In the wake of globalization discourses and the so-called ‘spatial turn’, space and place have become central concepts in migration studies. More increasingly, and despite the widespread transformations in the ways we move and communicate today, place-making has gained important attention as a practice among diaspora groups, forced migrants, and refugees. To further advance insights in this field of research, the present study investigates the role of communication technologies in the place-making practices of the Yanacona indigenous community that has been internally displaced in Colombia. In-depth interviews data revealed that, for the Yanacona community, place-making is a collective process driven by cultural values of cooperation, collaboration and solidarity. As rural migrants, the Yanacona people face important challenges to stay together in a new urban context where they are bounded to negotiate which cultural practices and social connections must be left behind. Consequently, insights about the in-betweenness experience of the Yanacona were understood from reterritorialization and locally situated approaches, where media practices are seen as place-making practices too. Building networks of support, protecting the community from disappearing, and restoring the collective identity, are three practices that the Yanacona have adapted to make a place in the city. In the process, smart phones and social media are particularly relevant for many of the interviewees, who expressed both advantages and negative implications of the technology for their community. In this sense, in-depth interviews also revealed how indigenous communities take on processes of social construction of technology, challenging the archaism discourse that hinders these communities, specially in the Global South. Accordingly, this study recognizes the relevance of paying attention to emergent indigenous media practices and networks in Colombia, arguing that they can be crucial for a community’s cultural survival after forced migration.

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A. Paz Alencar
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

C. Sarria Sanz. (2019, June 24). Rebuilding the Yanacona Home in the City: Exploring Place-making Practices among Displaced Indigenous Communities in Colombia. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from