Digital crossings along the Mediterranean routes : empowerments and constraints of digital technologies in migrants mobility

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Incorvaia, Alessio
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The intersection between digital transformation and migratory dynamics has fundamentally reshaped the way irregular crossings along the Mediterranean Sea are undertaken, monitored and accomplished. Migrants and civil society organisations rely on creative usages of ICTs and new technologies to bypass governmental control whilst gaining the necessary visibility — both in physical and advocating terms — to make a safe journey towards European southern shores. Meanwhile, national and supranational actors increasingly expand their digital arsenal through sophisticated military and surveillance technologies, aiming at securing the EU external borders and prevent irregular entries alongshore. Yet, few studies have focused on a joint assessment of the digital practices carried out by the different stakeholders involved, and even less, on how such mediated activities interrelate and counteract. This paper seeks to fill this gap by critically analyzing the ambivalent nature of digital technologies in migrants' mobility along the main Mediterranean routes. By concurrently granting novel affordances as well as new limitations to their mobility and enjoyment of rights, digital technologies come into play as a new determining (f)actor in migrants’ crossings, as crucial as a calm sea and the fluid functioning of the engine. Key Words: Digital Technology; Migrants; Mobility; Digital Migration Studies; Mediterranean Sea, Irregular Crossings
Second semester University: University of Coimbra
technological innovations, migrations, Mediterranean countries, irregular migrations