The sites, scale, and slippage of networked belongingness: The (dis)connected lives of ageing migrants during the pandemic
Date: Thursday, 18 August 2022, 11:30am - 1:00pm
Location: Building EB, Level 3, Room 38 (EB.3.38), Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University
Presenter: Earvin Charles Cabalquinto
Modern communication technologies have served as lifelines in pandemic times. Governments, institutions, and individuals across the world have relied heavily on a range of technological apparatuses to traverse the multiple immobilities stirred by the global health crisis. This provocation illuminates the ways older adults from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds used a plethora of mobile devices and online channels to enact a sense of belongingness and ontological security during a series of lockdowns in Victoria, Australia. Drawing from remote interviews among 15 elderly CALD people in 2020 and follow-up interviews among 10 of these 15 participants in 2021, it underscores the intimate, multi-scalar, and paradoxical dimension of enacting digitised belongingness. The findings show that networked connectivity has been a fundamental and urgent intervention to cushion the tensions, anxieties, and even isolation experienced by ageing migrants in navigating the lockdowns. However, for those constrained with digital access and competencies, digital media use has triggered immobilising and exclusionary experiences. In sum, building on the conceptual frame of “mediated (im)mobilities” (Cabalquinto, 2022), this presentation critically unpacks the performance of belongingness across translocal and transnational spaces mobilised by uneven social structures and digital infrastructures.
Earvin Charles Cabalquinto is a Lecturer in Communication (Digital Media) at Deakin University. He is also a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. He an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University. He is the author of the book “(Im)mobile Homes: Family life at a distance in the age of mobile media”, published under the Studies in Mobile Communication series of Oxford University Press (OUP). His research interests are situated within the intersecting fields of digital media, (im)mobilities, and migration research.