MUSINGS AND SHAMELESSNESS
Hola. Hello. Uy. Kamusta?
I've been very busy, as usual, and I haven't had the time to blog. But at least I'm breathing. It's just that juggling research and teaching can be very demanding. This is on top of the gazillion of personal things that I have to do and accomplish as a son, sibling, friend, writer, academic, lover (haha!) and as a superstar (kidding!). Nonetheless, here I am and trying to blog and tell the online world, "I'm alive!"
But let me share with you one of the things that is keeping me 'sane' lately. So I've started writing entries in a paper-based and private diary early this year. One day I was in a shop in the city and I just thought of buying a notebook and start writing about my thoughts on a wide range of topics which I often access through online and offline spaces. On a more important note, I promise myself to write down some of my ideas. I just feel bad sometimes that a great (for me) idea just vanishes without being 'immortalised'. Obviously the best way to capture my creative or critical reflections or ideas is to write them down.
Loud and proud, so far, I have already written 28 entries. They contain my 'no holds barred' narratives.I just feel like my 'other' self just starts writing whenever I'm in the mood. But to be honest, diary writing is therapeutic. It's like I'm provided a space to just 'be me'. It's where I can express my emotions, all sorts of feelings. Here are the titles of the entries:
(1) On being a migrant - double displacement?
(2) The phone and the sound of home
(3) On neoliberalism
(4) When the best is not enough
(5) Karaoke subjectivities
(6) A structured society
(7) Im/mobility is a BIATCH!
(8) Discursive infrastructures
(9) One day, so when?
(11) Relational selfie subjectivity
(12) In search of belongingness and intimacy
(13) I can write
(14) Photographs and home
(15) Care in the time of fake news
(16) Mobile media caravan and the myth of a free show
(17) The politics of mobilities
(18) Meanings as tags
(19) Glam up and YouTube
(20) The politics of space-time compression
(21) Capitalism, mobility and communication
(22) Erasing subcultures
(23) On privacy in networked connectivity
(25) The future of human labor
(26)Displacement and stability through mobile media
(27) Participatory culture, by who, for who?
(28) City, spectacle and rights
and the list goes on and on and on...
It is important to note that these entries were written while I was on the move. You might be asking, "why?" Personally, I find it fascinating to reflect and write while moving/experiencing different environments.For example, I often write while I'm travelling to the city, eating alone in a cafe, waiting for a friend in a shopping mall, having coffee while 'people watching', or even getting frustrated on not being able to reach a high note (yup, I love singing!). But don't worry as I don't write while I'm in the toilet. Hashtag, GROSS! Although I'm imagining a funny scenario:I am singing in the shower (like hitting a Mariah song, yup some dash of postcolonialism!) and my voice is detected by a sensor, and suddenly I'll stop singing and I'll say what's on my mind and everything will be written on the diary. Digital pen with sensors? I sense a Black Mirror-ish drama.
On a serious note, my entries essentially reflect my experiences as a migrant in moving in/through digital communication technologies.I do hope to publish my entries in the future. But for now let's keep everything in private. I am also drawing some of my upcoming small research projects from my 'musings' while on the move.
So if you're thinking of writing entries in a 'traditional' diary then do it. You'll be surprised.I also suggest that you deploy critical autoethnography. Write those stories and experiences by reflecting upon your position in our society.
I would like to invite you to my upcoming talk. I will be presenting a paper entitled "Rethinking mediated Im/mobilities: Uncovering the paradoxical consequences of mobile media use in the conduct of Filipino family life at a distance" in the 2018 AsiaPacific@ RMIT Seminar Series. Check the LINK.
I am looking forward to a critical discussion on re-imagining the role of digital media in engendering and undermining transnational connections.
It's already past 11 in the evening here in Melbourne. I was working on a proposal for a new research project. As I was browsing some scholarly work, I saw the book by Tim Creswell. As I flipped through the pages, I saw one quote that struck me.
Have a read:
"In this world it is important to understand that mobility is more than just about getting from A to B. It is about the contested world of meaning and power. It is about mobilities rubbing up against each other and causing friction. It is about a new hierarchy based on the ways we move and the meanings these movements have been given (p. 265)."
