RESEARCHING THE ROLE OF DIGITAL MEDIA IN ENABLING EDUCATIONAL PARTICIPATION OF YOUNG REFUGEES
Keywords:refugees, education, social participation, inequality
This paper presents an ongoing joint ethnographic research project by the University of Cologne and the Leuphana University Lüneburg, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), focusing the role of digital media in facilitating young refugees‘ educational participation (“Bildungsteilhabe Geflüchteter im Kontext digitalisierter Bildungsarrangements”, 2019-2022), The project aims at reconstructing factors that enable educational participation of young refugees in digitally-mediated educational environments. In three extended phases of ethnographic field work (participant observations) and artefact analyses of digital media in non-formal educational contexts such as youth welfare institutions (e.g. residental groups, pedagogical family assistance and youth-cafés) formal educational contexts (e.g. schools, vocational training etc.) and informal spaces (e.g. family, peer activities etc.) implicit and unplanned as well as explicit and pedagogically planned uses of digital media are focused. The central research question in this paper is what importance (if any) does digital media (such as social media sites, apps, smartphones, learning software etc.) have in the everyday life of young refugees when it comes to educational practices and coping in the everyday life. In this context, practices and their relation to aspects of unequal basic conditions (e.g. level of education) and digital inequalities (e.g. reproduction of disadvantages in media usage, differences in media experiences etc.) are analyzed. This paper presents the empirical work in progress focusing methodological and ethical challenges in research at the intersection of sensitive areas such as forced migration, youth welfare, private life and schooling.