Linking with migrants: The potential of digitally mediated connections to build social capital during crisis

Charishma Ratnam, Chloe Keel, Rebecca Wickes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Migrants rely on social capital when (re)settling in host communities. Connections with organisations are fundamental to developing local ties and accessing services. While scholarship is replete with studies on bonding and bridging ties, little is known about organisations’ ties with migrants. Less is known about how digital technologies facilitate these links. Our article draws on interviews conducted at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis with 23 organisations that support migrants. Our research involved: understanding how digital linking ties were developed; ways that organisations transitioned from in-person to digital engagements during the Covid-19 lockdowns; and how this transition facilitated engagement/reach across migrant communities. Our findings showed that organisations maintained ties with migrants when digital platforms enabled reciprocal engagement. We highlight challenges to creating linking ties largely due to resources constraints. This article contributes nuanced understandings of linking social capital and the impacts of a crisis on the development of social capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-284
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • crisis
  • digital sociology
  • linkers
  • linking social capital
  • migrants
  • organisations
  • social capital

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