Place identity construction in Greek neomigrants’ social media discourse
The phenomenon of brain drain migration from Greece, also known as Greek neomigration, has acquired an astoundingly massive character due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country. Considering that a migrant’s identity is defined by a physical move from one place to another, this paper aims at exploring the discourse practices of place-making by Greek neomigrants, focusing on the role of social media in this endeavour. Drawing on discourse analysis (Myers 2010; Aguirre and Graham Davies 2015), identity construction theories (Blommaert 2005; Benwell and Stokoe 2006), environmental psychology (Proshansky, Fabian and Kaminoff 1983) and discourse-centred online ethnography (Androutsopoulos 2008), this study presents and discusses empirical data from a Greek neomigrant settled in the UK, who writes about his migration experience on his blog as well as on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. The analysis demonstrates that the Greek neomigrant place identity construction can be realized through a complex of linguistic and discourse strategies, including comparison and evaluation, construction of in-groups and out-groups, language and script alternations, entextualisation of other voices, and visual connotations. It is shown that, for migrants, social media constitute significant outlets for place-making, constructing place identity and asserting (or eschewing) belonging. In so doing, it also brings to the surface crucial social, cultural and psychological aspects of the current Greek neomigration phenomenon and confirms the potential of social media discourses to heighten awareness of neomigrants’ dis/integrating processes, placing discourse analysis at the service of global mobility phenomena.