The Syrian crisis has been one of the worst crises in the present century. Europe was struggling to handle and control the amount of refugees seeking asylum and safe countries to live in. In addition and comparison to that, Eritrea has been ruled under a military doctrine since the 1990s, a lot of Eritreans try to escape through Sudan and Libya in order to reach Europe. The European Union is therefore under constant struggle to avoid refugees’ deaths during their journeys, especially when crossing the seas, and handle the amount of refugees, who enter the European Union from Italy and Greece and try to arrive in the Netherlands. Moving individuals leave behind their home, ordinary lives and families in order to live in freedom and peace. Therefore, social resources are lost and refugees in need to aggregate new ones. The journeys taken by Eritrean and Syrian refugees differ in relation to the routes, but are similar in seeking and providing information, relying on social connections and access resources in order to reach Europe and the country of destination successfully. Coming from recent studies and migration literature, digital technology is understood to be part of and helpful concerning the journey process. Refugees are digitally connected and access online platforms in order to inform and update themselves. In this regard, smartphones and Internet cafés can be of great importance since they enable refugees to access various social media platforms, websites and communication services and provide access to different kinds of social resources like social connections, sleeping places, transport devices and information about border crossings and routes. Differences in the use of digital technology can be drawn between Eritrean and Syrian refugees, parallels are observed looking at the journey processes and accesses to resources. The present study aims to understand and investigate the influence of digital technologies on the formation of social connections before, during and after the journey experience of Syrian and Eritrean refugees. Qualitative in-depth interviews and in location produced network maps are conducted to analyze the impact and importance of social connections, established and maintained, on refugees’ journeys in relation to digital technology. Qualitative methods were considered as appropriate since the study addresses a sensitive topic and aims to understand personal experiences. By means of a comprehensive speech interaction, insights and opinions were gained in order to add to a deeper understanding and knowledge of refugee journey processes in modern times.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, culture, society, refugee crisis, refugee journeys, refugee experience, social connections, interpersonal communication, social media, Facebook, WhatsApp, mobile communication, social networks, qualitative interviews
Thesis Advisor A. Paz Alencar
Persistent URL
Series Media, Culture & Society
S. Konneke. (2018, June 25). Influence of Digital Technology on the Formation of Social Connections during Syrian and Eritrean Refugees’ Journeys. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from