Paper short abstract:
In the border zones of Middle Africa Violence does not allow people to move, or they get stuck in refugee camps. In this situation accessibility of mobile telephony has been an interesting but ambiguous alternative to cope with life and identity in a constraint situation of forced immobility.
Paper long abstract:
The point of departure is the border zones of Middle Africa where we have been witnessing horrible violence as a consequence of state collapse. This violence can be understood in a long history of war and oppression that is unfortunately part of the region's dynamics. Today people have to stay in place because violence does not allow them to move, or they get stuck in refugee camps. This forced immobility is contradicting the dynamics of previous forced displacement. Hence immobility becomes a form of violence for those who are used to move. But for them accessibility of mobile telephony has been an interesting but ambiguous interference with their violent immobility to cope with life and identification. However, mobile phones may also be carriers of messages and rumours that are part of and perpetuate conflict dynamics. These information flows will contain people in their immobility. We are interested how this tool to communicate, link up and carry information feeds into the feelings of (im)mobility of the immobile mobiles and how this plays on their sociality and psychology. Whether this leads to experiencing more or less violence/violent acts is at the core of this paper.
Conflicts and social violence in an interconnected and uncertain world