Mobile Phone Appropriation and Migrant Acculturation: A Case Study of an Indian Community in Singapore

Rajiv George Aricat, Veronika Karnowski, Arul Chib


This research explores how the mobile phone appropriation patterns of an Indian migrant group in Singapore are linked to acculturation strategies. The circular model of mobile phone appropriation was adopted to investigate aspects of usage and handling, prestige and social identity, and metacommunication. Following a pluralistic-typological approach, acculturation patterns identified relate to migrants’ maintenance of cultural identity and relationships with the Singaporean host society. In-depth interviews among 33 low-skilled male migrants from an Indian Malayali migrant community reveal that the four appropriation types convenience seeker, experimenter, group communicator, and tabula rasa were linked to three acculturation types observed: culture campaigner, culture connoisseur, and culturally petrified.


appropriation, acculturation, communication, migrant, mobile phone, qualitative method

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