Prof. Dr. Friedrich Krotz
ZeMKI, University of Bremen

Deutsch | English


Download flyer here.

Mediatization of Parent-Child Relationships in Transnational Migration. A comparative study of articulation of embodied and mediated practices of care and education in transnational families

Project leadersProf. Dr. Heike Greschke

Project assistants: Diana Dreßler, Konrad Hierasimowicz

Research field: Action and interaction forms

How do families maintain intimate relationships and everyday life when geographical distances and national borders separate children from their parents? What is the importance of communication technologies in these transnational remote family arrangements?

The aim of this project is a transnational comparative reconstruction of the techno-social constitution of everyday worlds of families in the context of transnational migration. Family is hereby understood as "generated by the acquisition and holding of a mother and/or father role in the everyday life of a child" (Lenz, 2007: 192). The project examines how, and with which implications, the position of a mother or a father does (not) succeed in the context of geographic distance within the everyday life of one child or several children. The project pays special attention to the interdependencies between technological and social process logics and to the question how they are manifested in interaction patterns, family routines and parenting care practices. The conceptual starting point is based on the assumption that not only everyday life, social relations and practices are increasingly mediated, but also vice versa: media and its meaning as an instrument for shaping social life develop in everyday life and media is increasingly socialized during its history of innovation and usage.

Asking the question which social changes are generally caused by the progressive integration of media in everyday life and by the increasing mediatization of interpersonal communication and how the mediatization of the immediate social relations is conveyed and designed by the actors. Transnational families are the vanguard, because they have to resort to communicative mobility resources, to compensate the limitations of physical mobility associated with transnational migration.

The investigation is based on a sample of appropriate comparison and contrast cases, representing the different space-time patterns, border regimes and (socio-cultural) familial constellations. According to the research subject, the project is designed as a transnational collaborative research which connects methods of ethnography and communication analysis in order to describe the everyday worlds of transnational families in their specific techno-social constitution. As a first step, a sample from different family constellations will be generated using ethnographic methods. The second step will be focused on the multimodal and multimedia communication worlds of transnational families in a comparative perspective using methods of category analysis.

The following questions are directive for the analysis:

1.      Which techno-social resources and practices are enabling the caring of “we-relationships” in a transnational familial everyday life, being a part of the world, “exist in common range at the same time”, although the participants are located at more or less apart from each other?

2.      How does the institution of a family change concerning its primary relationships and duties trough the structuring interference of information and communication technologies? In how far do communication technologies shape the practices and semantics of presence, absence, intimacy, faith and loyalty in transnational families? As to which extend is it possible to mediate care and educational work?

3.      What is the relationship between bodily and mediated forms of interaction within the context of parenting at a distance? Which terms are useful in order to describe the emerging techno-social hybrid forms?

The applied research project is sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as a part of the priority program “Mediatized Worlds” within the research field “action and interaction forms”. It connects empirically to multi local and transnational family studies and links them to the sociological theory of interaction from the perspective of the theory of mediatisation.


Greschke, Heike (2014): "Mein Smartphone ist mein Schatz". Intimität in transnationalen Familien. In: Hahn, Kornelia (Eds.) (2014): E<3Motion. Intimität in Medienkulturen. Wiesbaden: Springer VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 151-167.

Greschke, Heike (2013): Wie ist globales Zusammenleben möglich? Die Transnationalisierung der unmittelbaren sozialen Beziehungen und ihre methodologische Reflexion. In: Soeffner, Hans-Georg (Eds.) (2013): Transnationale Vergesellschaftungen. Verhandlungen des 35. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Frankfurt am Main 2010. Wiesbaden: Springer VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 371-383.

Greschke, Heike (2012): Egal, wer Du bist? Kommunikative Praktiken der Zugehörigkeit und Distinktion im medialen Alltag transnationaler Migration. In: Stegbauer, Christian (Eds.) (2012): Ungleichheit. Medien- und kommunikationssoziologische Perspektiven. Wiesbaden: Springer VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, pp. 197-219.

Greschke, Heike (2012): Make yourself at home in - Meanings of proximity and togetherness in the era of 'broadband society'. In: Fortunati, Leopoldina/Pertierra, Raul/Vincent, Jane (Eds.) (2012): Migration, diaspora, and information technology in global societies. New York, NY [u.a.]: Routledge, pp. 124-138.

Greschke, Heike (2012): Is there a home in cyberspace? The internet in migrants' everyday life and the emergence of global communities. New York [u.a.] : Routledge.

Greschke, Heike (2010): Mediated cultures of mobility: The art of positioning ethnography in global landscapes. Working Paper 78/2010, COMCAD - Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development, Bielefeld, Link zum Volltext.

Greschke, Heike (2009): Daheim in Zusammenleben im medialen Alltag der Migration. Qualitative Soziologie, Band 10. Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius.

Greschke, Heike (2008): „¡Ahora el mundo los está mirando!“ - Transnational Negotiations of Paraguayness in an Internet-based Global Community. In: Thies, Sebastian/Raab, Josef (Eds.) (2008): E Pluribus Unum? National and Transnational Identities in the Americas / Identidades nacionales y transnacionales en las Américas. Berlin: Lit Verlag, pp. 229-246.

Greschke, Heike (2008): Does It Matter Where You Are? Transnational Migration, Internet Usage and the Emergence of Global Togetherness. In: Anghel, Remus/Gerharz, Eva/Rescher, Gilberto/Salzbrunn, Monika (Eds.) (2008): The Making of ‚World Society’. Transnational Practices and Global Patterns. Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 275-289.

Greschke, Heike (2007): Bin ich drin? Methodologische Reflektionen zur ethnografischen Forschung in einem plurilokalen, computervermittelten Feld [45 Absätze]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 8(3), Art. 32, Link zum Volltext.



Greschke, Heike: Soziale Konflikte der Medialisierung. Presentation at "GGS-Graduiertenkonferenz 2014 „Medialisierung sozialer Konflikte“", JLU Gießen, held 2014-12-05.

Greschke, Heike: Vom „bowing letter“ zum „always on“: Medien_Sozialisation in transnationalen Familien. Workshop „Mediatisierung und Mediensozialisation: Komplementäre oder konkurrierende Perspektiven?, University Siegen, held 2014-09-19.

Greschke, Heike: Neue Medien = neue Methoden? Ethnographie im digitalen Zeitalter. Presentation at Ethnographische Onlineforschung, Johannes-Gutenberg-University Mainz, held 2014-07-04.

Greschke, Heike: Living boundaries and mediatized spaces. The techno-social constituents of transnational families. Presentation at Workshop "Transnationale Mikrostrukturen", Johannes-Gutenberg-University Mainz, November 2013.

Greschke, Heike: Is there a home in Cyberspace? Sociological reflections on technologized intimacies in transnational family life. Presentation at "Les pratiques numériques de migrants, Fondation maison des sciences de l‘homme", Paris, held 2013-09-19.

Greschke, Heike: Ethnography and Mediated Cultures of Mobility: Facing borderless fields and global situations. Presentation at ESA-Research-Network 20 Qualitative Methods Midterm Conference „Innovating Qualitative Research: Challenges and Opportunities“, University Bayreuth, 2013-09-20 until 2013-09-21.