Personal and intimate consequences of cultural globalization have received little critical attention in comparison to scholarship on politics, finance, or the environment. Taking digital technology practices of young adult expatriates as an entry point to understand the emotional and affective consequences of transnational mobility, in this article we research the interrelated cultural politics of emotion, migration, and digitization of middle-class mobilities. Presenting a case study of digital experiences of young adult expatriates (aged fifteen to twenty-five years) living in the Netherlands, we seek to better understand how emotions and affects of middle-class transnational mobility are mediated through digital technologies. Our empirical argument draws from thirty-one semistructured, face-to-face in-depth interviews with young adult expatriates and smartphone photo-elicitation exercises. We develop the notion of transnational digital intimacy practices to address how transnational mobile subjects negotiate emotional precarity through selective smartphone and social media practices. Finally, we call into question the notion of “expatriates” as supposed elite mobiles with global privilege. This article is part of the Global Perspectives, Media and Communication special issue on “Media, Migration, and Nationalism,” guest-edited by Koen Leurs and Tomohisa Hirata.

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