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“We Demand Better Ways to Communicate”: Pre-Digital Media Practices in Refugee Camps
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8401-5511
2019 (English)In: Media and Communication, ISSN 2083-5701, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 7, no 2, p. 207-217Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article provides a historical perspective on media practices in refugee camps. Through an analysis of archival material emerging from refugee camps in Germany between 1945 and 2000, roles and functions of media practices in the camp experience among forced migrants are demonstrated. The refugee camp is conceptualized as a heterotopian space, where media practices took place in pre-digital media environments. The archival records show how media practices of refugees responded to the spatial constraints of the camp. At the same time, media practices emerged from the precarious powerrelations between refugees, administration, and activists. Opportunities, spaces, and access to media practices and technologies were provided, yet at the same time restricted, by the camp structure and administration, as well as created by refugees and volunteers. Media activist practices, such as the voicing of demands for the availability of media, demonstrate how access to media was fought for within the power structures and affordances of the analogue environment. While basic media infrastructure had to be fought for more than in the digital era and surveillance and control of media practices was more intense, the basic need for access to information and connectivity was similar in pre-digital times, resulting in media activism. This exploration of unconsidered technological environments in media and refugee studies can arguably nuance our understanding of the role of media technologies in “refugee crises”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 7, no 2, p. 207-217
Keywords [en]
communication history; forced migration; Germany; media activism; media practices; refugee camp
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38529DOI: 10.17645/mac.v7i2.1869OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38529DiVA, id: diva2:1333270
Note

This article is part of the issue “Refugee Crises Disclosed: Intersections between Media, Communication and Forced Migration Processes”, edited by Vasiliki Tsagkroni (Leiden University, The Netherlands) and Amanda Alencar (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands).

Available from: 2019-07-01 Created: 2019-07-01 Last updated: 2019-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Seuferling, Philipp

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
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