On 21, 22 and 23 April, the international online conference Migrant Belongings: Digital Practices and the Everyday will take place. The conference is part of the ERC project CONNECTINGEUROPE, Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging. The conference is organized in collaboration with the DMM section (Diaspora, Migration and the Media) of ECREA (European Communication Research and Education).
Migrant belonging through digital connectivity refers to a way of being in the world that cuts across national borders, shaping new forms of diasporic affiliations and transnational intimacy. This happens in ways that are different from the ways enabled by the communication technologies of the past. Scholarly attention has intensified around the question of how various new technical affordances of platforms and apps are shaping the transnationally connected, and locally situated, social worlds in which migrants live their everyday lives.
The media and migration
This international conference focuses on the connection between the media and migration from different disciplinary vantage points. Connecting with friends, peers and family, sharing memories and personally identifying information, navigating spaces and reshaping the local and the global in the process is but one side of the coin of migrant-related technology use: this Janus-faced development also subjects individual as well as groups to increased datafied migration management, algorithmic control and biometric classification as well as forms of transnational authoritarianism and networked repression.
National diasporic formations
This conference pays particular attention to the everyday use of digital media for the support of transnational lives, emotional bonds and cosmopolitan affiliations, focusing also on the the role digital media play in shaping local/urban and national diasporic formations. This is because it becomes increasingly important to give everyday digital media usage a central role in investigations of transnational belonging, digital intimacy, diasporic community (re)production, migrant subject formation, long-distance political participation, urban social integration and local/national self-organization.
Spaces of belongingness
Therefore we need to examine individual and collective user practices within the wider historical and cultural contexts of media studies, cultural studies and postcolonial cultural studies scholarship, attuned to issues of politics and power, identity, geographies and the everyday. This also creates new challenges for cross-disciplinary dialogues that require an integration of ethnography with digital methods and critical data studies in order to look at the formation of identity and experience, representation, community building, and creating spaces of belongingness.
Contemporary migration experiences
Contributions are welcome from any field of study that engages with questions about how technology and social media usages mediate contemporary migration experiences, not only within media and communication studies, or digital and internet studies but also in neighbouring disciplines such as anthropology, postcolonial studies, gender studies, race studies, psychology, law, visual studies, conflict studies, criminology, sociology, critical theory, political theory and international relations.
Contributions that explore non-media-centric entry points by focusing on users’ digital practices and foregrounding ethnographic exploration as a uniting framework are especially welcome.
- Paul Gilroy (University College London)
- Engin Isin (Queen Mary, University of London)
- Nicholas de Genova (University of Houston)
- Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University, Melbourne)
- Saskia Witteborn (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Convener: Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University)