Transnational (dis)affect in the Digital Age. Photographic practices of Irish‐Spanish families living in Ireland
Prieto Blanco, Patricia
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Migrant communities copiously use digital means to communicate. The visual component of communication is substantial in this process. This thesis reports the ways Spanish‐Irish families living in Ireland employ photographic exchanges to stay in touch with geographically distant family members. Drawing on methods of visual sociology and narrative inquiry, an innovative research design was devised for ethnographic work with eleven families. It included an original three‐stepped consent process, a circle of reference visualization and a photographic tour of photographic displays. These methods enable the elicitation of tacit and intersubjective knowledge about photographic practices. The data demonstrates that photographic exchanges generate third places of affect and intimacy where transnational families negotiate normative notions of kinship. The analysis of affordances of digital photography has revealed how strategies of inclusion and exclusion implemented by these families impact the very concept of family. Furthermore, the notion of digital ephemerality is challenged because intermittent but ongoing digital encounters generate ontological security for transnational families. This also serves to offer an alternative reading of phatic communication as an emotion‐based process. Subsequently, the thesis argues that digital photography is as a medium of (inter)action and experience for transnational families.