Digital media in refugees’ everyday life and integration : a case study on the highly educated Syrian refugees in Scania
Abstract: This thesis sets the goal to contribute to the field of diaspora studies from media and communication studies perspective by focusing on the neglected migrant group of highly educated refugees and their media use. This thesis aims to explore how highly educated refugees utilize digital media in their everyday life after their migration. It also investigates how digital media use enhances and undermines refugees’ integration in a host country by taking into account their educational background and their localities. In order to answer the research question, the highly educated Syrian refugees in Scania, who arrived in Sweden from 2011 onwards as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria, were chosen as a case study. The study adopts a non-media centric and ethnography approach to examine how media consumption is positioned within everyday routines, local contexts, and social environments. Through qualitative semi-structured interviews and media ethnography of smartphones, the thesis explores how everyday life practices are enabled through digital media. The findings illustrate that the highly educated Syrian refugees in Scania use media in their everyday life for family bonding, entertainment and gratification, and socialization, which are enabled through media affordances. By extending the focus to include the refugees' emotions, the thesis proposes a notion of Affective affordances, in which refugees’ abilities to consume different kinds of media are linked to emotions concerning their forced migration experience. The thesis further demonstrates that digital media consumption supports, to some extent, different aspects of the integration process, such as reaching necessary information and learning the language. However, offline practices are still essential for the integration of refugees in their new locality.
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