Working with mediagrams: a methodology for collaborative research on mediational repertoires in multilingual families
Journal article by Kristin Vold Lexander and Jannis Androutsopoulos in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, published online September 24, 2019.
This paper contributes to current sociolinguistic research on the rapidly-changing landscape of digitally mediated communication (Androutsopoulos and Stæhr 2018) by presenting mediagrams, a new method for research on transnational mediated interaction. Based on an ethnographic study of mediated multilingual communication in four families with Senegalese-background living in Norway, we develop a visualisation scheme for the documentation and analysis of individual mediational repertoires. Starting with a review of visualisations used in relevant research and an outline of the context of our study, we present the production of mediagrams as a collaborative research process and their subsequent use in further data collection and analysis. Based on participants’ language portraits, media maps, and self-selected excerpts of digital conversations, the collected data is coded and visualised in graphs that represent individual networks of interlocutors, language choices, language modalities, and media channels. Follow-up interviews lead to amended versions of mediagrams, which eventually form the basis for the analysis of individual mediational repertoires. In concluding we assess mediagram research as a contribution to citizen sociolinguistics (Svendsen 2018) and discuss blind spots of the method and its potential for wider application.