Digital Society Forum Digital Society Forum
Dossier 18/02/2014

How do migrants use ICTs?

Migrants are deeply connected to technology: yesterday's vectors of technological innovation between countries have been replaced by the internet. Migrants are currently very specific users of ICTs.

Aware of the benefits provided by mobile phones, migrants have not waited for the democratization of mobile equipment nor to benefit from digital inclusion policies which might have an impact on them. An unblocked mobile phone shared among several people, hunting for free call zones, whatever it takes to call the family back home for a little longer. But their use of ICTs goes much further than simply communicating.

Thanks to the new smart tools, migrant populations are developing new strategies which allow them to keep a link with their country of origin, as much as to integrate into their host country. A real solution to the most precarious situations, the mobile phone is a working tool, a tool for creating activity and a weapon all at the same time. When access to the internet is possible, many migrants contribute to websites which become virtual places for exchanging information and good tips, but more still, to create a bond and to maintain a collective identity. A use which is all the more visible thanks to the traces left by their digital activity which can be collected and analysed by researchers.

So the study of how migrants use new tools and new services makes it possible to become aware of some changes in their aspirations. While migrants appreciate this proximity with their loved ones, thanks to new digital services they also develop more individual avoidance strategies to escape both cultural and economic pressure, such as transferring money by mobile. Destined to be redefined upon contact with migrant populations, the new digital tools fit into individual and collective strategies woven by migrants, who become "e-strategists".


> The vital mobile phone in the migrant’s pocket
In the hand of a migrant, mobile phones are put to various uses: for communications, as weapons, for work, or even for mobile banking. A mobile phone is a veritable Swiss army knife, although it still has some limitations.

> When connectivity becomes stifling
Yes to gaining proximity with ICT, but without being "stifled". It is one of the rather unexpected findings noted by the researchers: between proximity strategies and avoidance strategies emerges the new portrait of an autonomous migrant.

> Mobile Banking, the tool of the independent migrant
Previously interpreted as the expression of an 'informal family contract', the money transfers made by migrants are changing thanks to new mobile transfer services. Proof that migrants are keen to do everything they can to gain a little more independence.

> E-diaspora: existing online
When websites maintained by migrants become "catalysts of collective identity", and places of debate for these new active and mobilized 'netizens', who are both 'here and there ' at once.

> What can we learn from the migrants’ web?
Digital data which make it possible to trace migration routes and visualize virtual and moving diaspora communities; the revival of a field of research?

> From social integration to digital inclusion
And if the integration of migrants passed through digital facilities? This is the principle of digital inclusion, a solution that made its way into the latest report by The French Digital Council, and its evidence via the action of associations.


Interviews

Interviews réalisés par Gentiane Weil à l'occasion des journées d'étude TIC - migrations, qui se sont déroulées à la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme à Paris, les 19 et 20 septembre 2013, sous la direction de Dana Diminescu, de Telecom Paris Tech, avec la participation d'Orange.

Roger Waldinger

Le migrant connecté - Roger Waldinger par digitalsocietyforum

Roger Waldinger décrit dans la vidéo les technologies utilisées par les migrants, selon la disponibilité des équipements, les usages, le niveau économique et culturel des migrants. Il s'intéresse en particulier aux usages des migrants de 2e génération.


Koen Leurs

Le migrant connecté - Koen Leurs par digitalsocietyforum

Koen Leurs s'intéresse à l'image que les jeunes hollandais d'origine marocaine donnent à voir d'eux-mêmes sur les réseaux sociaux, et les références qu'ils utilisent. Il met en évidence la particularité des échanges avec les autres jeunes, selon qu'ils sont hollandais ou marocains de 2e génération.


Comments

To react to this article, I log in I sign up

Be the first to react to this article!

Sign up

Join the Digital Society Forum to discuss and react on articles and be informed of upcoming events

DSF