The quote was just spot on to articulate contemporary mobilities. Everyone seems to be on the move, including the global elites, international students, young professionals, migrants, and refugees. But all of these movements are uneven. Referring to the work of John Urry, mobility is resource-driven. One's various capitals that allow movements are different from another person's access to resources. In this sense, some people have become mobile. They can travel from point A to point B without being stopped. Flows are very seamless. Think of the global elites who access and experience premium or worldclass services. In contrast, there are individuals who experience constrained mobilities. Movement across places can become coerced, bumpy and political. A case in point is the ways in which migrants, refugees or vagabonds navigate a mobile world. For them, the world can become unbearable. They do not have a place to stay. They are compelled to move because they are often feared, coded as a 'foe' and just not welcome across places. Think of anti-immigration sentiments that often place migrants as scapegoats in a globalising economy. Of course, mobility is also coded based on gender, age, class and ethnicity (Urry, 2007). Nevertheless, movements are not only embodied through practice. With attached meanings to them, invisible fences are raised to favor certain groups and individuals. Indeed, this then shows how mobility can be stratified, political, and negotiated.
As I was reflecting for the past days about my personal mobilities, it dawned on me that I've been living away from my left-behind family members the Philippines for more than nine yeas now. In 8 March 2008, I embarked on an overseas journey. I was in pain at that time as I was coping from the death of my mother, who passed away in 2006. It was just a stressful to come home every night and miss a familiar voice and face. I was very close to my mother. We were like super friends or bffs. But everything changed when she passed away. So during the darkest days in life, I hoped and prayed for a change of environment. So when I was offered a job in an advertising company based in Brunei, I said, 'yes'. In living overseas, I tried my best to mend the pain of losing someone dear to me. I guess being transplanted into a new environment really helped me. It's as if I was reborn at that time. I learned to move in a new territory. I encountered new faces. I dealt with a new culture. I had to work with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. I had to train myself eating Malay food, which I loved! Importantly, I had to rely on digital communication technologies to sustain connection to my family members and friends in the Philippines. Indeed, everything was just something that I needed to absorb.
My personal mobility, of going overseas, I should say, was unlikely a smooth travel. It was a movement that I always had to negotiate. I managed to address my personal battles with another painful experience - to be away with my family. As I moved to another country, to be specific, an Islamic country, which is Brunei, I subject myself to years of temporality, ambiguity, longing, and at some point precarity. Presenting and connecting my overseas experiences was the way I used mobile devices on an everyday basis. In fact, before I left Manila, I promised myself to blog my first 365 days in Brunei. I achieved that. Too bad though as all the entries were deleted in Multiply. I won't detail so much of my story in this blog entry. But what made me write this post is how I reflected upon how mobilities are uneven. In a sense, my decision to move overseas was not only driven by a deep desire to cope with my mother's death. Importantly, I sought a better opportunity overseas. I joined the approximately 2.3 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). I also wanted to advance my career.
To date, I am navigating and managing a mobile life. I'm now in Australia. I've been here for more than five years now. But up to now, I'm still learning and unlearning so many things. I don't consider myself lucky by comparing my own mobility over others. However, I consider that my social position - cultural, social, political, and economic background - may allow me to differentially navigate a world. Yet such mobile capacity will always be represented, interpreted and 'tracked' or undermined by the broader social structures in our society. This is most salient in a neo-liberal or market-driven society. In this case, I am moved by Massey's contention, suggesting that individuals and groups are differentially situated across places, institutions, and in our society. Again, to articulate this is to examine how movements of 'mobile subjects' are categorised and controlled in various spaces.
Welcome to a stratified and resource-driven society. My journey has just started.
The aim for this year is to start writing my critical auto-ethnography on this page. At the core of my narratives is a deep and critical reflection on my personal mobilities, unraveling the paradoxes of mobilities - corporeal and imagined. As a mobilities scholar who locates the mobilities lens (Urry, 2007) in the context of mobile media studies, I aim to identify and examine the politics of mobilities (Cresswell, 2010) as performed, embodied, negotiated, and experienced through my personalised use of mobile devices and networked communications platforms in everyday life. I will use my experiences as an academic and migrant in Melbourne, Australia. Reflexive approaches are to deployed as a critical lens in revisiting, rethinking and re-imagining the entanglement of personal background/position, social spaces and networked platforms in organizing, performing, negotiating, and experiencing a mobile life.
