Dr. Amanda Paz Alencar publishes co-authored paper on refugee migration and smartphones

Dr. Amanda Paz Alencar has recently published a new co-authored paper on refugee migration and smartphones in the major international, peer-reviewed journal "Media, Culture & Society."

The paper is based on a qualitative study with 16 male refugees (mostly from Syria) who fled from their home countries during the 2014-2016 period and settled in the Netherlands. This study entitled "The smartphone as a lifeline: An exploration of refugees’ use of mobile communication technologies during their flight" is published in co-first authorship with former graduate student of our EUR Media & Business Master Programme, Katerina Kondova, and former ESHCC and ERMeCC colleague Dr. Wannes Ribbens.  

The article reports on an investigation that applied insights from the Uses and Gratifications (U&G) framework and refugee studies to examine the media use of refugees and to link these to the material, social and psychological needs emerging from the journey. With a focus on the smartphone, our study distinguished four significant clusters of media U&G among the sampling population: smartphone as companion, an organisational hub, a lifeline and diversion.

With this study, the authors strongly encourage the research community to include in their research agendas those refugee populations whose journeys are scarcely investigated, and for whom access to mobile phones and digital connectivity is greatly constrained by their socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds as well as by exposure to harsher structural conditions during their flight. Continuous efforts from governments, international and local organizations and institutions, and civil society are necessary to promote refugees’ access to reliable, affordable and usable mobile connectivity and information, as digital technologies are paramount in their day-to-day struggles, and can even be a matter of life and death.

To read the full article, please visit this link.