Title: Smart(phone) travelling: understanding the use and impact of mobile technology on irregular migration journeys

Authors: Judith Zijlstra; Ilse Van Liempt

Addresses: Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), Political Sociology Department, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, Room 6.05, 1018 WV Amsterdam, The Netherlands ' Human Geography Department, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, Room 605, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract: This article analyses how mobile technology impacts on irregular migrants' journeys. It is based on trajectory ethnography with 11 Afghan, Iranian and Syrian migrants whom the first author met in Turkey and Greece in the spring of 2015. These migrants were followed (partly digitally) to Serbia, Hungary, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. We argue that the method of trajectory ethnography is a useful tool that allows us to understand how mobile technology shapes and facilitate parts of the journey - like, for example, decisions on routes and modes of travel, final destinations and the financing of irregular migration. This methodology leads to a more nuanced understanding of irregular migration because it enables us to capture the complex dynamics involved in irregular migration processes and to reflect on decisions taken within the process.

Keywords: mobile technology; smartphones; irregular migration; trajectory ethnography; migration journeys; Afghan migrants; Iranian migrants; Syrian migrants; immigrants; Afghanistan; Iran; Syria; Turkey; Greece; Serbia; Hungary; Germany; Sweden; Netherlands; facilitation; route decisions; migrant routes; travel modes; final destinations; financing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMBS.2017.083245

International Journal of Migration and Border Studies, 2017 Vol.3 No.2/3, pp.174 - 191

Received: 06 Oct 2015
Accepted: 23 Mar 2016

Published online: 15 Mar 2017 *

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