The Empowered Refugee: The Smartphone as a Tool of Resistance on the Journey to Europe

Katja Kaufmann


For refugees from crisis regions in the Middle East, smartphones have proven to be useful on their journey to and through Europe. The paper presents results from an interview study with Syrian refugees who arrived in Austria in 2015 on how they actually used the devices on the move. It becomes apparent that smartphones are not only pragmatic tools, but actually change power relations between refugees and both smugglers and authorities.


Smartphone, mobile media, refugee studies, qualitative interviews

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