Smartphones in the lives of refugees

Abstract

Smartphones are currently playing an increasingly crucial role for people in different contexts. One group that recently became known for making use and benefiting from smartphones are refugees from the Middle East. In this region, the use of mobile Internet and social media had quickly gained ground in the beginning of the decade when the so-called Arab Spring and the resulting war in Syria began. Thus, it was only natural that refugees from these countries took their smartphones with them when they finally saw no option but to cross the Aegean to apply for asylum in Europe and Austria in 2015. 

By conducting semi-structured interviews, the project analyses the use and role of smartphones in different stages of refugees’ forced resettlement process: during the dangerous, chaotic and resource-poor flight into the unknown; and later upon arrival in Vienna, when immediate mortal danger is over, but a foreign country with an unfamiliar culture and language is challenging refugees in yet new ways while their families and friends are spread across continents.

Financing

City of Vienna

CMC Staff

Tobias Eberwein (Project Leader)

Katja Kaufmann (Project Management)

Mouhamad Alhassan

Fridolin Mallmann

Awards

2017 Best Student Paper Award of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) to Katja Kaufmann for her paper “Navigating a new life: Syrian refugees and their smartphones in Vienna”

Lectures

Lectures

Books and Monographs

Books and Monographs

Articles and Book Chapters

Articles and Book Chapters

Research Papers

Research Papers

Popular Publications

Popular Publications

Popular Talks

Popular Talks

In the Media


Katja Kaufmann in an Austria Press Agency interview on the use of smartphones by Syrian refugees on their journey to Europe and upon arrival (2017, 17 August; reprinted in Science.orf.at, Der Standard Online, Wiener Zeitung Online), available at: http://science.orf.at/stories/2860852/

Katja Kaufmann in an interview with the Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse on the use of smartphones by Syrian refugees on their journey to Europe and upon arrival (2017, 7 July), available at: https://diepresse.com/home/science/5248615/Das-Smartphone-als-Lebensretter

Katja Kaufmann and Mouhamad Alhassan in an interview with the ÖAW Public Relations team on the CMC study “smartphones in the lives of refugees” (2017, 1 August), available at: https://www.oeaw.ac.at/oesterreichische-akademie-der-wissenschaften/die-oeaw/article/das-smartphone-als-fluchtbegleiter/

Katja Kaufmann in a public panel discussion on communication technologies and migration at the elevate festival 2017, Graz (2017, 5 March), available at: https://vimeo.com/210096390

Katja Kaufmann in an interview with the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard on the role of social media in forced migration processes (2017, 14 January), available at: http://derstandard.at/2000050501986/Umgang-mit-Sozialen-Netzen-in-der-Not

Katja Kaufmann in an interview with ad astra – Magazine for Science and Culture at the Alpen-Adria-Universität on the relevance of smartphones for Syrian refugees on their flight to Europe (2016, 6 October), available at: https://www.aau.at/blog/ein-selfie-als-lebensbeweis/  

Katja Kaufmann in the research blog of ROR-n, the Vienna based refugee outreach and research network, on her recently launched project to study the role of smartphones for refugees coming to Europe (2016, 26 September), available at: http://www.ror-n.org/-blog/understanding-why-smartphones-are-so-essential-to-refugees 

Katja Kaufmann in the Swiss Sunday paper Schweiz am Sonntag on the role of smartphones in forced migration processes (2016, 27 August), available at: https://www.schweizamwochenende.ch/nachrichten/nicht-ohne-mein-handy-131067432

Katja Kaufmann in the research blog Ein Fall für die Wissenschaft of the Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard on the use of smartphones by Syrian refugees on their journey to Austria (2016, 28 June), available at: http://derstandard.at/2000039965056/Wenn-Menschen-dank-Smartphones-am-Leben-bleiben