Let me start with this quote from Doreen Massey's (2011) discussion on the power-geometry in space-time compression:
"Different social groups have distinct relationships to this anyway-differentiated mobility: some are in charge of it than others; some initiate flows and movement, others don't; some are more on the receiving end of it than others; some are effectively imprisoned by it (p. 62)."
UNBLACKBOX IS READY TO ROLL
Let's get the conversation going.
I recently created a Facebook page where you can now access some useful information related to digital media research. I will try my very best to share essential information to help us rethink how we can use a 'mobilities lens' by John Urry in re-examining the digitalisation of our everyday lives.
The Facebook page can be accessed via clicking this LINK.
I also created a special logo for UNBLACKBOX. I hope you like it.
The primary objective of this 'blogsite' is to discuss some concepts and issues related to mobile device use or mediated mobilities.
I am interested in exploring the different forces that shape our use of mobile devices and networked communications platforms. These include factors such as socio-political, socio-economic, socio-cultural, and socio-technical. In my research, I pay attention to the 'stable' structures and 'immobile' infrastructures that engender and undermine movements. For example, gender norms often produce 'differential' and ambivalent experiences among users in a transnational context. Plus, the lack of access to broadband connections among individuals in remote areas causes 'digital divide.' And if we dig deeper, the 'have-less' can be 'immobilised' in their disenfranchised living conditions.
I am also very interested in uncovering the 'immobilities' or 'fixities' enabled by mobile device use. Importantly, I seek to unravel the 'paradoxes' and 'tensions' that are often overlooked in discussing mediated mobilities or mobile device use.
Essentially, I would like to open up conversations on how we can situate the mobilities lens in the context of media and communications.
UNBLACKBOX - MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE
Welcome to my academic blog.
This site will serve as a platform where I can share my views about how mobile devices and communications platforms are impacting our lives. The discussions will be initiated by engaging with two main strands: mobile media representations and mobile media practices. To give a little bit of context, mobile media refers to smartphones, tablet computers, and an array of broadband-based mobile communications platforms such as mobile apps, mobile Facebook, and so forth.
'Mobile media representations' include 'media texts' - a television show, a film, an advertisement, a YouTube clip, a meme, a selfie, and so forth - that portray the integral role of mobile devices in mobilising digital lives. I will focus on media texts from the Philippines, my home country, as a focal point of my analysis. This approach will enable me to contribute to our understanding and 'critique' of the consequences of mobile communication in local, transnational and global contexts.
'Mobile media practices' encompass my personal experiences and observations in using mobile devices and communications platforms on a daily basis. I will use a 'transnational lens' to locate and examine such mobile practices. Identity formation, sustaining long-distance relationships, connecting to the homeland, or adjustments or struggles in a foreign territory are several contexts that will be taken into account.
Through this blog site, I endeavor to illuminate a critical viewpoint on our perceptions and experiences of mobile media use. To 'unblackbox' is to articulate how the use of a mundane, invisible and taken-for-granted mobile technology can be 'deconstructed' and critically analysed, thereby opening conversations on how power asymmetries and social inequalities are often perpetuated in the age of smartphones and social media. Factors such as age, gender, social class, race, ethnicity, as well as cultural values, will be considered in the process of 'unblackboxing'. More importantly, based on the work of British Sociologist John Urry, I will primarily employ a critical mobilities lens across forthcoming entries.
Apart from sharing my insights on the 'politics' of a mobile world, I will also use this site to post academic and student resources, tips on surviving a PhD, and managing a post-PhD pathway. This online space will also update you about my ongoing research projects, conference paper presentations, and academic-related activities.
Thank you for visiting my site.
Feel free to comment on my upcoming blog posts.
I am Dr. Earvin Charles Cabalquinto. I am interested in exploring the ways in which mobile devices and communications platforms impact mobilities in the context of transnational mobilities.