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The ‘digital glimpse’ as imagining home

Clayton, William; Jain, Juliet; Ladkin, Adele; Marouda, Marina


Adele Ladkin

Marina Marouda


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This paper proposes the concept of the ‘digital glimpse’, which develops the existing framing of imaginative travel. Here it articulates the experiences of mobile workers digitally connecting into family life and everyday rituals when physically absent with work. The recent embedding of digital communication technologies into personal relationships and family life is reconfiguring how absence is experienced and practiced by workers on the move, and through this, new digital paradigms for life on-the-move are emerging. This paper explores how such social relationships are maintained at-a-distance through digital technology–using evidence from qualitative interviews with mobile workers and their families. Digital technology now enables expressive forms of ‘virtual travel’, including video calling, picture sharing, and instant messaging. This has implications for the ways in which families can manage the social and relational pressures of being apart. Experiences of imaginative travel created through novel media can enrich the experience and give a greater sense of connection for both those who are at home and those who are away. While technology is limited in its ability to replicate a sense of co-presence, ‘digital glimpses’ are an emergent set of sociotechnical practices that can reduce the negative impact of absence on family relationships.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 4, 2018
Journal Mobilities
Print ISSN 1745-0101
Electronic ISSN 1745-011X
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Pages 382-396
APA6 Citation Clayton, W., Jain, J., Ladkin, A., & Marouda, M. (2018). The ‘digital glimpse’ as imagining home. Mobilities, 13(3), 382-396.
Keywords family ritual, imaginative travel, mobile worker, digital technology, relationship, work life balance, virtual mobility
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