider home, seem to be tempted to turn to the mass media where they search for their reflections, even for small signs and messages that make them feel at home’ (2007: 61). Accordingly, diasporic communities try to get informed about their home countries to lessen their feeling of being away. Therefore, transnational media appeal to them, allowing them to have a sense of feeling at home.

Although many other definitions of diaspora and diasporic communities are available in the literature, the common characteristic of all definitions lies in the fact of being away from the home country. Subsequently, all migrant communities can be counted as diasporic communities who sustain their lives away from their country of origins. Nevertheless, it is also possible to call diasporic communities as transnational communities by the emergence of transnational media which links them back with their homelands. This will be argued under the topic of transnationalism in the following sections. Beforehand, as one of the main concerns of this study, it is important to examine theories about identity and in particular identity construction among migrants. Understanding the process of identity construction of migrants as well as the effects of their media consumption on this process is vital for the investigation of the research questions.



2.2 Identity Construction among Migrants

In the complex process of negotiating identities, migrants are affected by many circumstances. Earlier studies have shown that Turkish migrants are thinking and reconstructing their identities by the impact of the Turkish television channels (Aksoy and Robins, 2000). Rather than media’s impacts, there are also other aspects which complicate migrants’ identity construction. Castells (1997) defines identity as ‘the process of construction of meaning on the basis of a cultural attribute, or related set of cultural attributes, that is/are given priority over other sources of meaning’ (1997: 6). He states that identities are socially and culturally constructed and affected by many circumstances such as ethnicity, gender and class. According to Castells (1997), nation states do not represent a powerful identity for the migrants. Hence, identity construction is a more difficult issue for the migrants. It is evident that, in the process of identity forming, migrants have to deal with their situation of being in between two countries. Complementing Castells (1997), Georgiou (2006), argues that there is an endless process in identity construction. In a migrant identity, the process of constructing identity is highly complex. This is because of the double experience of home and the importance of the past experiences for the migrants. Subsequently, migrants’ relations with their host and home societies are the layers of their identity construction (Georgiou, 2006). Migrants find themselves in a necessity of forming an identity that is deeply related with their home countries which is also linked with their host countries. Therefore, migrant identities are always positioned and shaped in relation to other identities and are constructed in the context of diversity.

Blake and Mael (1989) argue that identity is highly related with positioning oneself in a specific culture. This means migrants’ choice of being a part of their host or home culture have an impact on their identities. Similar to Blake and Mael (1989), Appadurai (1996) argues changes in social settings can have an impact on identities. As long as identities are not fixed or constant, they permit migrants to redefine themselves not only in relation with the past but also by taking into consideration their present experiences. This means, migrants’ new environments lead them to think about their past and present lives. They start to negotiate their identities by the influences of both of these experiences. Subsequently, migrants’ experiences from past and the present can be equally influential or one of them may be more dominant than the other. These influences will generate the major dimensions of migrant identities.

In summary, migrants construct their identities both in relation with their home and host countries. In this process, media consumption from the country of origin might also influence the process of identity construction among migrants. Migrants can become more attached with their home country through the opportunity which transnational media offer. Transnational media link migrants to their homelands and offer them to see their own cultures on the television. This fact may lead to various outcomes in migrants’ identities. Hence, media’s impact must be analysed to understand the role of Turkish television channels on migrants while negotiating identities.



2.3 Media’s Impact on Constructing Identities

As mentioned above, identity construction is not entirely free and individualistic. Many aspects influence the process of identity forming. In an earlier study about Turkish migrants’ media use in the Netherlands, Milikowski and Ogan (1998) have proved that identity for any migrant is a difficult issue. It may be more difficult and complicated when the home culture and the host culture of the migrant have very little in common as in the case of this study. In addition to the host society’s and home society’s influences, Aksoy and Robins (2000) state that media from home have huge implications on the process of negotiating identities in the case of migrants. Similarly, Hall (1997) considers all meanings and identities rely on representations; thus identities are always mediated. Accordingly, all kinds of representations on the media are crucial for identity construction. Therefore, the relation between media and identities is a closely linked one.

