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Grant reference: RES-000-22-2266

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Seminar/workshop details

Mediating migration : polymedia and transnational family communication
The phenomenon of left-behind children within transnational families is widely assumed to be one of the hidden injuries of globalisation. This paper asks whether the massive transformation in new communications technologies over the last few years has had an impact on the ability of transnational families to cope with separation. For example, a migrant mother in London can now call and text her left-behind children in the Philippines several times a day, peruse social networking sites and leave the webcam on for 12 hours achieving a sense of co-presence. In this talk I will draw on a three year comparative ethnography of Filipino migrant women in the UK and their left-behind children in the Philippines which was part for the ESRC-funded Project: Migration, ICTs and Transnational families conducted in collaboration with Daniel Miller. In my talk I will contrast the perspectives of migrant mothers and left-behind children. Whilenew communication technologies allow mothers to feel empowered in reconstituting their maternal identities, their left-behind children remainsignificantly more ambivalent about the consequences of transnational communication. Although new media, understood as an emerging environment of polymedia, cannot solve relationship problems, they do become increasingly integral to the way relationships are enacted and experienced. Moreover, I will conclude that they are also beginning to transform the wider experience of migration as they affect key decisions relating to migration or settlement.

Primary contributor

Author Mirca Madianou

Bodies involved

Host Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester

Additional details

29 February 2012
29 February 2012