Social Media Use and Migrants’ Intersectional Positioning: A Case Study of Vietnamese Female Migrants

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Social Media Use and Migrants’ Intersectional Positioning: A Case Study of Vietnamese Female Migrants

  • Linh Le-Phuong Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Lutgard Lams Faculty of Arts, KU Leuven – Brussels, Belgium
  • Rozane De Cock Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium

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Abstract:  Social media can benefit migrant communities in various ways since the sense of belonging and social inclusion have increasingly been facilitated by online participatory activity over the last decade. However, participating in social media requires not only physical thresholds such as access to internet-connected devices but also intangible assets such as linguistic skills, education, and time. As these resources are not equally available to all members of society, social media adoption differs depending on the users’ positioning. Within the intersectional framework, we explore how social circumstances influence the social media use of female migrants from Vietnam. Research on migrants’ social media use rarely focuses on migrants’ multilayers of identities and intersectionality, nor does it zoom in on different (in)voluntary migration routes within Asia (in contrast to South–North migration). Our case study focuses on two groups of Vietnamese female migrants: those who had migrated to China but returned to Vietnam; and those who married Taiwanese men and still live in Taiwan. Seventeen female migrants were interviewed about their migratory experience and social media use. Our empirical data reveal that the social media use patterns of the Vietnamese female migrants are impacted by their intersectional identities of being female, (returned) migrants of a specific social class, ethnicity, education level, and age group. Their use is steered by different motivations and often limited by social positioning but only seldom are social media used as a channel to raise public awareness or to express migration-related issues.

Keywords:  female migration; intersectionality; social cohesion; social media use; Vietnam; Vietnamese migrants



© Linh Le-Phuong, Lutgard Lams, Rozane De Cock. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.