Language constitutes one of the most important dimensions under the topic of transnational media and migrant identities. Migrants prefer to watch transnational television because it offers broadcasts in their mother tongues (Aksoy and Robins 2000). Supplement to Aksoy and Robins (2000), Georgiou (2006), considers the key dimension within the representations on the media is language as it constitutes the primary medium for everyone. Accordingly, all communication technologies which make use of language are interlinked with the construction of identities. Therefore, it is evident that media from the homeland generate a key role for migrant identities. It links them with their own language and culture. In a way, it allows migrants to break off the defined boundaries of the host country which they settled into. Moreover, by representing a common past through images, transnational television shapes the collective memory of the migrants. Therefore, transnational media has an influence on the process of negotiating identities of migrants and migrant communities. In the long run, transnational media can become a powerful representative of the community which it represents. This may be possible by the shared media consumption of the migrants.

As mentioned above, dispersed populations such as migrant communities do not only belong to a distinct home country but also to a host country. It is therefore evident that migrants are struggling between multiple identities. On the other hand, migrants use media from both countries; the one which they settled into and the one which they came from. Even though it might be the case that they use media from their home country more dominantly, still the diverse images and representations which they experience from different media can lead to a more difficult process in negotiating their identities. Migrant identities are generated in relation to ‘us’ and ‘the others’ in the complicated dialogue with the country of origin and the country of settlement. In the process of defining who is ‘us’ and who are ‘the others’ media has a crucial role. By the representations which transnational media offer, migrants may figure out their communality with other migrants and start to generate their own groups and communities. Accordingly, they may distinguish their communities from the rest of the host society. Hence, it is beneficial to examine the shared media consumption of migrants and the impacts of this media consumption in generating a migrant community.



2.4 Media Consumption of Migrants in the process of forming a Community

Media consumption may have major implications on migrant populations as a shared activity. Migrants follow transnational media with other migrants or at least discuss what they see on transnational television in their everyday lives with other migrants. Accordingly, Aksoy and Robins (2000), state that media consumption is not an individual activity for the migrants. Rather, it is a social act and for that reason it frames the construction of identities to form groups and communities.

Media display representations which may affect migrant identities and communities. It is evident that, for the migrants, the information about what is going on in their home countries is much more available than it was in the past. Media surpass the boundaries and in particular, communication technologies such as transnational television blur the boundaries between the host country and the country of origin for the migrant communities. The image of a distant homeland is renewed with the media consumption of the migrants. In contrast to the past, migrants can see what is going on in their home countries in each and every moment. In the process of consuming media from their home countries, migrant audiences partake in the formation of their community which is constructed by their shared media consumption. Media representations inform migrant populations by producing symbols of community and identity. Accordingly, media consumption has implications on migrants’ everyday lives, too. The possibility to access the images and sounds that once would be unreachable, the mediation of the experience and the way both are appropriated are the key elements which allow the media to become part of the everyday life (Georgiou, 2006). Subsequently, images of commonality and of a country that was lived in the past and is imagined at present are shaped in the everyday viewings of transnational television.

Aksoy (2002) indicate that the sense of community is furnished by national or ethnic identities. In the case of migrant populations, they are attached with other migrants who share their nationality as well as their ethnicity. Broadcasting from their home countries, in this interpretation, helps the formation of migrant communities. Therefore, it is predictable that media from the country of origin bring migrants together and affect their identities in relation with their common consumptions. As mentioned above, media mediate images and narratives for communities by shaping the images of ‘us’ or ‘we’ and ‘others’ or ‘them’. Accordingly, Georgiou (2006) considers that the shared images which signify a selective identification with a homeland increasingly gain importance. Migrants prefer to identify themselves simultaneously with their cultures of origins which television helps them to define.

The rising importance of this kind of media means that transnational communication becomes immediate. Transnational communication technologies are technologies that bring the past and the present of the migrant populations together. In this perspective, it would not be wrong to presume that transnational media or in particular transnational television act as a community link within the migrant populations. It should be noticed that transnational media differs from the mainstream media in some aspects. What makes transnational media distinct is, not the fact that their audiences are very different from any other media, but the fact that they are only used by certain people and not by others. Migrants use these kinds of media from their homeland and they start to come closer to a community with the help of transnational media.

Subsequently, migrant populations shape a sense of commonality and community in their engagement with transnational media. In fact, they construct distinct identities in a host country. In their host societies, their construction of a common identity is related with their transnational media use. They look at transnational television to find elements which distinguish themselves from the host society. This way, they can form their own groups which share similar characteristics. Therefore, transnational media or in particular transnational television has immense influence on the process of generating a community. By the images it screens and the time it constitutes in migrants’ lives, transnational television leads to major implications on migrant communities as well as on migrant identities.

