This article interrogates new forms of digital cosmopolitanism(s) by introducing a critical postcolonial framework that allows an investigation of how digital connectivity operates in the everyday lives of migrants. We are talking today not of the disenfranchised but of the “connected migrant” (Diminescu 2008), a new citizen of the world, who is both rooted and routed, and whose global interactions are marked by the use of social networks. This allows physical distance to be bridged by digital proximity, creating new paradigms for the understanding of the affective turn online, which significantly changes the experience of migration and the idea of connectivity. Yet the ubiquity of digital connectivity does not mean an end to social inequalities; it can lead to new forms of isolation and radicalization for subaltern subjects. New forms of datafication, biometric assemblage, and algorithmic culture have intensified the ways in which bodies and identities can circulate across and beyond borders, heightening the speed of connectivity and circulation. Despite and because of these new technological innovations, many bodies remain stuck in space and kept on hold. The undesired effects of function creep, data leaks, and biometric sorting lead to discriminatory practices that put the notion of digital cosmopolitanism in jeopardy, reactivating old, long-standing forms of colonial practices and surveillance, but now in the form of data extraction and biometric categorizations. A postcolonial intervention into the notion of digital cosmopolitanisms is therefore needed in order to chart the reproductions of power asymmetries, by focusing, for example, not only on digital voices from below but also on the everydayness of cosmopolitanism and on the banal ways of engaging with digital connectivity and transnational belonging. This article is part of the Global Perspectives Communication and Media special issue on “Media, Migration, and Nationalism,” guest-edited by Koen Leurs and Tomohisa Hirata.
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Research Article| June 17 2020
Digital Cosmopolitanism: Notes from the Underground
Global Perspectives (2020) 1 (1): 12548.
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Sandra Ponzanesi; Digital Cosmopolitanism: Notes from the Underground. Global Perspectives 11 May 2020; 1 (1): 12548. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gp.2020.12548
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