Mobile communication and refugees
An analytical review of academic literature
Over the past decade, an expanding literature has explored the ways in which refugees rely on mobile communication technologies to stay in touch with a wider community and to access relevant information and services in their new places. Nevertheless, challenges linked to (a lack of) digital literacy and accessibility among refugees, and associated risks of technology use can negatively affect their empowerment and participation in a “mediatized” society. In light of the mutually shaping processes emerging between technology and society, this article provides an overview of studies focusing on the relationship between mobile communication practices and refugee lives under different circumstances. Using the concept of affordances as an analytic tool, this article looks into ways in which existing studies address the possibilities and vulnerabilities of mobile communications, the social conditions, and the agency of refugees in engaging with mobile technologies in the different temporal and spatial dimensions of their migration trajectories. Future studies should explore more collective processes and the power dynamics involved in the appropriation of mobile technologies by different migration actors.