Virtual Transnationalism: Polish Migrant Families and New Technologies
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The paper addresses the issues pertinent to a practical dimension of “virtual transnationalism”, understood as the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), especially phone and Internet communications by Polish transnational migrants in Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom. This article reviews the relevant literature on spatial mobility, family practices and technology, as well as their mutual connectivity. The findings first take a long-view on the historically emanated crucial change in the accessibility of ICTs to Poles abroad, subsequently moving on to a discussion of the matter with respect to the contemporary post-2004 migrant families. The wide-spread of technology is examined, with a resulting framework showing various engagements with ICTs, dependant on the capacity and motivation of the kinship members in both sending and receiving countries. The findings identify preconditions for using technology-enabled channels as tools for mitigating certain issues arising from separation, as well as the barriers that determine who, how and why uses (or rejects to use) the ICTs, adopting an intersectional perspective (age, skills, social capital) on the one hand, and, on the other hand, looking at individual alternative realizations of family practices beyond borders.
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