Mobiles and "making do": exploring the affective, digital practices of refugee women waiting in Greece
Alexandra Greene (Utrecht University)
Paper short abstract:
Using emotionality as an entry point, this paper explores the affective, everyday ways that refugee women mobilise smartphones and ICTs in order to "make do" (De Certeau, 1984) with protracted experiences of waiting in Greece.
Paper long abstract:
In 2015, over one million migrants crossed into Europe (IOM, 2015), the majority fleeing conflict-affected countries, such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, and Syria. This event of mass migration would come to be known as the "European migrant crisis." In the wake of the migrant crisis, recent scholarship has focused on representation, technology, and mobility, often in the context of migration journeys and border security. With some exceptions (see, for example, Baldassar et al., 2016; Leurs, 2016; Madianou, 2016a; Nedelcu and Wyss, 2016), literature on media and migration rarely addresses the affective entanglements of migrant digital practices. Yet, for refugee women stranded in Greece, waiting is a deeply affective and embodied experience, mediated by information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as smartphones, and tempered both spatially and temporally. This paper uses the dialectic of strategies and tactics (De Certeau, 1984) to explore the situated and contested experiences of women waiting in a Greek refugee camp. Using emotionality as an entry point, this paper explores refugee women's digital practices as tactical interventions, and the ways in which digital technologies are mobilised in order to "make do" (De Certeau, 1984). It presents three empirical cases of "making do": non-mainstream news consumption; co-(present) parenting; and nature photography. Within all of these, emotionality is a constant, and, in the context of dehumanising strategies of migration containment, prioritising personal emotional welfare is an agential act of resistance.
Stuck in a mobile world: the agentive potential of immobility