Yongjian LI | ICTs for integration: Digital Media and Internal Migration in Contemporary China

Yongjian LI | ICTs for integration: Digital Media and Internal Migration in Contemporary China | Erasmus University Rotterdam | Promotors: Professor Susanne Janssen & Dr. Amanda Alencar | Project dates: 01 September 2019 – 01 September 2023 | Email: yongjian.li[at]eshcc.eur.nl

Chinese society is moving towards a significantly aging society with the number of older persons aged 60 years or over. Meanwhile, Elderly migration and mobility continue to be a fundamental part of the human experience. The nexus of aging, migration, and new media constitute a rather neglected area in studies on digital diasporas. Attention to the older adults’ increasing mobilities, active aging practices, and yearning for a high quality of life and self-fulfillment will shed light on the elderly’s complex senses of identity, place, and belonging their special feelings of social transformation, and post-migration life.

In the center of my study resides in three elements: migration/mobility, elderly (internal senior migrants in China), and ICTs / Digital media. The research attempts to answer questions about identity, place, home, and (im)mobility.

  1. How do elderly migrants perceive aging and mobility in their circumstances?
  2. What does mobility stand for them: a means or an end?
  3. How do they get the sense of place, home, and identity?
  4. What roles do ICTs and digital media play in their daily life?
  5. How do they (re)produce and negotiate visibility, identity, agency, and subjectivity with ICTs?

My study focuses on expanding literature of Chinese internal elderly migration and examines their (im)mobilities, moving beyond the ‘global north’ intersectional context of aging and migration, and explore the different ways through which elderly migrants are actively embedded in migratory networks and how they engage with new forms of possibilities empowered by ICTs to live a more motivated later life.