Migration studies in the digital era - a workshop on qualitative digital research methodologies and the study of mobilities
Start date : 14 February 2019 09:00
End date : 15 February 2019 17:00
Where : Antwerp | Belgique
Hosted by :
University of Antwerp
Organisers: Fiona Seiger and Christiane Timmerman
The digital is intertwined with most aspects of social life today and bears consequences for researching the social regardless of whether it is the researcher’s central topic of study or not. While questions pertaining to the importance and effects of technological innovations in social science research date back to at least the late 1990s, the speed at which new technologies and their practices develop, demands regular updates . This international workshop seeks to address how the digital features in our conception of questions about the social world with a particular focus on migration studies.
Based on empirical research, we invite papers that rethink issues of methodology in the study of mobility and `the digital´. Papers should include an inquiry into one or more of the following questions:
• How does `the digital´ change the way we approach qualitative research, and do we need to adjust our methodological toolkit?
• How do we engage with `the digital´ ontologically and epistemologically?
• What are the ethical concerns and limitations in using digital methods, particularly when studying mobility?
• What information produced online can we as researchers make use of:
o What data can we, ethically, collect (i.e. problem of consent vs. informed consent)?
o How do we critically assess digital data?
We encourage paper proposals from various disciplines including, but not limited to, social and cultural anthropology, sociology, human geography, communication studies and the digital humanities by early and mid-career scholars.
As we aim to create a platform for in-depth discussion, selected papers will be grouped into one of three sessions, each led by an expert in the field. The questions below serve as a guide.
Session 1 Studying mobility through digital tools :: with Paolo S.H. Favero
• What questions can digital research address and what answers can it deliver?
• What insight do we gain from bringing together the study of physical mobility and digital space/digital technologies?
Session 2 Migrant trajectories and experiences of (im)mobility :: with Koen Leurs
• What can researching
the digital´ tell us about the social world of migrants? What canthe digital´ tell us about social phenomena pertaining to mobility?
• Are there `regimes of mobility´ within digital space? And if so, how do these intertwine with the material world? How do they inform one another?
Session 3 Challenges and limitations of digital research in the context of mobility studies :: with Christine Hine
• What are the limitations and challenges in doing digital research and how can we address them? What are the limitations of the knowledge gained through digital research?
• What errors have we committed while conducting digital research and what have we learned from them?
Christiane Timmerman is a full professor at the University of Antwerp and, as Research Professor (ZAPBOF), acts as the academic director of the Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies (CeMIS – University of Antwerp) that focuses on multidisciplinary research on migration, integration and ethnic minorities. In her function as director of CeMIS, she has built extensive experience coordinating large-scale research projects on international migration and integration.
Christine Hine is a Reader in Sociology at the University of Surrey. Her main research centres on the sociology of science and technology with a particular focus on the role played by new technologies in the knowledge construction process. She has a major interest in the development of ethnography in technical settings and in "virtual methods" (the use of the Internet in social research). In particular, she has developed mobile and connective approaches to ethnography that combine online and offline social contexts. She is the author of Ethnography for the Internet: Embedded, Embodied and Everyday (Bloomsbury, 2015), Virtual Research Methods (Sage, 2013), Understanding Qualitative Research: the Internet (Oxford University Press, 2012), and Virtual Ethnography (Sage, 2000).
Fiona-Katharina Seiger has worked with migrant women in Japan, return migrants in the Philippines and transnationally mobile youth for over a decade. She is now eager to shake up her usual conceptual and methodological approaches, having developed a fascination for `the digital´ in research and the many questions arising from it. Fiona holds a PhD in Sociology from the National University of Singapore and currently works as a post-doctoral researcher at CeMIS at the University of Antwerp. Prior to joining CeMIS, Fiona was based at Kyoto University where she conducted research as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) post-doctoral fellow.
Jamie Coates is an anthropologist who joined the University of Sheffield permanently in 2018 after having previously worked at Sheffield, Waseda University, Osaka University and Sophia University. He specialises in the cultural anthropology of China and Japan and combines visual and digital ethnography with historical and textual analysis to explore the relationship between technology, mobility and imagination in urban Northeast Asia. Jamie is currently investigating how media and migration re-scale local imaginaries in the Sino-Japanese context. Through this interest, Jamie increasingly engages with wider questions of how digital technologies are changing relationships and personhood in East Asia, as well as how digital East Asia challenges current debates in the social sciences and humanities.
Koen Leurs is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate Gender Program, Department of Media and Culture, Utrecht University. He works on digital migration studies and has recently published Digital Passages. Migrant Youth 2.0. Diaspora, Gender & Youth Cultural Intersections (Amsterdam University Press, 2015). Currently, he is co-editing the Sage Handbook of Media and Migration. He is the chair of the European Communication Research and Education (ECREA) Diaspora, Migration and the Media section.
Paolo S.H. Favero is Associate Professor in Film Studies and Visual Culture at the University of Antwerp. A visual anthropologist, he has devoted his career to the study of visual culture in India (and Italy). His core interest is the role of images (new and old) in human life but he is also a specialist of the integration of new technologies within ethnographic methods. He has also has designed a digital tool for conducting emplaced participatory ethnographic work. Paolo is an active photographer and filmmaker and is the author of The Present Image: Visible Stories in a Digital Habitat (Palgrave Macmillan) and Dentro ed Oltre l’Immagine: saggi sulla cultura politica e visive nell’Italia contemporanea (Meltemi).
Practical informations :
Abstracts for papers (max. 300 words) and a short biographical note including your institutional affiliation and positon, should be sent via e-mail as Word.doc attachment by Sunday, November 4th
Decisions will be communicated within the two weeks that follow.
Accepted abstracts should be turned into preliminary papers (3000 words) and sent by Sunday, January 20th.
Please e-mail your abstracts and papers to Dr Fiona Seiger at fiona-katharina.seiger[at]uantwerpen.be
Should you have a preferred session(s), please indicate your preference(s) upon abstract submission.