Literacy and capital in immigrant youths' online networks across countries

Wan Shun Eva Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Communication technologies are playing an increasingly prominent role in facilitating immigrants' social networks across countries and the transnational positioning of immigrant youth in their online language and literacy practices. Drawing from a comparative case study of the digital literacy practices of immigrant youth of Chinese descent, this paper examines the cross-border social relationships that are fostered between the youth and their peers in their natal country through the use of instant messaging and other online media. Using Pierre Bourdieu's capital and field theory, and the concept of social capital, this paper considers how literacy development in transnational contexts constitutes the production of social and cultural capital. It argues that the youths' online literacy practices need to be understood within the particular social fields in which they are situated and how they allow the youth to navigate and take up position within social fields that cross national boundaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-506
Number of pages19
JournalLearning, Media and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014


  • adolescent literacy
  • digital literacy
  • migration
  • social capital
  • transnationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Media Technology

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