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Title: Exploring the role of technologies in building Syrian refugee community resilience
Authors: Talhouk, Reem Refaat
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: We are witnessing the largest humanitarian crises occurring within the digital age. The ubiquity of digital technologies has created a space for digital humanitarianism. Digital humanitarianism has been tied to concepts of community resilience by critics of both fields. Humanitarian academics call for a critical investigation of these concepts that accounts for the socio-political, cultural and economic contexts in which they are applied. However, empirical research at the intersection of digital humanitarianism and community resilience is lacking. In this thesis I explore how digital technologies may contribute to refugee community resilience, using an Experience-Centred Design (ECD) research approach to engage with Syrian refugee women residing in an informal settlement in Lebanon. Through the issue of food security, I engage in an exploratory study using focus groups, dialogue cards and the co-creation of an advocacy artefact to explore refugee participants’ understandings of community resilience and how a technology designed for improving refugee food insecurity can contribute to their community resilience. I further use paper prototypes to engage with participants to mimic potential future experiences of technologically mediated collective purchasing. The data collected with refugee participants is augmented by interviews with other stakeholders in the food aid system. Additionally, I use autoethnographic methods to reflect on the value of ECD within this context. I highlight the potential for community-designed humanitarian technologies to increase refugee agency, facilitate self-mobilisation and consequently contribute to refugee community resilience. I also emphasise the need, when designing technologies for community resilience, to account for subcommunities that form within geographically defined refugee communities. My findings extend the concepts of community resilience and digital humanitarianism by envisioning refugee-community-driven technology and using ECD as a methodology for designing with refugee communities.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:Institute of Health and Society

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