Virtual Belongings: The Role of free web-calls on both Immigrants’ Integration and Socio-cultural Change of Stayers

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  • Institute:
    Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

    Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

    This research project aims to investigate the impact of new media and technologies, such as Skype, on both the integration of immigrants into host societies and the perceptions of those left behind.

    There are indications from everyday practice about new media, and particularly Skype, playing a role in the formation of dual identities. There is not any scientific work investigating the effect of Skype on dual identities. This research paper attempts to start addressing the research gap concerning this complex question. The daily contact with those left behind can drastically change the common perceptions of alienation and cultural distress that immigrants suffer when they settle in receiving countries. On the other side, it can also change perceptions of stayers. Consequences in terms of both immigrants’ integration and the pictures that those left behind get of countries of destination, therefore, will be the main focus of this paper. Semi-structured interviews with immigrants/Skype-users contribute to understanding the effects of using Skype on a daily base in the development of dual identities and consequences for the integration of immigrants. Through a comparison of what depicted by the literature in the past, this analysis will illustrate whether people interviewed show new patterns of integration. The effects of new media and technologies on both decisions and perception of those left behind is the second key issue that this research project addresses through analysis of the results of an initial pilot study. Further funding is sought to develop a representative study of a bigger population.

  • We are currently seeking for fundings to further develop the research in this direction. In case you are interested in supporting this research project, please do contact Valeria Bello:


    • The scientific findings of this research project have been presented at various international and national conferences and PhD Schools;
    • The project has been presented twice within conferences organised within the UNU Migration Network, including The IS Academy Conference and the I UNU-GCM conference “Migration, Media and Intercultural Dialogue”;
    • A policy report including a summary of the research findings is available at the following link;
    • Complete results are presented in an article currently submitted for publication in an international peer-reviewed journal.
  • Valeria Bello – Research Fellow at UNU-GCM