CGE Seminar Wednesday 7th December: Dr Caroline Tagg

Please join us for the next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar.

When: Wednesday 7th December, 5-6.30pm

Where: LTC, Building 65, Avenue Campus

Who: Dr Caroline Tagg, The Open University

Communicating across online and offline spaces: a mobile-supported business model for migrant micro-entrepreneurs

In this talk, IĀ draw on data from a large ethnographic project to exploreĀ the ways in which migrant small-business owners exploit mobile phone messaging apps to do business, establish and maintain informal support networks, and perform identities as entrepreneurs of a particular heritage background. The project is the AHRC-funded, four-year ā€˜Translation and Translanguaging: investigating linguisticĀ and cultural transformations in superdiverse wards in four UK citesā€™ (PI: Angela Creese, University of Birmingham). Key participants are observed, recorded and interviewed at work and home, a well-established ethnographic approach which is innovatively augmented by the parallel collection of social media data.

MyĀ talk focuses on the social media use of two entrepreneurial couples: Chinese butchers in Birmingham and Polish shop-owners in London. Analysis of their SMS, WeChat and Viber messages, informed by the interview and interactional data collected at work and home, shows that mobile messaging apps are facilitating the emergence of a new business model characterised by dynamic configurations ofĀ time and space. IĀ detail how the mobile phone serves as a gateway to physical contexts such as the shop whilst also facilitating asynchronous communication which we describe as a ā€˜virtual noticeboardā€™. IĀ also explore how the mobile makes possible the creation of a support network which stretches from the surrounding UK city to the migrantsā€™ home countries, and how theĀ migrants draw on different timescales ā€“ immediate concerns and shared cultural histories ā€“ in managing these relationships. In documenting this new model, IĀ explore the ways in which the entrepreneurs construct, negotiate and exploit multiple layers of flexible and selective ā€˜timespacesā€™, transgressing traditional boundaries of time andĀ space and creating new intersections between virtual and physical space as they fulfil everyday functions.



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