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Call for Papers: Migration Studies in the Digital Area (Antwerp, 2/14-2/15/19)

Posted: 10/18/2018 (Conference)

The digital is intertwined with most aspects of social life today and bears consequences for researching the social regardless of whether it is the researcher’s central topic of study or not. While questions pertaining to the importance and effects of technological innovations in social science research date back to at least the late 1990s, the speed at which new technologies and their practices develop, demands regular updates. This international workshop seeks to address how the digital features in our conception of questions about the social world with a particular focus on migration studies.

Based on empirical research, we invite papers that rethink issues of methodology in the study of mobility and `the digital´. Papers should include an inquiry into one or more of the following questions:

  • How does `the digital´ change the way we approach qualitative research, and do we need to adjust our methodological toolkit?
  • How do we engage with `the digital´ ontologically and epistemologically?
  • What are the ethical concerns and limitations in using digital methods, particularly when studying mobility?
  • What information produced online can we as researchers make use of:
  1. What data can we, ethically, collect (i.e. problem of consent vs. informed consent)?
  2. How do we critically assess digital data?

We encourage paper proposals from various disciplines including, but not limited to, social and cultural anthropology, sociology, human geography, communication studies and the digital humanities by early and mid-career scholars.

As we aim to create a platform for in-depth discussion, selected papers will be grouped into one of three sessions, each led by an expert in the field. The questions below serve as a guide.

Session 1: Studying mobility through digital tools: with Paolo S.H. Favero

  • What questions can digital research address and what answers can it deliver?
  • What insight do we gain from bringing together the study of physical mobility and digital space/digital technologies?

Session 2 Migrant trajectories and experiences of (im)mobility: with Koen Leurs

  • What can researching `the digital´ tell us about the social world of migrants? What can `the digital´ tell us about social phenomena pertaining to mobility?
  • Are there `regimes of mobility´ within digital space? And if so, how do these intertwine with the material world? How do they inform one another?

Session 3 Challenges and limitations of digital research in the context of mobility studies: with Christine Hine

  • What are the limitations and challenges in doing digital research and how can we address them? What are the limitations of the knowledge gained through digital research?
  • What errors have we committed while conducting digital research and what have we learned from them?

Abstracts for papers (max. 300 words) and a short biographical note including your institutional affiliation and position, should be sent via e-mail as Word.doc to Dr Fiona Seiger at

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Deadline: 11/04/2018

Location: Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies, University of Antwerp