Using Cartography to Study Mediations of Immigrants Living in Global Cities

Viviane Riegel | Researcher, Department of Communication and Consumption, ESPM, São Paulo, Brazil

This discussion is based on the methodological approach developed for a doctoral research on immigrants in two global cities and their possible cosmopolitan practices. This study was carried out based on the ‘scapes’ theory of global culture, proposed by Appadurai (1996), using the cartographic method based on mediations categories by Martin-Barbero (2009). This qualitative approach aimed to understand the complexity of individuals’ mobility experiences in the face of global processes. We understand mobility also by the constant possibility of immobility, that is, the structures that facilitate certain movements and prevent others.

The empirical-methodological strategy of cartography developed is based on Martin-Barbero’s (2002) proposal for a cognitive cartography, which would be appropriate for unstable and constantly changing times. This choice was due to the focus of Martin-Barbero (2018) in the mediation of the cultural mutations of our time. In this perspective, the main elements of mobility are contemporary migrants and communication flows. A cartography was constructed by mapping everyday practices in the socio-communicational spaces of immigrants in the global cities of São Paulo and London. The field research carried out consisted of interviews with 20 individuals in different mobility experiences in each city, and the observation of the practices of individuals in the 16 socio-communicational spaces most mentioned by the interviewees.

For the development of the analysis categories, the Martin-Barbero (2009) mapping mediation is considered as a structure. At the center, mobility experiences, and in the two axes, spaces and temporalities, flows and identity. This cartography draws a map in three layers: first, the comparison between different individuals; second, the comparison between different spaces; and third, the different practices of these individuals in these spaces.