“Refugee Voices,” New Social Media and Politics of Representation: Young Congolese in the Diaspora and Beyond

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In a contribution to a special issue on ‘refugee voice’ of Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, IMI Research Officer Marie Godin andGiorgia Doná argue that new social media enable refugees and members of diaspora communities to actively manage the creation, production and dissemination of their own voices. By using these tools of self-representation they challenge mainstream politics of representation of ‘refugee voices’, as framed by social actors such as academics and representatives of humanitarian organisations.

Based on two principal examples, the Geno-cost project created by the Congolese Action Youth Platform (CAYP) and Refuge, a spoken word piece by the writer and poet JJ Bola, the article suggests that by using these new territories for self-expression and creating a ‘politics from below’, young Congolese are also challenging global power relationships at local, national, transnational and international levels.

Abstract:
This article examines the role of new social media in the articulation and representation of the refugee and diasporic “voice.” The article problematizes the individualist, de-politicized, de-contextualized, and aestheticized representation of refugee/diasporic voices. It argues that new social media enable refugees and diaspora members to exercise agency in managing the creation, production, and dissemination of their voices and to engage in hybrid (on- and offline) activism. These new territories for self-representation challenge our conventional understanding of refugee/diaspora voices. The article is based on research with young Congolese living in the diaspora, and it describes the Geno-cost project created by the Congolese Action Youth Platform (CAYP) and JJ Bola’s spoken-word piece, “Refuge.” The first shows agency in the creation of analytical and activist voices that promote counter-hegemonic narratives of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, while the second is an example of aesthetic expressions performed online and offline that reveal agency through authorship and ownership of one’s voice. The examples highlight the role that new social media play in challenging mainstream politics of representation of refugee/diaspora voices.

Read Full Article: CAYP Article 0520216 M Godin

Source: http://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/news/new-article-explores-the-role-of-new-social-media-in-articulation-of-the-refugee-voice

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