Nonetheless, transnational media is not the only aspect which affects migrant communities. The relationship between the migrants and their host societies is crucial to achieve a better understanding of migrant communities and migrant identities. Therefore, it is important to put emphasis on the host societies. It is clear that migrants are minority groups and in some cases host societies may be disturbed by them. Theories about diaspora and identity looked at migrant populations from migrants’ perspective. The following theory, Social Identity Theory (SIT), will demonstrate a perspective from the host society side. Host society’s behaviour and the possible effects of these behaviours on minority communities will be considered.

2.5 SIT (Social Identity Theory)

In the process of forming communities and reconstructing identities, migrants are also affected by their host societies. As Georgiou (2006) underlines, within a community, shared characteristics such as ethnicity, language or religion get their meanings and construct images of ‘us’ and ‘the other’. Accordingly, people achieve their identities through membership in a large number of groups. Subsequently, the nature of a group and its relation to the other groups are important in negotiating identities.

Due to this reason Social Identity Theory (SIT) can be constructive to explore. As Turner (2006) quotes in his study, Tajfel (1972) defines social identity as ‘the individual’s knowledge that he belongs to certain social groups together with some emotional and value significance to him of this group membership’ (Tajfel, 1972: 292). Similarly Hogg (2006) states that a social group must consist of people who share the same social identity. The group members have to identify and evaluate themselves in the same way and share the same definition of who they are. Particularly they should distinguish what attributes they have and how they relate to or differ from the people who are not in their group. Therefore group devotion is a matter of collective self understanding as ‘we’ versus ‘them’. The definitions of others and the self are crucial in the process of identifying group members and the others.

Social Identity Theory (Tajfel, H. and Turner, J.C., 1986) states that a threat to a group identity is an important factor due to a group’s identity construction in means of its attitudes and behaviours. Social identity threats can take different forms and responses which depend on the degree of group identification. A threat could be anything which can cause a kind of division within the group. A threat may also be defined as, according to the group members, a kind of intervention to their group identity from the host society; be it cultural adaptation or integration.

Hogg (2000) states that the main idea of SIT is that people define and evaluate themselves within their own group character and aim to differentiate themselves from other groups. Hence these groups are collections of people sharing the same or similar social identity; compete with one another to be distinctive in positive ways. It has been argued that the members of the groups also compete within the group for consensual status and prestige. For this reason, SIT is at the same time a social analysis of the role of group processes and intergroup relations (Hogg, 2006).

Similar to Hogg’s (2000, 2006) findings about group characteristics, Blake and Mael (1989) emphasize that according to SIT, people tend to classify themselves and others into various social categories such as various memberships, religious attitudes, ethnicity, gender and age. This social classification serves two functions. Firstly, it provides the individual the opportunity to define others by ordering the social environment. This way, a person is assigned into the ideal characteristics of the category to which he or she is classified. Secondly, social classification enables the individual to locate and define him or herself in the social environment. According to SIT, the self concept is comprised of a personal identity and a social identity. In particular, social identification is the perception of belongingness to some human cumulative. For example someone may define him or herself as: ‘I am a Turkish migrant living in the Netherlands.’ As such, Blake and Mael (1989) state that social identification provides a partial answer to the question of: ‘Who am I?’

By using SIT, Verkuyten and Thijs (2002) performed a study about cultural adaption of Turkish migrants in the Dutch multicultural society. They found out that Dutch people who feel committed to their group may see the existence of ethnic minorities as a threat to Dutch society and Dutch culture. In contrast they have found that ethnic minorities may conceive cultural adaptation as a threat to their group identity. This is especially applicable to minority group members who identify themselves more strongly with their group than the rest of the members. For instance, in the group of Turkish migrants living in the Netherlands, there may be some members who are more attached to being Turkish. When one of these members perceive discrimination against their group it is likely that they react more than the other members.

According to SIT, being a minority group member is always counted as a threat to social identity. This means minority groups’ social identity may be easily destroyed by their integration to the host society. Therefore minority group members respond to this threat by highlighting their differences and by forming stronger identifications with their own nationalities. Similarly, Milikowski and Ogan (1998b) state that people attach more importance to those aspects of their identity that bring them into a minority position than to those aspects that do not.

