Migrants as “dissonant harmony-seekers” and migrant life in “foam”

Kars-Unluoglu, Selen; Guneri Cangarli, Burcu; Yurt, Oznur and Gencer, Mehmet (2023). Migrants as “dissonant harmony-seekers” and migrant life in “foam”. Journal of Global Mobility, 11(1) pp. 125–144.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/JGM-06-2022-0025


Migration of the Turkish new middle-class – high-skilled, well-educated, young professionals – has been growing in recent years. This paper explores their migration experience and discusses the role of physical and virtual bubbles in the formation of transnational communities and processes of adjustment to a new place.

This paper is based on a qualitative inquiry collecting data via semi-structured interviews with 18 London-based Turkish migrants and a digital ethnographic study of three Facebook groups that bring together the Turkish migrant community in Richmond, London.

Findings indicate that the migration of the new middle class differs conceptually from existing typologies. The paper proposes the concept of “dissonant harmony-seekers” and elaborates on their interactions to demonstrate that, in the Internet age, the traditional image of migrants living in isolated localised bubbles is no longer accurate. Findings also indicate a pragmatic and functional engagement with the bubbles, with migrants sporadically interacting with the bubbles to meet their individual needs in information, education and employment.

This paper contributes to the literature with the concept of dissonant harmony-seekers, which will gain more visibility in a world where the trend of democratic decline and rising authoritarianism will motivate a migratory move for people who confront a moral dissociation from the civil order in their homeland. The engagement of dissonant harmony-seekers with migrant communities challenges the conventional thinking that social identity is central to creating and maintaining bubbles. The other contribution of the paper to the literature is the metaphor of “foam” to capture the ephemeral and fugacious nature of the dynamics of migrant communities and practices.

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