Due to a multitude of social and technological developments over the last decades, the concepts and structures of family as well as the practices of kinship, relatedness and care are currently subject to profound transformation processes. How do digital media practices interact with the changing notion of family as something which is not given, but rather something you 'do', especially in the context of labor migration and geographically dispersed families? And what exactly changes when the 'doing' of family and relatedness involves ‘new' instead of 'old' communication media - i.e. Skype, FaceTime, mobile phones, Instagram and Facebook instead of letters, home videos or the landline? How are the changing gender roles negotiated, especially in the context of "mediated parenthood", care for elderly family members and care migration, and to what extent do they impact on related processes of social change? These are just a few questions which serve to illustrate the complex interlocking of communication media and new technologies with the increasing dissociation of work/place and family.
The aim of this digital research-oriented course is twofold: 1) to familiarize participants with some key theoretical questions, concepts and methods used in the field of transnational or multi-local family studies and 2) to enable student research groups to develop a relevant research question to be explored in a small qualitative study. Methods may range from observations, interviews or group discussions, analysis of visual material to online or social media ethnography. Proof of achievement: active participation via Moodle, willingness to work in teams, presentation of fieldwork (academic poster, visual essay, video/audio documentation and/or recorded presentation).
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Toyota, M. & Xiang, B. (2012). The emerging transnational “retirement industry” in Southeast Asia. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 32(11/12), 708-719.
Chib, A.; Malik, S; Aricat, R.G. & Kadir, S.Z. (2014). Migrant mothering and mobile phones: Negotiations of transnational identity. Mobile Media & Communication. Vol. 2 (1), 73-93.