To be Connected Family or Not to be? ICTs and Transnational Families in the Case of Turkish Transnational Families in Japan

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Esra DEMIRKOL, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Based on my ethnographic fieldwork, among Turkish immigrants in Japan and their left behind families in Turkey, this paper aims to discuss how the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) affect family relations in transnational families. The discussion is grounded on how changing ICTs, especially Internet, are influential in the construction of transnational family relations, how ICTs are powerful on the transformation of family dynamics, specifically of transnational families, and what kind of challenges emerge in the use of everyday developing digital technologies in physically separeted families. Studying family as an institution is a challenging experience for researcher in Turkey because it is regarded as a sensitive and private structure for individuals (e.g. in terms of emotional or financial relations between wife and husband or hierarchy  between wife/husband/children). Therefore, specifically, it is peculiar to understand family relations, dynamics and changes in transnational families; and the construction of ‘family’ through ICTs. Although improvements in communication technology is very crucial in the construction of transnational families; I argue that it creates an illusion of being family, creates kind of ‘virtual families’. Therefore, how ICTs connect and transform transnational families; and why being connected is importand for them in the case of Turkish transnational families in Japan will be discussed in this paper.