Forced migration and digital connectivity in(to) Europe

dalla Redazione

Social Media + Society ha recentemente pubblicato una special issue sul tema della relazione tra migranti, migrazione, comunità diasporiche e uso dei media digitali.


Gli articolo sono scaricabili liberamente da qui.

Ecco la presentazione della Special issue, a cura di Koen Leurs and Kevin Smets

“Digital migration has emerged as a contentious topic during the recent
so-called “European refugee crisis.” The wide circulation of news images
of smartphone carrying Syrian refugees, and Syrian refugees taking
selfies upon their safe arrival on European shores became resources for
various actors in Europe to imagine themselves and their relation to
incoming others. Digital technologies have been mobilized and imagined
in contrasting ways by different groups of state actors: for example, as
a way of understanding contemporary migration, as a way to control
mobility, as a way to attack it, as a way to esthetically capture it,
and as a way to uncover agency. Focusing on the context of Europe, this
special collection of /Social Media + Society /seeks to historicize,
contextualize, empirically ground, and conceptually reflect on the
impact of digital technologies on forced migration.

We position our intervention in response to the recent upsurge of
popular and emerging academic debate on refugees and digital
technologies, and it is our specific ambition to recover and foreground
again a shared commitment toward social change, equity, and social
justice. By reflecting on what is specific about digital connectivity
and refugee experiences but also by acknowledging parallels with other
communities, we plea for reflexive politics of knowledge production on
digital migration. This emerging research focus which seeks to
understand the relation between migration and digital media technologies
can be labeled digital migration studies.

The collection consists of 14 pieces authored by 27 collaborators:
alongside our introduction, there are 10 original research papers
included, as well as 3 thematic book reviews that include a Q&A dialogue
with the authors of the reviewed books. Authors draw on online and
offline fieldwork and empirical data covering various forced migrant
communities including Syrians, Somalis, Palestinians, Tamils, and Iraqis
across contexts including Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, Somalia, the
Netherlands, and Turkey

In the introductory essay titled ‘Five questions for digital migration
studies: Learning from forced migration and digital connectivity in(to)
Europe, we elaborate digital migration as a developing field of
research. Taking the exceptional attention for digital mediation within
the recent so-called “European refugee crisis” as a starting point, we
reflect on the main conceptual, methodological and ethical challenges
for this emerging field and how it is taking shape through
interdisciplinary dialogues and in interaction with policy and public
debate. Our discussion is organized around central questions: (1) Why
Europe? (2) Where are the field and focus of digital migration studies?
(3) Where is the human in digital migration? (4) Where is the political
in digital migration? and (5) How can we de-center Europe in digital
migration studies? Alongside establishing common ground between various
communities of scholarship, we plea for non-digital-media-centric-ness
and foreground a commitment toward social change, equity and social justice”.

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