Refugees and Digital Grammars of Affect
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractThis talk develops former theorizing on digital heterotopia and forced migration (Witteborn, 2014). Drawing from Foucault’s concept of heterotopia (2008/1967) the talk starts outlining how forced migrants engage with digital heterotopias through affective grammars that invert the hegemonic languages of suffering and danger, which pathologize the refugee and turn him or her either into a helpless victim or hypersexed predator. In particular, this talk illustrates through fieldwork with asylum seekers and refugees living in Hong Kong how they use mobile technology and social media like Facebook through affective signs and logics, which create a mobile body and link it to signs of global consumption, leisure, and readily available sociality. The talk argues that digital heterotopias that promote the ideology of optimization of the self enable forced migrants to shift the grammar of victimhood and burden and consolidate it with other received grammars and logics of the migrant as a symbol of mobility, promise, and success. The study is based on a current GRF-funded project in Hong Kong and qualitative fieldwork with asylum seekers and refugees from South Asia and African countries.
All Author(s) ListWITTEBORN Saskia
Name of ConferenceTalk: Forced migrants and digital affective grammars. Singapore 3M Workshop: Arul Chib Director Singapore Internet Center invitee.
Start Date of Conference17/02/2017
End Date of Conference18/02/2017
Place of ConferenceSingapore
Country/Region of ConferenceSingapore
Year2017
Month2
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2018-20-01 at 19:20

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