Translating the nation through the sustainable, liveable city: The role of social media intermediaries in immigrant integration in Copenhagen

Tatiana Fogelman*, Julia Christensen

*Corresponding author

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This article explores settled Western migrants whose digital content provides recent, mostly Western migrants in Copenhagen with local know-how and city-related information. This new type of informal integration intermediary functions as an emerging digital component of wider urban integration industries that assist migrants with settlement and social integration. We draw on the sociological theory of translation as a social, productive practice that constructs new meanings through selective interpretations and conceptualise the work of these bloggers as translation. Relying on the analysis of their blog and Instagram posts, and on interviews, this article shows how their translations of the city, and through it Danishness, play a critical role in mediating narratives of ‘becoming local’. Despite the differences between the bloggers’ respective translations (including those afforded through blogs vs Instagram) and despite criticism of a lack of inclusion of the socio-cultural differences in Denmark, these intermediaries ultimately reinforce for newcomers the expectations of the ‘green-city citizen’ and integration into Danish culture and lifestyle. We argue that what makes their translations resonate is not only that social media itself allows them to perform their having become (almost) local, but also that they carefully use their personal reflections as migrants. At the same time, the fact that their personal experiences of the city have been shaped by their positionality as white migrants feeling very welcomed, and even passing for locals, in the city curtails these bloggers’ wider potential as informal intermediaries filling a gap within Copenhagen’s urban integration industries.

TidsskriftUrban Studies
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)2388-2407
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022


  • intermediary
  • Copenhagen
  • integration industry
  • sustainable urbanism
  • liveability
  • migration industry

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