Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings

CONNECTINGEUROPE - Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging

CONNECTINGEUROPE - Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging


Title: Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging


Reference ERC-2014-CoG Grants # 647737

PI: Sandra Ponzanesi


(Promoter) Host Institution – Utrecht University


Budget € 1,992,809.00



Start date: 01/01/2016

End date: 31/12/2020

Duration: 60 months


(Partners) Other Beneficiaries – N/A


Objectives and results

Many immigrants enter Europe both legally and illegally every year.

This creates multiple challenges for the Union, including the gender and ethnic segregation of migrant groups, especially women.

While it strives for an inclusive and integrated society as envisioned by the EU motto ‘Unity in Diversity’, it is still often perceived more as ‘Fortress Europe.’ This project focuses on the ‘connected migrant’, studying how virtual communities of migrants, or digital diasporas, convey issues of technology, migration, globalisation, alienation and belonging capturing the lives of migrants in their interaction with multiple worlds and media.

More specifically, it will investigate whether digital technologies enhance European integration or foster gender and ethnic segregation, and, if so, how.

Using a multi-layered and cutting-edge approach that draws from the humanities, social science and new media studies (i.e.internet studies and mobile media), this research considers:

1. How migration and digital technologies enable digital diasporas (Somali, Turkish, Romanian) and the impact these have on identity, gender and belonging in European urban centres;

2. How these entanglements are connected to and perceived from outside Europe by focusing on transnational ties; and

3. How digital connections create new possibilities for cosmopolitan outlooks, rearticulating Europe’s motto of ‘Unity in Diversity.’

The outcomes of this work will be innovative at three levels.

a) Empirically, the project gathers, maps and critically grounds online behaviour by migrant women from a European comparative perspective.

b) Methodologically, it breaks new ground by developing new methods of analysis for digital diasporas contributing to the development of ‘postcolonial’ digital humanities.

c) Conceptually, it integrates colonial and migrant relations into the idea of Europe, elaborating on the notion of cosmopolitan belonging through virtual connectivity.




The focus of this project is on gender migration, i.e. female migration. This may be linked to family reunion, arranged marriages, love-chain and care-drain (through which migrants leave their loved ones behind to take care of others as nannies, domestic workers or for the care of elderly), but also to more unsettling issues such as trafficking of women, or women escaping violent conflict.


Publications and other resources – No publications to date


Further information


Publication Date
Tuesday, 19 June, 2018