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Open Access On digital crossings in Europe

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‘On digital crossings in Europe’ explores the entanglements of digital media and migration beyond the national and mono-ethnic focus. We argue how borders, identity and affectivity have been destabilized and reconfigured through medium-specific technological affordances, opting for a comparative and postcolonial framework that focuses on diversity in conjunction with cosmopolitan aspirations. Internet applications make it possible to sustain new forms of diaspora and networks, which operate within and beyond Europe, making issues of ethnicity, nationality, race and class not obsolete but transformed. It is therefore important and timely to analyse how these reconfigurations take place and affect everyday life. Using a critical approach to digital tools that avoids utopian notions of connectivity and borderlessness, this article highlights the dyssymmetries and tensions produced by the ubiquitousness of digital connectivity. It further introduces the different contributions to the special issue, making connections and tracing relations among themes and methods and sketching main patterns for further research. It also offers a panorama of other related studies and projects in the field, which partake in a critical reassessment of the enabling power of digital media and their divisive implications for new forms of surveillance, online racism and ‘economic’ inequality, which we gather under the heading of postcolonial digital humanities.

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Keywords: Europe; border; diaspora; digital; digital humanities; postcolonial; racism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht University 2: London School of Economics

Publication date: 2014-03-01

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  • The course of cultures at both local and global levels is crucially affected by migratory movements. In turn, culture itself is turned migrant. This journal will advance the study of the plethora of cultural texts on migration produced by an increasing number of cultural practitioners across the globe who tackle questions of culture in the context of migration. They do this in a variety of ways and through a variety of media. To name but a few relevant aspects of this juncture of migration and culture, questions of dislocation, travel, borders, diasporic identities, transnational contacts and cultures, cultural memory, the transmission of identity across generations, questions of hybridity and cultural difference, the material and oral histories of migration and the role of new technologies in bridging cultures and fostering cultural cross-pollination will all be relevant. Methodologies of research will include both the study of 'texts' and fieldwork.
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