Saabism and Saabists: An ethnographic analysis of Saab culture

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Both Simmel and Goffman were deeply persuaded that the big things in society, in actual observable reality are made up of a dynamic and complex system of interlocking and interacting small things. In this paper, I wish to examine the online-offline communicative and semiotic practices of one such “less conspicuous” social group: the Saabists. Based on long term digital ethnographic research I will provide a description and analysis of how Saabists discursively and semiotically construct identity  on-and offline in a transnational niche. Saabists, I will argue, are  a translocal and polycentric micro-population sharing a ‘culture’ – Saab culture or Saabism -  and an ‘identity’. I clearly argue in favor of a materialistic approach to identity and group formation. The reasons therefore are evident: Identity should not only be understood in a certain chronotope, but is also embedded in ‘infrastructure’, what Arnaut, Karrebaek and Spotti (2016) call Poiesis-infrastructures. 
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Publication series

NameTilburg Papers in Culture Studies


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