CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRATION: TRUSTING THE MOBILE PHONE TO CROSS BORDERS

  • Michele Francis Ferris-Dobles University of Illinois Chicago
Keywords: Migration, mobile phones, infrastructure, Central America, mobility

Abstract

Mobile phones have become ubiquitous tools for hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants in their transit from their home countries towards the United States (U.S). These communication technologies are not only changing traditional patterns of migration, they are also enabling and inducing migration by providing feelings of trust, closeness, and safety (Barros, 2017). By applying the methods of historical qualitative research and using a media archeological approach, I employ Durham Peters (2009) theory of _infrastructuralism_ to investigate, which are the major infrastructural transitions that have allowed contemporary Central American migrants to use the same mobile phone and plan and to have Internet coverage across multiple national borders during their journey? How have these shifts enabled, induced, changed, and determined new ways and patterns of migration? I conclude that these infrastructural shifts have not only allowed mobile phones to change the traditional migratory patterns, but they are also creating a profitable business for a few private transnational telecommunications corporations. My conclusion presents a central paradox which is, that at the same time that the global capital promotes and enables a “borderless” world through the use of communication technologies which in turn promote emotions of trust, safety, and closeness, the nation-state borders are becoming more harsh, surveilled, and rigid for the migrants who are constantly harassed, detained, and persecuted.

Published
2019-10-31
How to Cite
Ferris-Dobles, M. F. (2019). CENTRAL AMERICAN MIGRATION: TRUSTING THE MOBILE PHONE TO CROSS BORDERS. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2019. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2019i0.11050
Section
Papers F