Social networking in a digital and mobile world: the case of environmentally-related migration in Bangladesh

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Abstract

This paper interrogates how the social networks and the networking of migrants, and through that their migration trajectories, are being shaped by mobile technologies. I examine this through the case of environmentally-related migration in Bangladesh. This case, and the issue of environmentally-related migration more generally, provides new insights as it has a different context to most of the cases thus far examined to study the implications of ICTs on migration. In contrast to those studies, it is about internal movement. Such movement is highly dynamic with people frequently visiting places of origin or even trying to move back, and with travel routes being relatively safe and well known. It is less about smart phones and social media, as many of the most affected only have access to a mobile phone without internet. In that context, this paper shows that the use of mobile technologies does not necessarily lead to a drastic shift of social network structure towards the proliferation of weak ties. Rather, in this case, the impact is on how (often existing) ties that are geographically dispersed are utilised to enable mobility in a more coordinated manner, making mobility decisions more reflected on and to an extent less risky
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2019

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Bangladesh
networking
migration
social network
social media
proliferation
migrant
travel
Internet
Social Networking
Social Networks
Mobile Technology

Cite this

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title = "Social networking in a digital and mobile world: the case of environmentally-related migration in Bangladesh",
abstract = "This paper interrogates how the social networks and the networking of migrants, and through that their migration trajectories, are being shaped by mobile technologies. I examine this through the case of environmentally-related migration in Bangladesh. This case, and the issue of environmentally-related migration more generally, provides new insights as it has a different context to most of the cases thus far examined to study the implications of ICTs on migration. In contrast to those studies, it is about internal movement. Such movement is highly dynamic with people frequently visiting places of origin or even trying to move back, and with travel routes being relatively safe and well known. It is less about smart phones and social media, as many of the most affected only have access to a mobile phone without internet. In that context, this paper shows that the use of mobile technologies does not necessarily lead to a drastic shift of social network structure towards the proliferation of weak ties. Rather, in this case, the impact is on how (often existing) ties that are geographically dispersed are utilised to enable mobility in a more coordinated manner, making mobility decisions more reflected on and to an extent less risky",
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