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SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011


Migrations, new media and contemporary policies of belonging

Location ID, Piso 1, Room 1.04
Date and Start Time 19 Apr, 2011 at 11:30


Maria Inês David (CRIA/FCSH-UNL) email
Susana Trovão (FCSH/UNL) email
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Short Abstract

Recent developments in new media technologies introduced changes in the ways in which people who are apart communicate. Drawing on ethnographic research, the panel aims to discuss how the use of new media collaborates with more classical strategies and tools of network management and contact.

Long Abstract

Social sciences have been debating for a considerable period of time the complexities involved in managing relations with origin, especially in contexts of transnational and often dispersed migration experiences. Central to these debates, questions of displacement and replacement, integration and positioning, and identity management and display, have always been crossed over by the discussion of migrants' abilities to creatively redefine themselves and respond to their material and emotional personal needs and those of the people from whom they are separated. Recent developments in new media technologies have introduced considerable changes in the ways in which people who are apart communicate. From the generalized use of mobile phones and cheap phone-cards to Facebook, Twitter and Skype, migrants are increasingly in contact, not only with their kin and origin but also with other migrants residing in diverse contexts. Drawing on ethnographic research, this panel aims to discuss how the use of new media collaborates with more classical strategies and tools of network management in migration contexts by allowing new forms of expression and contact. More specifically, the panel aims to a) gather innovative contributions to the study of belonging and emotional relationships between transnational families; b) examine the potentials and constraints that the possibilities of direct and constant contact imply in terms of migration fluxes and reunification plans; and c) discuss its impacts on people in long-distance relationships, in terms of gender relationships, parenting and community boundaries negotiation.

Discussant: Marta Rosales

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Pachakuti punto net: Hip-Hop, territoriality and mass-mediatized spheres of sociality among Andean youth

Author: Karl Swinehart (University of Pennsylvania)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper explores the mediation of belonging among Aymara youth in Bolivia with their diasporic counterparts abroad through online fan sites of Bolivian Hip-Hop groups, and questions the relevance of territory within a discourse community simultaneously oriented to indigeneity and diaspora.

Long Abstract

In Bolivia, the city of El Alto is alternately characterized as the fastest growing, the most densely Indigenous, the most politically militant and, the superlative favored by its promoters, the youngest city, referring both to its recent founding and to demographic fact. The youth of El Alto are overwhelmingly the children of Aymara migrants from the surrounding Andean high plain and are often migrants themselves. Many continue to migrate to other cities in Latin America and Europe. For many youth across these locales, Hip-Hop cultures provide productive sites for self-expression and identity formation, establishing urban belonging but also ties to home.

This paper explores the mediation of belonging among predominantly Aymara youth in the city of El Alto, Bolivia with their diasporic counterparts in other Latin American, European and U.S. cities through online fan sites of El Alto based Hip-Hop groups, drawing on both ethnographic work in Bolivia and discourse analysis of online discussions. These Bolivian artists are committed to Indigenous political movements where territory is paramount, yet how might territory become reconfigured within the deterritorialized networks comprising the discourse community of their fans? Particularly within such a selfconsciously transnational framework as Hip-Hop, how may Bolivia, Qullasuyu, Aymara nationhood, or indigeneity more generally, be reconfigured, reinscribed or rejected by Bolivian migrant youth participating in these forums from locales as distant as São Paulo, Madrid and Washington, D.C?

The 'Asian betweeners': second-generation Asian subculture in Milan's Chinatown. An ethnographic exploration

Author: Lidia K.C. Manzo (University of Trento)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper illustrates a field study conducted in Milan's Chinatown. By using the ethnographic method, this paper aims to explore both young Asians' subculture and their everyday life in this urban space.

Long Abstract

This paper illustrates a field study conducted in Milan's Chinatown. By using the ethnographic method, this study shows that young Chinese in Milan bear multiple and hybrid identities which cross transnational borders. Through a 'cultural research', I explored this ethnic subculture to understand the peculiarities of 'Asian Betweeners' identity.

The Chinese district in Milan can be defined 'one large and condensed contact zone in which borders and ethnic boundaries are blurred and where processes of hybridization are rife inevitably because groups of different backgrounds, ethnic and otherwise, cannot help but enter into relations with each other, no matter how great the desire for separateness and the attempt to maintain cultural purity' (Ang 2001: 89). For the younger Asian Betweeners in Milan's Chinatown, this virtual connection to the global cultural flows constitute a social imaginary, a 'mediascape', as Appadurai (1996) wrote, and it clearly symbolizes a great longing for freedom.

The recent debate over hybridization and globalization with regards to "state's integrity" can be brought as a good example of how, today, we are not sure about space as something circumscribed, homogeneous, and centred. Borders are more permeable and there are multiple centres. The challenge for future research is to analyze how globalization causes the end of places and how alternative spaces are developing. Are we evolving into other ways of living, a virtual communicative globalscape as another form of postmodern reality?

TICs et liens: réseaux et mobilité d'individus et produits chinois à São Paulo

Author: Douglas Piza (University of São Paulo)  email
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Short Abstract


Long Abstract

Nous presentons une recherche sur la présence d'individus et produits chinois dans le commerce de région de la 25 de março, zone centrale de la ville de São Paulo. Le but est de présenter aussi le dispositif commercial touché par la mondialisation par le bas et le rôle de TICs pour la mobilité des chinois.

L`univers empirique de la recherche s`agit du commerce populaire en divers échelles, à la frontière du formel-informel. L`échelle et la nature changent quand le marché informel au coeur de la ville la plus riche de l`Amerique Latine se fournit de l`énergique industrialisation chinoise actuelle. Voilà le rôle des migrants : articuler. Les chinois et les produits sont à São Paulo il y a longtemps. Mais récemment, des nouvelles migrations chinoises impactent l`économie locale et globale : quand les chinois articulent l`importation et la vente, la dynamique gagne centralité dans le commerce. Ce n'est pas aux marges, mais au centre et par le bas où ces spaces sont constuits.

Nous soutenons que les TICs ne sont pas seulement importantes pour mantenir les liens desserrés par la rupture et la distance de la migration, dont lesquels la technologie peut ne pas être suffisante, mais surtout pour la création de nouvelles réseaux en connectant des acteurs et faisant circuler migrants et produits.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.