Communicative Acts of Citizenship: Contesting Europe’s Border in and Through the Media
Situated at the intersection of media and communication and critical citizenship studies, this article explores how refugees assert themselves as political subjects through communicative acts of citizenship—everyday forms of resistance against the border regime enacted in and through diverse media networks. It discusses how these communicative practices of claims-making are shaped by refugee–volunteer solidarities and the shifting micropolitics of securitized humanitarian care at Europe’s border. Finally, it considers the potential that such acts, especially those enacted within digital media spaces, carry for interrupting dominant media and humanitarian discourses. Drawing on 12 weeks of participant observation and 42 interviews with refugees and volunteers conducted on the Greek island of Chios between March 2016 and July 2018, the article concludes that despite their limited effects, taking the mediation of refugees’ political agency seriously is methodologically, analytically, and politically imperative to avoid reifying the figure of the mute refugee so deeply embedded in the humanitarian imaginary.