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.
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.