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Conference Papers Year : 2019

Reimagining Refugee Identity Systems: A Sociological Approach


This paper explores how the social identity of refugees shapes and is shaped through the process of registering with humanitarian organisations. Building on the recent advance of critical studies on digital identity systems for refugee management, we show how the lens of social identity is helpful in understanding the relationship between refugee information systems and refugee experiences of registration and accessing services. Identity is a key issue related to contemporary information systems yet remains an under-theorised area of investigation from a sociological perspective in the field of information systems, international development and refugee studies. Using qualitative data from refugees in Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Northern Uganda, this paper showcases the centrality of refugees’ social identity in determining the journey of vulnerable individuals focusing on three key dimensions. First, how the identities of refugees based on home and family in South Sudan were carried over to refugees’ new location in Uganda and were later transformed through the process of registration. Second, how work and career profile of their lives in South Sudan shaped the identity of refugees, and how the absence of education credentials limited the realisation of personal aspirations. Third, how interactions between institutions and refugees are both shaped by and shape refugee identity. Our findings point to important policy implications for designing and implementing refugee identity systems.
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hal-02285296 , version 1 (12-09-2019)





Shirin Madon, Emrys Schoemaker. Reimagining Refugee Identity Systems: A Sociological Approach. 15th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (ICT4D), May 2019, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. pp.660-674, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-18400-1_54⟩. ⟨hal-02285296⟩
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