In the same perspective, several studies among different ethnic groups in different countries have shown that ethnic minorities identify more strongly with their ethnic group than the majority group members do (Phinney, 1990). Similar to Phinney (1990), Milikowski (2001) states minority populations are more anxious about loss of identity than cultural majorities. Therefore Turkish migrants have done their best to keep their traditions against the Dutch culture. In this process it is arguable that they even became more Turkish than they had been at home. From this point of view, more than six different studies among Turkish, Moroccan and Surinamese adolescents in the Netherlands proved that stronger identification is coupled with feelings such as pride and satisfaction about ethnic identity in minority populations (Verkuyten, 1999 in Verkuyten and Thijs, 2002).

Within the same study Verkuyten and Thijs (2002) conclude that Turkish youth as members of a minority group, identify more strongly with their ethnic background than their Dutch contemporaries. As mentioned earlier, SIT argues that stronger in group identification is a response to a threat to the social identity of a minority group. Stronger group identification refers to the tough connection within the group and also with the defined social identity characteristics whereas a threat refers to a danger from outside which may cause the dispersal of the group. Due to these outcomes, it is discernible that Turkish youth’s tough commitment with their Turkish roots may be related to the behaviours of the Dutch society.

When thinking about media, it is arguable if there is a relationship in between watching television from the home country and forming stronger identifications within the minority group. Georgiou (2006) points out that transnational social field such as television offer possibilities for migrant groups to engage in ways of being and in ways of belonging. Subsequently this kind of media can be seen as a key element for migrants to distinguish their groups from the others. Similarly, Haller and Landolt (2005) state that transnational media are crucial for the minority groups as long as they represent and create powerful images of self representation for the migrants.

While people can choose how to identify themselves they cannot choose how they are identified by others. Minority members, it is evident, have to suffer because of many more inappropriate identifications than majority members (Milikowski and Ogan, 1998b).

Peeters and D’Haenens (2005) find that migrants do not identify themselves with the image which Dutch mainstream media present for ethnic minorities, since it is an image that they do not consider as a fair reflection of them. This is another incentive for them to follow the media from their home countries. Peeters and D’Haenens (2005) put the ongoing process in general and indicate that ethnic minorities regard the unfair approach to news about the migrant population as particularly annoying and predominantly negative as long as little emphasis is given to positive news about ethnic minority groups. They consider that transnational media can be used to preserve and support the culture and the identity of a specific ethnic-cultural group. Transnational media can provide a group with the information from its ‘home country’ in the group’s own language, thus helping members of the group to establish and maintain relations within the group itself. In relation with this, in the initial years of satellite broadcasting from Turkey, Dutch commentaries have already assumed that the daily immersion in Turkish affairs and Turkish culture could not help but reinforce Turkish migrants’ consciousness of the cultural differences that set them apart from the society of migration (Milikowski, 2000).

Due to these findings, while forming stronger identifications with their own nationalities, it is reasonable to claim that it may be the case that Turkish people may feel more connected with the media from Turkey. Television from Turkey may lead to a deeper attachment with being Turkish for the migrants. This could be one outcome of the present thesis and will be touched upon in the following sections. In advance, it is constructive to put emphasis on the complex relationship between the minorities, their home societies and their host societies in terms of their integration. Integration is also a key concept which puts more emphasis on migrants rather than their host societies as the theories about diaspora and identity. By the same token, it shares common characteristics with the concept of transnationalism, which will be addressed after integration.



2.6 Integration to the Host Society

Integration is one of the most problematic issues in migrant populations. The fact that being integrated to a society or not is as complex as the general definition of this social phenomenon. It is a subjective matter which makes it hard to claim factual statements. Nevertheless, in earlier studies scholars have worked upon this idea and found several characteristics of what an integrated community should or could like be.

Heckmann (2004) defines the process of integration as the addition of new populations into the existing social structures of the host country. He differentiates and defines four dimensions of integration as: structural integration, cultural integration, social integration and identificational integration.

Structural integration refers to the achievement of rights and the access to membership, positions and the statuses in the receiving society such as the education system, training system, labour market, citizenship and housing. Cultural integration is a necessity of participation and refers to process of cultural or behavioural change in people. This change concerns primarily the migrants and their families but it is also a mutual process with the receiving society. Social integration relates to the belongings of migrants in the new society as means of their private relationships and group memberships like social interactions, friendships, marriages or voluntary associations. For the last kind of integration, Heckmann (2004: 15) states that ‘this kind of membership in a new society on the subjective level shows in the sense of belonging and identification, particularly in the form of ethnic and/or national identification and that is identificational integration. Accordingly, in order to be fully integrated to the host society, migrants should carry out all of these necessities. A minority community cannot be integrated to its host society if it only forms relationships within its own group. It is therefore compulsory to form relations with the rest of the society to acquire integration.

