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Lynnette Arnold: Communicative Mobility: Multiply Mediated Interaction and its Consequences in Transnational Salvadoran Families

Intersubjektiivisuus vuorovaikutuksessa -huippuyksikössä vierailee väitöskirjantekijä Lynnette Arnold (Dpt. of Linguistics, University of California Santa Barbara) syyskuun loppupuolella.

Arnold pitää esitelmän ja datasession aiheesta

Communicative Mobility: Multiply Mediated Interaction and its Consequences in Transnational Salvadoran Families

torstaina 26.9. Castrenianumin seminaarihuoneessa (os. Fabianinkatu 33, 4. kerros) klo 12-14.

Abstrakti löytyy viestini lopusta.

Lisätietoja Arnoldista ja hänen tutkimuksestaan: http://larnold.ucsblinguist.org/.



Inspired the new mobilities paradigm (Cresswell 2006, 2010, Holdsworth 2013, Sheller & Urry 2006), a sociolinguistics of mobility has begun to emerge at the intersection of fields that study language and social life (Blommaert 2005, 2010, Collins & Slembrouck 2005, 2007, Coupland 2003). Building on this scholarship, my research contributes an examination of everyday interaction in transnational families whose free movement has been impeded by restrictive immigration laws. Drawing on three years of ethnographic fieldwork with families stretched between El Salvador and the United States, this paper analyzes video recordings of spontaneous family conversations to describe the interactional practices that these transnational families use to establish and maintain intersubjectivity. My analysis demonstrates that prolonged physical separation within such families gives rise to complex interactional patterns, what I call communicative mobility, in which interaction is multiply mediated across space and time, interlocutors and technology.

Moreover, my research investigates the implications of such communicative mobility for family organization, the framework within which intersubjectivity emerges. My research suggests that the multiple mediation of transnational interaction produces an uneven distribution of information across the family in ways that often give women and youth an advantage due to women's disproportionate responsibility for emotional labor and young people's greater facility with technologically-mediated communication. This uneven distribution of symbolic capital functions to introduce movement into familial spheres of influence and divisions of authority, particularly with regard to gender and generation. Rather than constituting radical and abrupt transformations, these interactions torque normative systems, momentarily destabilizing and incrementally shifting established hierarchies, thus leveraging possibilities of change.

In today's globalized and technologized world, communicative mobility is widespread, characterizing interaction in most families, and indeed, in many other contexts as well. However, communicative mobility in transnational families can be thought of as an extreme case in which multiply mediated interactions are more central to everyday life. For transnational families, communicative mobility is made to carry significant weight, as crucial decisions regarding familial survival are worked out through such interactions. Therefore, the effects of such multiply-mediated interactional practices on family organization are highlighted and made more visible for study. My research thus proposes transnational families as a starting place for understanding the contours and consequences of interactional practices that are increasingly widespread in today's world.


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Blommaert, Jan. 2010. The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Collins, James, and Stef Slembrouck. 2005. "Multilingualism and Diasporic Populations: Spatializing

Practices, Institutional Processes, and Social Hierarchies." Language & Communication 25(3):189-195.

Collins, James, and Stef Slembrouck. 2007. "Goffman & Globalisation: Participation Frames and the Spatial & Temporal Scaling of Migration-connected Multilingualism." In Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies.

Coupland, Nikolas. 2003. "Introduction: Sociolinguistics and Globalisation." Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(4): 465–472.

Cresswell, T. 2010. "Mobilities I: Catching Up." Progress in Human Geography 35(4): 550–558.

Cresswell, Tim. 2006. On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World. New York: Routledge.

Holdsworth, Clare. 2013. Family and Intimate Mobilities. New York: Palgrave MacMillian.

Sheller, Mimi, and John Urry. 2006. "The New Mobilities Paradigm." Environment and Planning A 38 (2): 207–226.