Technologies of Refuge and Displacement: Rethinking Digital Divides
By Linda Leung
Technologies of Refuge and Displacement: Rethinking Digital Divides aims to theoretically and practically understand technology access and use from the perspective of those on the “wrong” side of the digital divide. Specifically, it examines refugees as a group that has received scant attention as technology users, despite their urgent need for technological access to sustain tenuous links to family and loved ones during displacement. It draws from over 100 interviews and surveys with refugees conducted from 2007 to 2011, utilizing this empirical data to interrogate well-known theories about technology and its users. In doing so, it seeks to rethink the popular model of “digital divide” and offer alternative ways of conceptualizing technology literacy and access. It examines how principles from design and IT industries can be applied to contexts with constrained availability, access, and affordability to provide technology services that accommodate users with limited technical and language literacies.