Netnography and Demography: Mining Internet Discussion Forums on Migration and Citizenship

Pablo Mateos, CIESAS and University College London
Jorge Durand, Universidad de Guadalajara

This paper explores the potential value of netnographic methods in social media applied to migration studies. It develops a pilot netnographic analysis of a very large internet discussion forum on migration and citizenship, in particular on access to Spanish citizenship. Through a combination of automatic and manual classification methods, the forum was downloaded, structured and classified, assigning user profiles to participants and establishing key discussion themes in migration and citizenship. Results are analysed through quantitative and qualitative analysis identifying key migrant practices, many of which are absent from the migration and citizenship literature. The paper ends proposing new avenues for future research in netnographic methods geared towards the automation of user profile classification and the identification of key discussion topics, using text mining techniques. Over the coming decade, promising new research developments in this area will revolutionize traditional population research methods, most certainly in migration research.

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Presented in Session 191: Big Data for Demographic Research