Shame, Mobiles And Migration

Research project, Budapest (2017)

This research was done under the auspices of the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies department at Goldsmiths College (London). It was presented at the ECREA Digital Fortress Europe conference in October 2019 in Brussels.

In September 2015 the Hungarian government halted the journey of approximately 2,500 migrants at Budapest’s Keleti station. This research project examined issues of forced migration from an affective perspective using the case study of the informal migrant camp that was established at the station. This project focused on the make-shift Wi-Fi network that was created at Keleti station in relation to Hungarian populist politics. The research points to how mobile communication provides a way for forced migrants to create a heterotopic space in extreme conditions as the migrant community are affectively moored by media practices that enable feelings of familiarity and security. These practices not only constitute a kind of refuge for migrants but also offer a form of refusal, however small, towards the shaming and inertia they experience.  

Mobiel charging at Keleti Station (Sept 2015). Copyright Mauricio Lima
Photo courtesy: Mauricio Lima