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  • 1.
    Kaun, Anne
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Logsdon, Alexis
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Stiernstedt, Fredrik
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Serving Machines and Heterotopias: Data Entry Work in Prisons and Refugee Camps in the US and Uganda2023In: Media Backends: Digital Infrastructures and Sociotechnical Relations / [ed] Lisa Parks; Julia Velkova; Sander de Ridder, Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2023, p. 144-161Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 2.
    Leurs, Koen
    et al.
    Graduate Gender Programme, Department of Media and Culture, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Migration and the Deep Time of Media Infrastructures2022In: Communication, Culture & Critique, ISSN 1753-9129, E-ISSN 1753-9137, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 290-297Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While infrastructures of media and of migration currently converge in specific ways, in this commentary, we consider how these infrastructures always reflect distinctive moments in media history, as well as in migration history. An archaeological approach to infrastructure posits that media infrastructures do not spring into action fully formed, and neither is there ever a moment when they would be fully formed. We propose the perspective of deep time of infrastructures as a way of opening up unresolved questions about what critical researchers can and should do with historically-informed inquiry of media technologies across migration contexts. We specifically operationalize the deep time of media and migration infrastructures by addressing the three dimensions of: (1) materialities; (2) practices; and (3) imaginaries.

  • 3.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Hopeful and Obligatory Remembering: Mediated Memory in Refugee Camps in Post-War Germany2020In: Mediální studia, ISSN 2464-4846, Vol. 14, no 1, p. 13-33Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores mediated memory practices in refugee camps in post-war Germany. Inresponse to refugees experiencing a disjuncture of temporality materialized in the liminalspace of the refugee camp, the article argues that media practices of camp residents includepractices of remembering and witnessing. Drawing on memory studies, media practicesare understood as forms of “management of change” and “mediated witnessing”, enactingcultural and diasporic memory, as well as providing opportunities to remember, store thepresent and give witness to one’s plight. Based on an analysis of archival records from campstructures in Germany (1945–1955), examples of mnemonic media practices are analyzed.Concludingly, the article argues that mediated memory in refugee camps is characterizedby an ambiguity of “hopeful” and “obligatory” memory, affected by structures and controlof media and mnemonic activities, as well as agency and initiatives to remember and creatememories from below.

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  • 4.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Immobile socialities?: Historicising media practices in refugee camps2021In: The Routledge Handbook of Mobile Socialities / [ed] Annette Hill; Maren Hartmann; Magnus Andersson, London: Routledge, 2021, p. 302-319Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter explores mobile socialities and media practices in the context of refugee camps in post-war Germany (ca. 1945-1960). In refugee camps, forcefully mobilised individuals are forcefully immobilised, making the camp into an institution, where national-territorialist imaginaries of belonging and disbelonging are negotiated - through controlling (im)mobility and respective socialities. Based on archival material from post-war German shelters, this chapter explores these paradoxical workings of mobilisation and immobilisation in forced migration processes. To do so, media practice theory serves as an analytical prism to observe socialities enacted in and around media, which make up experiences of mobility and immobility. The material here points at three dimensions of media practices, shaping mobile socialities: socio-material immobilisation through the set-up of physical spaces, creating forced sociality as well as encapsulation and segregation; media technological environments and repertoires in camps, enabling and controlling communication and connectivity; and mobilising media and communication practices of resistance, activism and protest among camp residents. This variety of camp-based media practices provides a historical perspective on how practices around media shape a spectrum of both mobile and immobile socialities and anti-socialities. Apart from counteracting a rhetoric of newness often found in accounts of mobile media and digital communication, such historicizations of media practices in camps, ultimately, lead us to preceding articulations of socialities and anti-socialities, where mobility and immobility have been negotiated and imagined in an extreme counter-space at the margins of society, which always reflects its utopian ideas of inside and outside. 

  • 5.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Media and the refugee camp: The historical making of space, time, and politics in the modern refugee regime2021Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation explores media practices in and of refugee camps. In the wake of forced migration becoming ever more digitized both in its experiences and its governance, this thesis historicizes media practices in refugee camps as a space of the refugee regime. In various historical contexts in Germany after 1945, this study analyses archival material in order to trace media practices in the making of refugee camps’ space, time, and politics, and thereby provides historical insights into circularities, ruptures, and continuities of media practices and their entanglement with being and being made a refugee. 

    Refugee camps spatialize the modern “refugee regime” (Betts, 2010) as a hegemonic mode of governing forced migration. Being paradoxical tools of both shelter and humanitarian relief and at the same time segregation and exclusion, refugee camps are “heterotopian and heterochronic spaces” (Foucault, 1967/1997): othered, paradoxical spaces and times, simultaneously inside and outside of society, a temporary limbo, withholding outcasts from nation-based, bordered societies while at the same time constituting these very societies.

