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Communities of/for interest: Revisiting the role of migrants’ online groups

Guma, Taulant; Drinkwater, Stephen; Daffyd Jones, Rhys


Stephen Drinkwater

Rhys Daffyd Jones


This article offers a critical examination of the role played by migrants’ online communities. With much of scholarly analysis focusing on the new ways in which online groups enable migrants to connect, interact or socialise together in digital space, little attention has been paid to how these groups are actually formed, by whom and with what motivations. Drawing on qualitative interviews with moderators of online groups created by EU migrants living in Wales, UK, our findings reveal the diverse and sometimes ambivalent roles played by these groups, acting not only as networks of support for migrants (‘communities of interest’) but also driven by commercial motives. To capture the impact of this commercialisation and the complexity in the field, we introduce the notion of ‘communities for interest’. The article thus offers new empirical and conceptual contributions that advance our understanding of migrants’ online communities beyond the much-discussed online/offline and virtual/real dichotomies.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 14, 2022
Publication Date 2023-06
Deposit Date Apr 26, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 14, 2022
Journal Sociology
Print ISSN 0038-0385
Electronic ISSN 1469-8684
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 3
Pages 516-532
Keywords communities for interest, communities of interest, migration, network society, online communities, social media
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