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Technologies of the displaced: governance, communication use and media experiences among Syrian refugees in Sanliurfa (South- Eastern Turkey) and Brussels (Belgium).

This project studies the role of media and ICTs in the lives of refugees. These technologies, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops have become key resources for refugees. So far little systematic research has been done on this topic. Refugees are usually studied in terms of discourse and representation, i.e. as "passive", "voiceless" objects of study. This study, however, will take on an original, on-the-ground, perspective, looking at different stages of the refugee trajectory. Combining different methods (expert interviews, document analysis, personal surveys, observations and in-depth interviews), the study looks at media and communication infrastructures that are provided to refugees, as well as their actual needs, uses and experiences. Attention is also paid to structural constraints, governance issues, and the tension between human rights and securitization. This is connected to broader theoretical debates on cosmopolitanism and identity. Two cases will be studied: adult refugees in a refugee camp in Sanliurfa (South Eastern Turkey) and adult refugees in Brussels (Belgium), each representing different populations and distinct national political contexts, as well as different communication infrastructures. Because of its potential to contribute to the living situations of refugees, the project is supported by crucial partners: the local Sanliurfa camp, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), Fedasil, and Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen.
Date:1 Oct 2016 →  30 Sep 2017