Digital Migration: Refugees and the Digital Knowledge Economy
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractMobile devices and digital media have shaped the movement of refugees into Europe and the social practices arising from this movement. People are using Facebook and WhatsApp for coordinating flight routes, to communicate with family and friends, to engage in emotional labor, and receive information on potential countries of settlement (Frouws, Phillips, Hassan, & Twigt, 2016). The use of technology by people fleeing conflict is not new. More than a decade of research has illustrated how refugees use mobile phones in detention centers (Leung, 2007) and digital media to create local and transnational networks and engage in politics (Gifford & Wilding, 2013; Harney, 2013; Leung, Lamb, & Emrys, 2009; Wilding, 2006; Witteborn, 2012, 2015). What has been distinct about the situation of refugees in Europe since 2015 is the fast development of digital initiatives tailoring their services towards the needs of the newcomers. The digital knowledge economy is shaping the movement and lives of newcomers and an excited, tech-savvy community is eager to serve the people through sharing computational skills. Digital initiatives and start-ups have become platforms for education and entrepreneurship for and by refugees, from providing access to computers, to hackathons, and offering coding courses. Two case studies will discuss the opportunities and the challenges that the digital knowledge economy and related practices create for refugees. One question will be how to include the local knowledge of the newcomers in the responses to these challenges and have this knowledge participate in shaping digital infrastructures and practices of production, consumption, and circulation of information related to migration.
All Author(s) ListWITTEBORN Saskia
Name of ConferenceRoyal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Connected migrants: Encapsulation or cosmopolitanism
Start Date of Conference14/12/2016
End Date of Conference16/12/2016
Place of ConferenceAmsterdam
Country/Region of ConferenceNetherlands
Year2016
Month12
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2018-18-01 at 17:57