Distributed Families

Catherine Solheim and Polina Levchenko talk about spouses and others in dispersed relationships who must mediate both technology-enhanced communication and intercultural communication.

Catherine explains circumstances that create dispersed families: opportunities, need to leave for economic survival, becoming refugees. She talked with Mexican families. Mexican men talked about their efforts to maintain their role in the family at a distance.

Polina talks with her family almost every day via Skype, and sometimes finds they have nothing to talk about when they see each other.

Catherine: women workers maintain ties and relationships at a distance. Distributed families represent latest of many changes in families, and they are now part of the emerging global order. Bernadette adds that we will now reflect on how technologies are personal in our lives.

Catherine: in the 70s, aerograms the preferred medium of communication. In contrast, when her daughter went to study abroad in Spain, the first thing she did upon arrival was to carry her computer around so she could show her family what it was like.

Catherine: families adapt their communication differently. Some are more instrumental, others are more intimate.

Polina: her mother says that "everything is there [Skype]," i.e., presence

Catherine: with international marriages, chance to get to know each other over the Internet, though it's startling to see them in person, not speaking the others' language.

Rick: Facebook, other technologies "revillaging" us. And perhaps sometimes we're too closely connected?

Catherine: "emerging adulthood" a relatively recent development in Western countries. How does technology complicate that process?

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This page contains a single entry by Cristina Lopez published on April 29, 2011 12:08 PM.

Distributed Families and Technologies that connect them was the previous entry in this blog.

Bridging the Technological Divide is the next entry in this blog.

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