Online Migrants

  • Mihaela NedelcuEmail author


Online migrants – as a symbiosis between homo mobilis and homo numericus – embody social transformations which are the result of unprecedented interconnectedness within mobile, cosmopolitanized social worlds.

Based on empirical qualitative research conducted on Romanian migrants over the last fifteen years, this chapter demonstrates that information and communication technologies (ICTs) facilitate the co-presence of mobile actors in multiple locations, enable new forms of intergenerational solidarities within transnational families and enhance new connected ways of mobilization and cohesion at a distance. However, migrants’ ICT-mediated transnational practices present contrasting functions. ICTs can allow migrants to develop a sense of multiple belongings and to incorporate cosmopolitan values, while they also make it possible to uphold particular values and claim a specific cultural belonging while living anywhere in the world. This dialogical reality challenges migration theories with regard to a ‘cosmopolitan turn’ in migration studies.


Online migrants e-diaspora Co-presence Transnationalism Transnational family Transnational habitus Cosmopolitanization 


  1. Alonso, Andoni and Pedro Oiarzabal (eds.). 2010. Diasporas in the new media age. Identity, politics, and community. Reno: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
  2. Amar, Georges. 2010. Homo mobilis. Le nouvel âge de la mobilité, éloge de la reliance. Limoges: FYP Editions.Google Scholar
  3. Amelina, Anna, and Thomas Faist. 2012. De-naturalizing the national in research methodologies: Key concepts of transnational studies in migration. Ethnic and Racial Studies 35(10): 1–18.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, Ulrich, and Nathan Sznaider. 2010. Unpacking cosmopolitanism for the social sciences: A research agenda. The British Journal of Sociology 61: 381–403.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, Ulrich. 2006. Qu’est-ce que le cosmopolitisme. Paris: Aubier [Orig.: Der kosmopolitische Blick oder: Krieg ist Frieden, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2004].Google Scholar
  6. Brinkerhoff, Jennifer. 2009. Digital diasporas. Identity and transnational engagement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Castells, Manuel. 1996. The information age: Economy, society and culture. 1: The rise of the network society. Cambridge, MA/Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Dahinden, Janine. 2016. A plea for the ‘de-migranticization’ of research on migration and integration. Ethnic and Racial Studies. Scholar
  9. Diminescu, Dana. 2005. Le migrant connecté. Pour un manifeste épistémologique. Migrations Société 17(102): 275–292.Google Scholar
  10. Doueihi, Milad. 2008. La grande conversion numérique. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  11. Koslowski, Rey. 2005. International migration and globalization of domestic politics. A conceptual framework. In International migration and globalization of domestic politics, Hrsg. Rey Koslowski, 5–32. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Georgiou, Myria. 2005. Mapping diasporic media cultures: A transnational cultural approach to exclusion. In Media, technology and everyday life in Europe: From information to communication, Hrsg. Roger Silverstone, 33–53. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  13. Mattelart, Tristan. 2009. Les diasporas à l’heure des technologies de l’information et de la communication: petit état des savoirs. TIC et société 3(1–2): 11–57.Google Scholar
  14. Madianou, Mirca, and Daniel Miller. 2012. Migration and new media. Transnational families and polymedia. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Mitra, Ananda, and Eric Watts. 2002. Theorizing cyberspace: The idea of voice applied to the Internet discourse. New Media Society 4: 479–498.Google Scholar
  16. Morin, Edgar. 1990. Introduction à la pensée complexe. Paris: ESF.Google Scholar
  17. Nedelcu, Mihaela. 2009a. Le migrant online: nouveaux modèles migratoires à 1’ère du numérique. Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar
  18. Nedelcu, Mihaela. 2009b. Du brain drain à l’e-diaspora: vers une nouvelle culture du lien à l’ère du numérique? TIC et société 3(1–2): 151–173.Google Scholar
  19. Nedelcu, Mihaela. 2010. (Re)penser le transnationalisme et l’intégration à l’ère du numérique. Vers un tournant cosmopolitique dans l’étude des migrations internationales? Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales (REMI) 26(2): 33–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nedelcu, Mihaela. 2012. Migrants’ new transnational habitus: rethinking migration through a cosmopolitan lens in the digital age. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 38(9): 1339–1356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nedelcu, Mihaela, and Malika Wyss. 2016. ‘Doing family’ through ICT-mediated ordinary co-presence: Transnational communication practices of Romanian migrants in Switzerland. Global Networks 16(2): 202–218.Google Scholar
  22. Robertson, Roland. 1994. Globalisation or glocalization? Journal of International Communication 1(1): 33–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sayad, Abdelmalek. 1999. La double absence. Des illusions de l’émigré aux souffrances de l’immigré. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  24. Sheffer, Gabriel. 2003. Diaspora politics. At home abroad. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sheller, Mimi, and John Urry. 2006. The new mobilities paradigm. Environment and Planning A 38: 207–226.Google Scholar
  26. Waldinger, Roger. 2003. The 21st century: An entirely new story. In Reinventing the melting pot: Will today’s immigrants become Americans? Hrsg. Tamar Jacoby, 75–85. New York: Basic.Google Scholar
  27. Vertovec, Steven. 2009. Transnationalism. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wimmer, Andreas, and Nina Glick-Schiller. 2002. Methodological nationalism and beyond: Nation-state building, migration and the social sciences. Global Networks 24: 301–334.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de sociologieUniversité de NauchâtelNeuchâtelSchweiz

Personalised recommendations