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A critical approach to the separation between the digital and the real

MIG@NET will treat digital networks as sets of social practices (not just pieces of technology) that map onto real, rather than virtual geographies. From this perspective, research and analysis will place on the same plane the experiences, histories and everyday practices of migrants moving between geographical areas and between digital spaces. The engagement of migrants with digital mediums will be seen as a means of producing, re-producing, or challenging cultural forms and identities. The “connected migrant’s” digital activities are expansive: through the global interconnections offered by the web, migrants re-draw the relationships they have with their environments at home, at their host country or in-between, and may participate in multiple worldwide networks that are integrated into their everyday local reality. In this sense, MIG@NET will not simply address the ‘use’ or the ‘effects’ of digital technologies: instead, it will look at how migrants attempt to construct cultures and identities in a transforming communicative environment, how they can locate themselves in this environment and at the same time try to mould it in their own preferred image. While there is growing evidence on the use of new digital tools and platforms by migrants for diverse cultural purposes, the multiple intersections between migrant and digital networks -both networks that connect different locations of origin and destination, as well as places of transit- still remain largely unexplored. MIG@NET will address the rise of transnational digital networks as both an opportunity and a challenge for the inclusion of migrants.