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Accepted Paper:

Technology and network capital: the case of digital nomads  

Author:

Fabiola Mancinelli (Universitat de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines digital nomads' use of technologies to construct their sociality and secure employment opportunities. The paper asks in which ways technology fosters their network capital and what are the structural constraints it puts to their claims of limitless freedom.

Paper long abstract:

Digital nomads are individuals who, taking advantage of portable computing technologies and widespread Internet access, can work remotely from any location and use this freedom to explore the world. In their globally mobile lifestyle, technology is an essential element to construct their sociality and secure employment opportunities. This paper examines the role of technology in the construction of their network capital and its commodification. According to Urry (2007) network capital is the social capital of the age of mobilities, its defining feature being the capacity to sustain relationships at a distance rather than through geographical proximity. As other forms of capital, it can be exchanged and commodified, and is of increasing importance in social stratification, namely related to privileged hypermobile groups. The access of communication technologies and the underlying infrastructure are one of the eight components of network capital. The paper asks in which ways technology fosters digital nomads' network capital and what are the structural constraints it puts to their claims of limitless freedom. The research draws on online and offline ethnographic of digital nomads' groups.

Panel P063
Everyday mobilities and circulation of people, things and ideas: Expanding the concept of technology from what makes us mobile [ANTHROMOB]