Following, Othering, Taking Over. Research Participants Redefining the Field through Mobile Communication Technology

Nanneke Winters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


: Based on fieldwork with migrants and border populations in
Central America and the story of a young Congolese woman in particular,
this article discusses how research participants’ use of mobile communication technology provokes a redefinition of the ethnographic field. Increasingly popular trajectory research often sets out to follow migrants, yet a
focus on migrants keeping in touch with researchers at their own initiative
and discretion, following them, reveals entanglements of selective on- and
offline engagement and self-representation. Critical exploration of research
participants’ differentiated use of digital technology for navigating a social
environment that includes the researcher herself not only transforms our
understanding of the field in empirical, ethical, and methodological terms,
but also counteracts potentially voyeuristic and life-threatening practices
of following people on the move.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Analysis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1. A pseudonym in honor of her daughter. 2. This project was generously funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), grant?number:?406978565. 3. Some of this critique reflects earlier discussions of multi-sited ethnography (Falzon 2009), including issues of possible fragmentation, lack of depth, and arbitrary site selection.

Funding Information:
Nanneke Winters is an Assistant Professor in Migration and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research interests include im/mobility, migrant trajectories, and translocal livelihoods in Central America and beyond. Her research collaborations?have?been?funded?by?the?Research?Foundation?–?Flanders?(FWO)?and?the? German Research Fund (DFG), and her work has been published in a variety of journals including International Migration Review and Geoforum. Before joining ISS, she held research positions in the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and in the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at Utrecht University. E-mail: [email protected]

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Berghahn Journals. All rights reserved.

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Following, Othering, Taking Over. Research Participants Redefining the Field through Mobile Communication Technology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this