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Free Content Forced migrants, emotive practice and digital heterotopia

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Despite being caught in cycles of waiting and being arrested in institutionalized accommodations, forced migrants engage increasingly in digital border crossings. While the study of digital practice has attracted much scholarly interest, the role of emotions in processes of migration and digital connecting has been neglected. This article explores the role of emotions in the structuring of and engagement with digital heterotopias. Field research with 127 forced migrants in Germany over a period of three years illustrates how shame and fear structure digital practice and heterotopic space and regulate digital connectivity. The study suggests that emotions are instrumental in gendering digital practice and influencing solidarization processes, with shame and fear strengthening spaces of exclusion and supporting the logics of control by the nation state.

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Keywords: digital heterotopia; emotion; fear; forced migrant; practice; shame; space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Chinese University of Hong Kong

Publication date: March 1, 2014

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  • The course of cultures at both local and global levels is crucially affected by migratory movements. In turn, culture itself is turned migrant. This journal will advance the study of the plethora of cultural texts on migration produced by an increasing number of cultural practitioners across the globe who tackle questions of culture in the context of migration. They do this in a variety of ways and through a variety of media. To name but a few relevant aspects of this juncture of migration and culture, questions of dislocation, travel, borders, diasporic identities, transnational contacts and cultures, cultural memory, the transmission of identity across generations, questions of hybridity and cultural difference, the material and oral histories of migration and the role of new technologies in bridging cultures and fostering cultural cross-pollination will all be relevant. Methodologies of research will include both the study of 'texts' and fieldwork.
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