Every year numerous migrants enter Europe legally and illegally, constructing and sustaining transnational networks through online technologies. These ‘connected migrants’ reconfigure notions of identity, gender and belonging and contribute to a new understanding of Europe as a multidirectional networked society.
Digital Crossings in Europe aims to advance a novel and comprehensive study on gendered migrant networks in Europe. Drawing from the humanities and social sciences the projects combines media and communication studies with gender and postcolonial studies, providing a qualitative approach to the emerging field of critical data studies, while also contributing to the development of postcolonial digital humanities. To this end, the project will work with a mixed methodology that combines digital methods for data visualisation and network analysis in combination with virtual ethnography, in-depth interviews, photo-elicitation techniques and discourse analysis. This will make user-generated digital footprints across applications emerge as hybridised and heterogeneous forms of participation that change the way we understand and account for social inclusion, gender emancipation, intercultural identities and the idea of Europe itself.
The project is organized through 3 Phds projects, one postdoc and a synthetic overview by the principal investigator on postcolonial digital humanities:
- PhD1: Digital Diasporas: London
- PhD2: Digital Diasporas: Amsterdam
- PhD3: Digital Diasporas: Rome
- Postdoc: Homelands
The project focuses on migrant women (aged 18-40) who have settled in Europe’s main cities (London, Amsterdam, Rome), in dialogue with family and loved ones they have left behind (Somalia, Rumania, Turkey). The focus on gender migration, i.e. female migration, is motivated by the so-called femininisation of migration. Though a substantial body of theoretical, policy and case study literature has been produced on female migrants in Europe, the full extent of their digital participation and agency in diverse migratory processes has not been adequately acknowledged and assessed. Global scale female migratory flows are connected to family reunion, arranged marriages, love-chain and care-drain, but also to more unsettling issues such as trafficking of women, or women escaping violent conflict.
Focusing on female migrant diaspora from Somalia, Turkey and Romania living in Europe’s main metropolitan centres (London, Amsterdam, Rome) is relevant for several reasons: 1) it makes it possible to address different patterns of gender migration and integration in Europe (colonial, labour, postsocialist) that account for Europe’s imperial past, as well as post-war patterns of migration and processes of European integration; 2) it explores countries (UK, the Netherlands, Italy) that are heavy receivers of historically different migrant flows and have undergone several shifts in state multicultural policies; 3) it explores the dynamic of European, as well as emerging transnational cities (Istanbul, Mogadishu and Bucharest), as cosmopolitan hubs where difference and conviviality are often grafted into each other, radiating from the local to the global.
Drawing from the humanities and social sciences the project proposes to map and theorise new forms of digital diasporas contributing to the debate on critical data studies and advancing the field of postcolonial digital humanities. It will do so by integrating qualitative and quantitative methods combining media and communication studies with gender and postcolonial studies (digital methods, virtual ethnography, photo-elicitations and discourse analysis).