Heckmann (2004) distinguishes modes of integration in European countries also including the Netherlands. He states that special programs for migrants were started after their arrival to the Netherlands. Even so, such programs were not sufficient for a full integration since migrants always tend to stay attached to their home countries (Aksoy and Robins, 2000). Nevertheless, the degree of integration may be diverse within a minority group. For instance, Milikowski and Ogan (1998a) claim that the amount of education and the degree of language skills in Dutch, and whether the migrant works outside the home are the strongest predictors of significant attachment and integration to the Netherlands. On top of that, following media from the home country might also be influential in the process of integration.

As discussed earlier, there is a deep interest in Turkish media among Turkish migrants. To listen to the programs in their own language, to see signs from their own culture and tradition are some of the reasons for the attachment of Turkish migrants to media from Turkey. In short, Turkish migrants use transnational television from Turkey where they believe they can connect back to their homeland. This is also deeply related with the process of integration since some scholars (Peeters and D’Haenens, 2005) have found that the degree of integration proves to be the most powerful predictor of the percentage of time that respondents spend on media from their country of origin or in their own language. This finding implies that, watching television from home has a negative correlation with integration. Subsequently, the less successful integration is, the larger the amount of time spent watching television from the country of origin.

Similar to Peeters and D’Haenens (2005), Aksoy (2005) also highlights that it is very commonplace to find such expressions, which basically argue that the Turkish television channels are hindering the integration process. In particular, Turkish transnational television negatively affects the language acquirement in host countries. Therefore, it is predictable that it may also lead to negative outcomes in the process of integration. The process of integration of migrant populations is predicted by the detachment from the homeland as well as enclosure with the host society. Accordingly, transnational media is seen as a threat to a successful integration process. The fact that Turkish migrants are watching Turkish transnational television is interpreted as their ‘disloyalty’ to the host nation in terms of ‘disintegration’ and ‘isolation’ from their host community (Aksoy, 2002).

These findings will be questioned in the present study. Beforehand, to comprehend migrants’ association with transnational media from Turkey, it is important to put emphasis on the general idea of transnationalism. Transnationalism, similar to integration, concentrates more on migrant populations rather than their host countries. Hence, these two concepts can be counted as supplementary. In addition, the concept of diaspora and theories about migrant identities which were addressed above are also complementary with integration and transnationalism owing to their concentration on migrants’ characteristics.



2.7 Understanding Transnationalism

The concept of transnationalism is important while talking about transnational media and transnational television. Similar to the term diaspora, Kastoryano (2003) considers that transnationalism echoes the idea of dispersion. Perceptibly, it is about the migrant populations who live away from their homelands. Georgiou (2006) stresses that migrants’ everyday life is shaped in the context of discourses, cultures and relations which are formed in the dialogue between the local, the national and the transnational. Hence, everyday lives of migrants are formed through many influences from their homelands and from their countries of settlement. Portes (2001), states that transnationalism is a complex subject which is generated by a number of people who live multiple lives. This refers to the people who are speaking two languages, having homes in two countries, and continuing their lives through constant contact across national borders. These migrants, no matter where they came from or where they settled into, create transnational livelihoods.

Vertovec (1999) says that the term transnationalism refers to the multiple ties and interactions which link people or institutions across the borders of nation states. In addition, he states that transnationalism is a condition in which, despite the distances and the existence of international borders, certain kinds of relationships between migrants and their homelands can take place. By the emergence of satellite broadcasting, migrants started to connect with the everyday realities of their homelands much more easily than before. Therefore, their relationship with their home countries becomes stronger than the past by the feeling of synchronisation. Ahead of time, they could only relate themselves with their imagined country of origin which they have created with their memories and aspirations. After the emergence of satellite dishes, they have the opportunity to see the most recent images of their homelands. Nonetheless, the fact of being away from their homelands does not change for migrants, only weakens by the developments of new communication technologies.

