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Geographies of social networks: meetings, travel and communications

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2006
JournalMobilities
Journal number2
Volume1
Number of pages23
Pages261-283
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The past decade has seen striking increases in travel and in communications at-a-distance through mobile phone calls, text messaging and emailing. People in prosperous societies are both travelling and communicating more to connect with absent others. People can travel, relocate and migrate and yet still be connected with friends and family members 'back home'. So, increasingly, people who are near emotionally may be geographically very far away; yet they are only a journey, email or a phone call away. In this article we attempt to examine how such strong ties are spatially distributed and sustained through specific geographies of travel, meetings and communications. How often do strong ties meet, talk at-at-distance and write, and to what degree does distance determine regularity? To what extent are communications enhancing and/or substituting for physical travel? We examine in particular to what degree far-flung ties and emotional networking at-a-distance are characteristic of many people other than the transnational 'elites' and 'underprivileged' migrants. We consider the notion of 'network capital'.