Queer Migration and Digital Affects: Refugees Navigating from the Middle East via Turkey to Germany

  • Yener Bayramoğlu
  • Margreth Lünenborg
Original Paper


This article explores the ways in which digital media are used as self-empowering tools by queer refugees in the course of their migration from several Middle Eastern countries via Turkey to Germany. Our discussion expands upon queer migration scholarship and insists on the need to shift attention away from refugees’ vulnerability to the empowering strategies that queer refugees develop for themselves. Based on observation and interviews conducted with queer refugees in Istanbul and Berlin, we argue that not only social media activism and interpersonal message platforms such as social networks, but also dating applications, open up opportunities for refugees to develop new coping strategies and a sense of belonging during migration. This leads us to focus on the emotional and affective value of digital media for queer refugees. While translocal digital media embed refugees within transnational networks that offer interpersonal/emotional support as well as useful tools for activism, our study reveals the restrictive power of such media. We argue that digitally circulated affects can become regulatory forces, which integrate queer refugees into European regimes of racialized and sexualized difference.


Migration Digital media Queer Affect Refugee 



We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Margherita-von-Brentano-Center for Gender Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, whose financial support made this research possible.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Standard

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Media and Communication StudiesFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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