Affective Networked Space: Polymedia Affordances and Transnational Digital Communication Among the Rohingya Diaspora

Abdul Aziz


This study explores the intersection of affect, affordance, and agency of the Rohingya diaspora in maintaining the everyday transnational digital communication in a context of prolonged displacement and genocide. Drawing on a qualitative multi-sited research approach, I interviewed 25 Rohingya diaspora living in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh and in Brisbane, Australia. The findings show how affordances of technologies have facilitated affective practice that underpins the digital spaces to negotiate protracted experiences of sufferings. I develop the idea of “affective networked space” to unpack how the participatory digital connections have created a new avenue that acts as an alternative space to compensate the absence of Rohingya script and physical presence and play affective roles from disseminating (re)sources of information to everyday transnational communication. I argue that although transnational connectivity is formed with affordance of digital (poly)media, “affective networked space” is not only infused with pain, love, and intimacy, but also imbued with the affective politics of collective sufferings, solidarity, and identity negotiation.


affective networked space, affordance, Rohingya diaspora, transnational connectivity, digital media, WhatsApp, forced migration, statelessness, refugee camp

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