Continental Divides in an Age of Technology: Unanticipated Consequences of Emigration and Implications for the Economic, Political and Socio-Cultural Arrangements in the Home Country
MYNA GERMAN & PADMINI BANERJEE
Delaware State University, USA
This paper reflects an extensive and in-depth review of the literature on the role of hyper-reality in our contemporary lives and its impact on our migratory decisions. Hyper-reality is defined as the somewhat surreal ability to peer into living rooms thousands of miles away using state-of-the-art communication technology such as Skype Examining development issues, one could highlight groups of individuals for whom living conditions have improved substantively back home and who choose not to migrate, based on what they see in the receiving country, in terms of reversal of cultural norms and erosion of traditional values. Or, migrants in the receiving country might choose to turn their attention homeward to take advantage of upbeat economies, viewing the increase in material prosperity firsthand through the new informational communication technologies. The paper includes aspects of material,, including a chapter by Buzzi and Megele on “hyper-reality” in our upcoming co-edited book, an anthology of global writings on migration, technology and transculturation (Lindenwood University Press, 2011). The paper concludes with perspectives on reversing the “brain drain” which has created pockets of wealth in educated new-immigrant communities in the developed world while creating shortages in the developing world. The paper builds on the three conceptual strands in the German & Banerjee co-edited book, starting with material on “digital diasporas” (technology), moving into material on “social networks” and “chains of migration” from certain locations (transculturation or social perspective) to future migration scenarios (as in reversing the “brain drain”).