Chronotopic (non)modernity in translocal mobile messaging among Chinese migrants in the UK

Lyons, Agnieszka; Tagg, Caroline and Hu, Rachel (2019). Chronotopic (non)modernity in translocal mobile messaging among Chinese migrants in the UK. Internet Pragmatics (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/ip.00043.lyo

Abstract

Migration is often seen as crossing both space and time, from the traditional past to the modern present, while leading to perceived changes in migrants themselves. This article draws on data from a large ethnographic project to explore the ways in which Chinese translocal families dispersed between China, Hong Kong and the UK exploit mobile messaging apps to negotiate the post-migration value of Chinese-ness and Chinese tradition in geographically dispersed family and social contexts. Drawing on the concept of the mobile chronotope, we show how Chinese families and friends employ textual and multimodal resources to negotiate mobile chronotopes of (non)modernity in translocal mobile messaging interactions. Our discourse analysis focuses on critical junctures at which modernist chronotopic negotiations are most visible. The article contributes to an understanding of the discursive construction of multiple (non)modernities by showing how migrants (re)position themselves along a gradient of chronotopic modernity in everyday mobile messaging encounters.

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