    The holistic concept of media practices (Couldry, 2004) describes how social practices of mediation and communication enable, shape, and condition socialities and materialities of the refugee camp: media as enabling environments, technologies, and techniques (Peters, 2015) construct, negotiate, and make the camp’s heterotopian and heterochronic condition. By way of media practices, camp residents, staff and authorities, NGOs and governments as well as activists, establish, maintain or alter the social relations of the camp heterotopia and heterochronia. Relating to the space, time, and politics of the camp, these media practices are conceptualized as heterotopian, heterochronic and heteropolitical media practices, which shape and negotiate the differentiation, other-ness and paradoxical inclusions and exclusions from time and space, which refugee camps thrive on.

    Archival records from the post-war period of ca. 1945 to 1960, and the 1980s and 1990s, provide traces of historical media practices from camp residents, authorities within the refugee regime, and activists and other communities. Three analytical chapters explore heterotopian, heterochronic and heteropolitical media practices. Firstly, heterotopian camp space is produced, governed and controlled through media practices around media infrastructure, such as architecture, media-technological equipment, and administrative practices. Secondly, refugee camps are heterochronic limbos with multiple ruptured temporalities that are managed through media practices of memory and witnessing. Thirdly, heteropolitical media practices are forms of altering and challenging the othering politics of the camp space and camp time through forms of resistance and protest.

    This thesis re-evaluates historical media practices in and of the refugee camp from the perspective of the digitized refugee regime and experience, and showcases trajectories of media practices that (regardless of media technological environment) have been employed in projects of negotiating and coping with being and being made a refugee. This thesis thereby challenges a rhetoric of newness around digital technologies and contributes theoretically, epistemologically, and empirically to the study of media and migration. By pointing out the complicitness and existentiality of media practices in making, differentiating, and relating space, time, and politics in bordered states, the thesis ultimately argues for an approach to media studies from the margins to help understand how seemingly peripheral spaces mirror and co-construct media practices in society more generally.

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    Media and the refugee camp: The historical making of space, time, and politics in the modern refugee regime
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  • 6.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Paper, chipcards, iris scans: media technologies and the asylum regime2020In: Anais de resumos Expandidos IV Seminário Internacional de Pesquisas em Militarização e Processos Sociais: Realizado entre Novembro de 2020 e Janeiro de 2021, UNISINOS, São Leopoldo, RS, Brasil, São Leopoldo: Instituto Humanitas Unisinos , 2020, Vol. 1Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper provides a historical and genealogical perspective on media technologies in refugee administration, and the mediation of the asylum regime. Modern global refugee governance heavily relies on media technologies in order to facilitate modes of disciplining forced migrants in time and space. Refugee camps today run on Bitcoins, use iris scans for payment. Border control, asylum registration and decision making are highly digitized and often based on AI technologies (Leurs, 2020; Mácias, 2020). Yet, while digital technologies are sold to authorities as highly innovative and brand new, practices of media-based refugee governance have historical roots and trajectories. Tracing some of these roots in the context of German refugee governance after 1945 up until today, this paper argues for a historicizing perspective to critically understand the role of media technologies in building asylum regimes, foregrounding the experiences of individuals subjected to these technological infrastructures. Technologies, such as paper slips or card indexes in the 1940s and 1950s, or digital chip cards emerging in the 1990s are predecessors to digital refugee governance, laying the groundwork for practices of control, disciplining, ranking and rating, as continued today.

    This paper thinks together and explores historical and contemporary incidents of media technologies imbued in the creation of refugee governance. Carving out various examples of how refugee administration and asylum regimes were and are built in and through media technologies and practices, the paper draws on an infrastructuralist (Peters, 2015; Parks & Starosielski, 2015) take on media technologies. Examples, such as paper-based registries, refugee passports, chip cards, or iris scans are the basis for a discussion of media technologies’ “leverage” (Peters, 2015, p.18) as socio-material artifacts for subjugating and managing refugee individuals in time and space. Historically, this process finds expression in various media environments, leading into the present situation, which has been described as “deep mediatization” (Couldry & Hepp, 2017), also of refugee governance. So, exploring historical trajectories of media technologies and their entanglement with migration and asylum regimes opens up a discussion of how media are, and have always been, made part of political projects of administrating the “Other” as an outcast of the nation-state-based systems – and, vice versa, if and how technologies mediatize and affect these processes.

