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Identification through images on Skyrock

Team Members

Anat Ben-David, Andrea Fiore, Anne Helmond, Nick Hanselmann and Matthieu Renault.

Digital Methods and Migration workshop, 22-24 June in Paris, France:

The ICT-Migration program, in collaboration with the University of California (Santa Cruz), organized a workshop devoted to numerical methods in research on migration from the 22nd to 24th of June in Paris (Maison Suger & Telecom ParisTech) .

Research Question

What is the imagery of the diaspora on the French blogging/social networking site Skyrock?


  1. query Google Images for the top three immigrant groups in France: Algeria, Portugal and Marocco (source: Query for country name and nationality (male/female): algerie, algérien, algérienneportugal, portugais, portugaise maroc, marocain, marocaine within, eg: algerie site:*
  2. download top 100 images with DownThemAll
  3. count and categorize images:
    1. flag
    2. map
    3. love and pride
    4. ethnic
    5. social/people
    6. sports
    7. other
  4. scale images according to size



Country flags (often associated with images of love and pride) are very important in the imagery displayed on the Skyrock network profiles for all three countries and their nationalities. There is, however, a crucial gender difference between women and men. Women seem to favor "social" images (especially self-portrait avatars) and ethnic representations (food, dresses, traditional clothing) over flags. For men sport images play an important role in the imagery displayed on their profiles, except for Moroccan men. This can be explained by the fact that the analysis was done during the World Cup 2010 in which Morocco did not participate. Many images mix the above stated categories, for example flag & love/pride, sport & love/pride, flag & social. In this case, colors representing the country are crucial. The colors of the flags play a unification/identification role in such a way that color could be considered here as the main signifier of national/cultural belonging.
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
skyrockimagery.aiai manage 19 MB 01 Oct 2010 - 08:28 AnneHelmond  
skyrockimagery.jpgjpg skyrockimagery.jpg manage 329 K 28 Sep 2010 - 12:10 AnneHelmond  
skyrockimagery.pdfpdf skyrockimagery.pdf manage 19 MB 28 Sep 2010 - 12:30 AnneHelmond  
Topic revision: r3 - 01 Oct 2010, AnneHelmond
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