Doing Family at a Distance: Transnational Family Practices in Polymedia Environments

Madianou, Mirca. 2017. Doing Family at a Distance: Transnational Family Practices in Polymedia Environments. In: L Hjorth; H Horst; G Bell and A Galloway, eds. Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography. London: Routledge, pp. 102-112. ISBN 9781138940918 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter explores a specific type of relationship—that between parents and children who live apart from each other. The proliferation of communication platforms has contributed to the transformation of the experience of parenting and intimacy at a distance. Communication technologies allow transnational families to come together through sets of mediated practices. This chapter reports on long-term ethnography with UK-based Filipino migrants and their children who remain in the Philippines. Participant observation including online environments (Hine 2015; Pink et al. 2016) has been critical for understanding the intimacy and complex emotions involved in family relationships, especially in the context of separation. Multi-sited ethnography (Marcus 1995) has also been vital for understanding the transnational nature of family dynamics. The chapter relates some of the key findings of this research (which are reported extensively elsewhere: Madianou 2012, 2014, 2016; Madianou and Miller 2012) to the particular approach followed. The ethnography on which this chapter is based has also provided the foundation for developing a new theory of polymedia and the chapter will conclude by reflecting on the role of ethnography for theory building.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


1 January 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

09 Apr 2021 14:43

Last Modified:

16 Apr 2021 15:06


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