Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Information Flows along the Central African Republic – DR Congo border

How do Central African refugees navigate through uncertainty in a new and hostile environment in the DR Congo?

2012 - 2017

The recent CAR (Central African Republic) conflict forced many people to flee their country. Over ninety-thousand refugees have been officially registered in DR Congo alone. The majority of those who are assisted reside in refugee camps; a minority has opted to look for opportunities elsewhere. During my research I followed Central African refugees, which I prefer to call conflict (im)mobiles, along the CAR-DRC border. This research focuses on how these (im)mobiles make choices and take decisions that draw their life paths. The setting is ‘urban’, as it follows the (im)mobiles that are outside the camps, in small provincial towns as well as in the big metropole.

The research is conceptualized from the angle of information flows. Information flows refer to the ways in which (im)mobiles interiorize and exteriorize information. Interiorization refers to the collection of data, both offline and online (Facebook, Twitter, and others), both official and unofficial. Exteriorization points to the ways in which (im)mobiles communicate with the institutions that ought to represent them, such as the UNHCR, but also the ways in which they present themselves to their peers and wider public. Ultimately this research links up to theories of navigation, adaptation and identity construction.

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