Vertovec (1999) continues by highlighting different forms of transnationalism which are grounded upon different properties. Subsequently, he differentiates six types of transnationalism as; social morphology, type of consciousness, mode of cultural reproduction, avenue of capital, site of political engagement and reconstruction of place. Within these forms, avenue of capital and site of political engagement are not constructive for the present study due to their irrelevant concentrations. Rather, social morphology, type of consciousness, mode of cultural reproduction and reconstruction of place are beneficial for the topics of this study. Therefore, these forms will be discussed in detail below.

First, social morphology refers to a kind of social construction that occurs across the borders. In this type of transnationalism, diaspora embodies a variety of historical and contemporary conditions as well as characteristics and experiences. The dispersed diasporas of old have become today’s transnational communities which are sustained by a range of modes of social organisation, mobility and communication. Subsequently, this form of transnationalism is connected with diaspora. Similar to diaspora, social morphology puts emphasis on migrants and their characteristics. Moreover, it claims that diasporic populations have become transnational communities by the development of new media technologies. Accordingly, new media technologies such as transnational television enabled diasporic populations to connect back with their homelands and this fact transformed them into transnational communities.

Secondly, type of consciousness refers to the dual or multiple identifications of migrants. It is therefore related with the complex process of negotiating identities. The representations of individuals’ awareness of decentred attachments and feelings of being ‘home away from home’ are compulsory within this definition. These lead to struggles in the process of constructing identities of migrants. This type of transnationalism focuses on the awareness of double locality and the desire to connect oneself with others who are living in the home country. It reveals the relationship between migrants and their homelands in terms of their attachment. Subsequently, this nature of transnationalism also relates to integration. The desires of migrants to their home countries complicate their integration process to the host country. Hence, they become isolated from the host society and get more attached to anything associated with their country of origins.

The third type, mode of cultural reproduction, describes transnationalism as associated with constructed styles and everyday practices. Therefore, for this category, the expansion of satellite dishes is crucial as it connects migrant communities with their homelands. According to mode of cultural reproduction, viewing transnational television is not entirely passive, rather there are multiple and complex ways in which these media are consumed among migrants. Subsequently, this kind of transnationalism is illustrating the role of media and in particular satellite networks’ influence on the transnational communities. It is therefore related with the effects of transnational television on migrant communities and migrant identities. As argued in the above sections about identity, transnational television may have major implications on the process of negotiating identities. Watching transnational television is not a passive activity; rather it has influences on everyday lives and identities of migrants.

The final perspective, reconstruction of place, draws attention to the practices of migrants that are derived from specific geographical and historical points of origin. It stresses that a high degree of human mobility by telecommunications, films, video and satellite television, and the internet have contributed to the creation of new understandings of place. Therefore, transnationalism has changed peoples’ relations to space particularly by creating social fields that connect and position some groups in more than one country. This sort of transnationalism is also related with the attachment of migrants with their home countries. Although, migrants are always aware of being away from their home of origins, new media technologies cause migrants to feel ‘as if’ in their homelands. Subsequently, it is controversial if this fact slows down the process of integration to the host society or not.

As it is evident from all perspectives, transnationalism is a concept which becomes visible when migrants populations are the case. Transnationalism demonstrates the complicated issue of negotiating identities in migrant populations and the relationship between the migrants and their home countries. Moreover, transnationalism envelops transnational media which act as a link between the migrants and their homelands. As Kastoryano (2003) articulates, by the effects of transnational media from their home countries, migrants try to give meanings to their identities. Subsequently, it is reasonable to investigate the possible outcomes of Turkish migrants’ transnational television use in terms of their identity constructions and integrations.

In summary, this chapter deals with the theories from the migrants’ perspective as well as from the host society’s perspective to generate a reliable and objective argument about the research topics. Diaspora, identity construction, integration, transnationalism and transnational media’s possible influences on migrant identities concentrate dominantly on migrants rather than their host societies. These concepts highlight the characteristics of migrants and their relationship with their home and host countries. SIT, on the other hand, focuses on the host country in terms of host society’s relation to minority groups. It gives a complimentary point of view to generate a better understanding of the relationship between migrants and their host societies. Hence, it enables the argument be more reliable and objective. To conclude, the findings of this chapter come to the point that migrant identities are affected both by the home and host countries’ cultures. Television from home country, namely transnational television, also has implications on the process of negotiating identities in migrant communities.

On the whole, this chapter constitutes a key step for the development of research questions by the theories it covers. The following chapter aims to further clarify the subject matter of this study. Subsequently, the next part of the present study will consist of the justification of the target group and the selected medium for this research.



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