    Today, ever more elaborate, violent border infrastructures are erected to suppress irregular migration, e.g. at Europe’s lethal borders in the Mediterranean. While we can here observe an infrastructural build-up, for forced migrants this instead results in an experienced infrastructural tear-down, of lacking rescue operations and safe ways of travel, while being more and more surveilled. Yet, historically, probably the technological and financial opportunities for refugee support have never been more, and refugee numbers have been much higher in the past. Instead, political will to provide relief and safe alternatives seems to be reaching a low point. Ultimately, evaluating different historical contexts and moments of mediatization in refugee governance helps to critically understand and nuance the role of media in building such asylum regimes.

  • 7.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    “We Demand Better Ways to Communicate”: Pre-Digital Media Practices in Refugee Camps2019In: Media and Communication, E-ISSN 2183-2439, Vol. 7, no 2, p. 207-217Article in journal (Refereed)
    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”.

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  • 8.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    et al.
    The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Forsler, Ingrid
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    King, Gretchen
    Lebanese American University, Lebanon.
    Löfgren, Isabel
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Saati, Farah
    Lebanese American University, Lebanon.
    Diraya.media: Learning Media Literacy With and From Media Activists2023In: International Journal of Communication, E-ISSN 1932-8036, Vol. 17, p. 901-919Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Taking stock of media activist initiatives in the Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA) region, this article discusses findings from case study research informing the media education platform “diraya.media.” Through participatory methodology, the case studies and the bilingual (Arabic/English) website aim to analyze and strengthen local media literacy pedagogies by learning with and from media activists in the region. This article reports on six case studies of SWANA-based media activist organizations and pedagogical material for the media literacy classroom. The goal is to reflect and discuss the methodological and theoretical ramifications of Diraya as a pedagogical space for reflection and knowledge exchange between media activists and other learners in the region and beyond. Drawing on the participating activists’ experiences, Diraya is embedded in the turn toward radical media education and civic media literacies, contributing to (1) de-Westernizing media literacy education, (2) creating more learning materials based on local activist knowledge as important resources to increase media literacy, and (3) enabling of long-term collaborations by archiving and making public experiences from SWANA-based media activists.

  • 9.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Leurs, Koen
    Utrecht University, the Netherlands ; Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
    Histories of humanitarian technophilia: how imaginaries of media technologies have shaped migration infrastructures2021In: Mobilities, ISSN 1745-0101, E-ISSN 1745-011X, Vol. 16, no 5, p. 670-687Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Contemporary migration infrastructures commonly reflect imaginaries of technological solutionism. Fantasies of efficient ordering, administrating and limiting of refugee bodies in space and time through migration infrastructures are distinctive, but not novel as they draw on long historical lineages. Drawing on archival records, we present a case-study on post-World-War-II refugee encampments. By highlighting the deeply historical role of media in migration governance, i.e. the act of mediation through technological infrastructuring, we seek to bring together the fields of migration studies and media studies. We argue that this cross-fertilization helps to historically untangle power dimensions, inherent workings, as well as human experiences imbued in the tech-based management of migration ‘crises’. Uncovering historical underpinnings of digitalized asylum regimes through the prism of media infrastructures, and socio-technical imaginaries surrounding them, points at continuities and genealogies of containing and managing people in time and space, reaching into technologies of colonial and fascist projects. We thus seek to explore the assumptions that drive the build-up of migration and media infrastructures: How are migrants, camps, media and their infrastructural interrelations imagined? Which cultural horizons are reflected in technologies, which functions are imagined for whom, and how are utilitarian ideas about humanitarianism and migration control embedded?

  • 10.
    Wagner, Hans-Ulrich
    et al.
    Leibniz-Institute for Media Research, Hamburg, Germany.
    Seuferling, Philipp
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies.
    Uses of the Past in Refugee Documentaries in Sweden and Germany: Conceptualising entangled histories of media, memory, and migration2020In: Media History, ISSN 1368-8804, E-ISSN 1469-9729, Vol. 26, no 1, p. 91-104Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Migration not only entangles people, cultures and societies but also histories and memories of diverse groups across national and cultural boundaries. The article focuses on mediated memory cultures of migration both theoretically and empirically. The first part discusses how cultural memories of migration in cross-medial flows of remediation can entangle ‘mnemonic imaginations’ of diverse groups within societies across time, cultures and media. In response to the conceptual framework of ‘entangled media histories’ this theoretical part explores entangledmedia histories of migration from the angle of memory studies. The second part of the article gives selected case studies. They reveal how media have historically mediated migratory memories and how they make use of this media history in contemporary productions. The examples are two Swedish documentary films of 2011 and 2015 and two German television documentaries of 2015 and 2016. With this theoretical and empirical approach the article shows how media actively contribute to debates about contemporary migration movements by the help of time-travelling migratory memory and media history.

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