In May I will be at the Media and Digital Anthropology Lab based at the Department of European Ethnology of Humboldt University in Berlin to give a seminar presentation about social media and feelings of transnational co-presence based on my fieldwork in Istanbul, Turkey.
Here’s the draft abstract of my talk:
This paper investigates the social media usage practices of second- and third-generation Turkish-Dutch migrants who grew up in the Netherlands and migrated to Istanbul in adulthood. First-generation Turkish migrants deviated from the path of official expectations for return migration when significant portions remained and raised families in the Western European countries to which they migrated for work in the 60s and 70s. The renewed mobility between Turkey and the Netherlands among segments of their children and grandchildren produces new circuits of migration and raises questions about how contemporary transnational connections are formed within media environments that include an unprecedented prevalence of social media use. On the basis of ethnographic research I conducted in Istanbul with Turkish-Dutch migrants, I engage with the scholarship on experiences of transnational “co-presence” in migrants’ everyday of family lives. I show how social media are taken up as part of mediating multiple and carefully managed experiences of presence with friends and family through an interlinked variety of mobile smartphone applications. I argue that the spatial and temporal demands of my respondents’ urban lifestyles in megacity, Istanbul, shape their particular ways of using mobile social media apps to maintain social and emotional relationships between Istanbul and the Netherlands.