Edited by Jannis Androutsopoulos
[Pragmatics and Society 12:5] 2021
► pp. 828–849
Drawing on data from a comparative ethnographic study on media usage in transnational families, this paper contributes to a reappraisal of polymedia theory. Two main theoretical assumptions are reconsidered. First, it is demonstrated why the equal availability assumption has to be revised in light of the complex interactions between the corporeal, communicative and social mobilities which together constitute transnational migration. Second, it is argued that the techno-socially accomplished co-presence in transnational families depends more on the creative appropriation and combination of different media channels and communication forms than on the choice between them. In order to empirically investigate the specific needs for, and forms of co-presence in families, the concept of ‘registers of presence’ is proposed. It allows us to understand in detail in what ways and in which constellations transnational families create togetherness with the help of communication technologies.