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De‐demonizing distance in mobile family lives: co‐presence, care circulation and polymedia as vibrant matter

Global Networks

Published online on


A growing literature is addressing the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on transnational family relationships and the ability of family members to be co‐present (emotionally ‘there’ for each other) across distance. In this article, I examine how relatively wealthy, middle‐class Australian migrants use ICTs to achieve a sense of satisfactory distant co‐presence with their transnational family members. I draw on the concepts of polymedia, vibrant matter and care circulation to explore how families are using ICTs in ways that are transforming forms of co‐presence, as well as some of the pitfalls inherent in their use. I argue that these new forms of co‐presence augment existing reciprocities and obligations and are facilitating ever‐more dynamic and multifaceted relationships across distance.