Infrastructure view on refugees use of digital tools on their journey to Europe

Now and then, one stumble across papers that make an impact on how you think about your own research. The other day, I read the following paper by Gillespie, Osseiran and Cheesman. 

Gillespie, M., Osseiran, S., & Cheesman, M. (2018). Syrian refugees and the digital passage to Europe: Smartphone infrastructures and affordances. Social Media+ Society, 4(1) [link]

In this paper they study the use of information technology by refugees during their journey to and through Europe. It was particularly refreshing to see how they use ’affordances’ by Gibson as well as ’ infrastructures’ by Star to unpack how information technology use present  possibilities but also vulnerabilities for refugees. 

This is an insightful paper that opens up an important discussion of the need of more studies on socio-technical dimensions in the refugee context. 

This paper underline the importance of studying groups that typically are not percieved as technology users. This study illustrates how refugees are a very interesting user category in technology use research. Lastly, the paper also shows that a better understanding of sociotechnical entanglement is important in order to formulate meaningful policies in the refugee context.

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