Capturing love at a distance
Multisensoriality in intimate video calls between migrant parents and their left-behind children
Keywords:video calls, intimacy, intimate relationships, video analysis, multisensoriality
Studies have shown that multisensorial interactions are an important medium for achieving love and intimacy. Nevertheless, the question remains: How do people constitute their “love at a distance” when they can only interact with each other over a video call, in which certain sensorial resources (e.g., touch, smell, and taste) are not available? Drawing from two years of video-based fieldwork involving recordings of habitual calls among the members of migrant families, I consider the application of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (EMCA)-informed video analysis to investigating intimate relationships constructed through remote means. I present an innovative method of video recording that allows me to analyze the interactional resources toward which participants orient themselves in their calls. I illustrate this approach with data analysis to demonstrate the relevance of video to examining intimacy at a distance. This article proposes that a distinct contribution of video-based research to the discipline lies in its ability to capture how people use their embodied and sensorial interactions to form intimacy across distances.
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