“Ethnic media”: The role of the leading Portuguese-speaking newspaper (“Contacto”) in Luxembourg  towards a community’s empowerment, integration and political involvement.

Suzana Cascao, University of Rome La Sapienza, Faculty of Social and Economical Sciences IT

This paper aims at critically analyse and discuss the role of “ethnic media” in the process of integration and empowerment of the Portuguese migrant community in Luxembourg by looking at the role of “Contacto”, a Portuguese-speaking newspaper, in that socio-political process. The theoretical concept underpinning this study is that of ‘ethnic media’, i.e. “media produced by and for the immigrant, ethnic, racial, and linguistic minorities, and/or indigenous groups living in various countries around the world” (Ball-Rockeach, Katz and Matsaganis, 2011). Several studies provide evidence of a boom in ethnic media studies in the last decade (e.g. Georgiou, 2006; Geissler, 2009), highlighting the relevance of transnational identity and different ways it expresses itself. What previously has been considered as a niche, it is nowadays recognised by social sciences as an immense pool of information and observatory for migration studies. Whereas mainstream media often leaves behind migrant’s perspective and interests, “ethnic media” provides a unique look into their lives, concerns and demands. Even more relevant when that foreign community represents one-third of the total population of the host country, such as in the case of Portuguese in Luxembourg.

This paper shows how “Contacto” has been providing crucial information along with a set of empowering integration tools for over 40 years. It analyses the historical and social context, strives and accomplishments of the Portuguese communities in order to provide an insight at how the newspaper is crucial in Luxembourg’s public political space. Two key questions to be addressed are: Is there a public space which could serve as basis to an eventual right to vote for all foreign residents? Is the Portuguese community too ‘static’ and nostalgic-oriented and paying too little attention to the host country’s political life? This paper provides empirical analysis and theoretical discussion in order to answer both research questions.

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