ISBN 9789956792726
Pages 138
Dimensions 216 x 140mm
Published 2014
Publisher Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon
Format Paperback

Negotiating Conviviality

The Use of Information and Communication Technologies by Migrant Members of the Bay Community Church

by Paula Hay

This book is an ethnographic study of a group of migrants in Cape Town from Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It seeks to understand how migrants overcome structural exclusion by forming and maintaining convivial relationships through the Bay Community Church and how this is facilitated by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The book argues that ICTs are implicated in the negotiation of conviviality. ICTs allow for a negotiation of intimacy and distance; although their functions may facilitate more contact than is desired or further distance those already separated physically.

This book interrogates the strict division between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ and highlights that migrants are able to sustain multiple networks and relationships, linking their home and host countries. Despite increasingly strict border control and animosity from host communities, migrants are able to overcome imposed identities such as ‘outsider’. They do so by using ICTs such as cell phones and Facebook to emphasise their Christian identity, which is one of the main factors for inclusion in church-based networks. Membership with a mixed denominational church such as the Bay further challenges the notion that migrants stick to themselves. Inclusive communities such as the Bay and everyday desires for conviviality evoke the need to reconsider policies too narrowly articulated around the dichotomisation of ‘foreigners’ and ‘nationals’, ‘home’ and ‘away’, ‘us’ and ‘them’.

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“This book provides a healthy balance of empirical description, ethnographic analysis, relevant scholarly discussion, and methodological reflection. The topic is timely, both the focus on migrants and their use of new media, within the context of a newer generation Christian community. Paula Hay chooses her theoretical tools and concepts judiciously, rightly interrogating any rigid distinctions between insiders and outsiders or intimacy and distance….. Not surprisingly her heightened reflexivity leads her to hope for a greater democratization of the knowledge production process.”

Rosalind I. J. Hackett, Professor of the History of Religions, University of Tennessee

“The analysis and discussions in this study are informed by a sophisticated knowledge and use of the relevant scientific literature. The book demonstrates Paula Hay’s ability to present a substantial body of research results concerning the particular nexus made by migration, a low socioeconomic condition, the experience of belonging to a worship community and the efficient use of ICTs.”

Jean-Pierre Warnier, Professor of Anthropology and Material Culture, Centre d'Etudes africaines (EHESS-IRD), Paris, France

About the Author

Paula Hay

Paula Hay was born in Canada and moved to South Africa in 2009. She completed her high school studies at the United World College of Hong Kong, received her Bachelor of Social Sciences from University College Utrecht in the Netherlands, and holds a Masters in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town.

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