Place, time, and smartphones: refugee women affectively “making do” - A feminist research project exploring the situated and contested experiences of refugee women waiting in Greece
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The majority of the literature on media and migration focuses on representation and technology, both in the context of migration journeys, as well as border security. With some exceptions (see, for example, Baldassar et al., 2016; Leurs, 2016; Madianou, 2016a; Nedelcu & Wyss, 2016), scholarship rarely addresses the affective entanglements of migrant digital practices. When it is explored, and includes gender in its analysis, it is often in the context of the “feminisation of migration” (Madianou, 2016b). However, “mothering” at a distance is not applicable in the context of the current migrant crisis. It does not address the situated and contested experiences of women in refugee camps who are waiting to travel onwards, often with their children but without other family members. This feminist research project centres a reflexive (Sultana, 2007) and vulnerable (Page, 2017) methodology, where questions of ethics, power, and positionality are regularly negotiated in the field, and represented justly in the writing and textual analysis of that fieldwork. Using emotionality as an entry point, this thesis explores refugee women’s smartphone use and gendered affect across place and time. It does so by unpacking affective and embodied empirical data gathered at a refugee camp in mainland Greece. Additionally, this thesis extends existing theories on waiting as affect (for example, Twigt, 2018), and proposes “making do” (Certeau, 1984) as a tactic for negotiating the anxieties and ambivalences produced through protracted experiences of waiting.