Annotation: Madinou, Mirca and Miller, Daniel. 2012. Migration and New Media

Madinou, Mirca and Miller, Daniel. 2012. Migration and New Media: Transnational Families and Polymedia. London: Routledge.

“Polymedia” refers to the “various, constantly changing media and the need for each relationship to create a configuration of usage generally employing several different media” (124). Departing from the “global care chain” theory in migration studies, and looking at the study of “polymedia” using anthropological structuralism, the authors follow the stories of Filipino mothers and their children, and their use of media technologies in the transnational realm. The authors follow Alfred Gell and Bruno Latour in accepting that objects also have agency by recognizing that “polymedia actually shifts the core relationship between society and media” (137). With the existing variety of media, people have also regained control over technologies of communication. Access, media literacy and infrastructure comprise the three prerequisites for polymedia. Media are no longer only a means of transmitting a message; they also become an idiom for expressive intent (125-6), thus leading the authors to theorize on “mediated relationships” (Chapter 9). Different technologies engender different socialities (128). For instance, phones imply immediacy, sense of urgency, and authority. Emails allow for a delayed response, while texting is used for playful banters (148). Through mediation, members of transnational families are able to manage emotions and are also able to achieve the “ideal distance” (146). With that, the authors argue that theories of migration need to start from a premise that “communication technologies and relationships are mutually constitutive,” and that relationships between family members can also transform because of the tangibility of media technologies (150).

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