RESEARCH PROGRAM ON THE USES OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
TECHNOLOGIES IN MIGRATIONS
Led by Dana Diminescu, the “Research Program on the Uses of ICT in Migrations” (or “ICT-Migrations”) is one of the FMSH’s thematic research programs. It explores the impact of new technologies on the migrant world (occupation of digital territories by diasporas, policies on the digital management of migrants, fresh epistemological perspectives in the analysis of migrations in the age of ICT…).
This program was developed in response to an observation and a need: since the 1980s, the world of migrants has undergone a major change with the rise of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). We are no longer in the age of the uprooted migrant and have entered the age of the connected migrant. On a larger scale, migrant communities are experiencing new forms of cohesiveness through acting in and occupying digital territories. The “ICT-Migrations” research program was thus created with the goal of exploring new research fields and topics that explore the impact of new technologies on the migrant world.
Migrations: new environment, new approaches, new analytical tools
The three dimensions of the “ICT-Migrations” program:
A platform for observing and studying migrations in an ICT-enriched environment, in particular the uses of ICT by migrants and by administrations. Two directions were initially defined: (1) ICT as a means of integration, and (2) the monitoring of migrations using ICT. Other focuses include studies on specific uses (mobile telephones, the habitèle website, the Palestinian exile…). Future plans include expanding research into ICT uses, as well as to set up an internet monitoring system and a newsletter.
The “ICT-Migrations” research group is simultaneously developing archiving strategies (selection, sorting and diffusion criteria) and technical solutions in the form of computerized storage in order to create a dynamic and lasting database. This “Migr'archive” currently under construction will provide access to information sources on migrants (community websites, associations’ websites, online forums, discussion boards, official sites, researchers’ sites, etc.). The portal is being created with the most innovative tools and methods of Web exploration (crawlers, web mapping…) and will thus offer researchers new tools with which to analyze their field.
This “Migr'archive”, as well as the analytical tools and visualization techniques we are currently experimenting, will be turned into an “e-diasporas atlas”, which will visualize and analyze the dynamic of migratory systems and its constant evolutions in the digital environment, a territory until now unexplored. This project will not only complement classical representations of the geography of migrations, but will equally constitute a tool for understanding a new sociological reality.
A platform for elaborating and re-defining ideas about migrations and mobility. Objectives include: (1) questioning classic ideas about migrations in our new digital environment by taking into account the changes in the migratory field brought about by the usage of ICT and then modifying epistemological approaches accordingly (the theoretical and conceptual dimension); but also (2) innovating and experimenting with new investigative methods and analytical tools in the field of migrations using cutting-edge ICT (“R&D”).
A network of researchers and engineers
The “ICT-Migrations” program involves a wide range of interdisciplinary researchers from various fields (geography, sociology, political science…), specialists in migrations who work on varying cultural fieldwork, as well as researchers specializing in ICT, their uses or specializing in archiving (computers, information sciences, documentation…). These researchers have in common, on the one hand, a good practical knowledge of ICT, and on the other, a background in theoretical discussion on ICT and its uses, as well as on the research possibilities opened up by these techniques. They also subscribe to our “epistemological manifesto”.
The “ICT-Migrations” group network brings together around twenty researchers who orient the general initiatives of the research program (the “orientation group”). Around this core group is a nebula of numerous researchers—guests or correspondents, members of our laboratories and partner programs, as well as collaborators from various institutions, administrations or associations.
Spreading technological knowledge through training and seminars
- The “ICT-Migrations” program regularly receives PhD candidates and offers them methodological advice.
- The program organizes training sessions on prospecting and web mapping tools.
- The program regularly receives guest researchers from abroad.
- The program organizes workshops, conferences, and an annual series of seminars.
This program falls under the FMSH’s current four-year contract and thus receives its financial support.
It is also partnered with numerous other institutions for keeping tools up-to-date, methodological discussion, European-wide projects, and the organization of seminars. Our most regular collaborators include:
- The Migrinter laboratory (CNRS, Poitiers), Telecom ParisTech, the Technological University of Compiègne, the “Diaspora Knowledge Network” (DKN) program of the LIMSI laboratory (CNRS), the University of Toulouse-Le Mitrail
- Abroad: the University of Barcelona, the University of Leeds (Institute of Communication Studies), the University of Sevilla, the Expertise Centre on Competitiveness & Innovation – IDC EMEA (C&I Centre), the Polytechnic University of Milan, the University of Bremen
- The Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA, National Audiovisual Institute)
- Businesses: Exalead, RTGI, France Telecom / Orange, Société Générale
- Associations: WebAtlas, Silicon Sentier, VECAM
- The program is also a member of the GDRI “Netsud, Technologie de la communication et du développement” (Netsud, Communication and Development Technologies) (CNRS, Bordeaux) which works on the insertion of ICT in the developing world (Southern countries).
Scientific Director: Dana Diminescu
Program Development Coordinator: Sylvie Gangloff
R&D Coordinator: Mathieu Jacomy
Research attaché: Matthieu Renault
Research attaché: Mehdi Bourgeois