Ключевые спикеры / Фон Бург А.Б.

Фон Бург А.Б.

Фон Бург Алессандра Б.

Доцент кафедры коммуникаций, Wake Forest University, США.

Алессандра Фон Бург (PhD, Питсбургский университет) – доцент и руководитель аспирантуры кафедры коммуникации университета Уэйк Форест (США). В своих исследованиях Алессандра фокусируется на таких темах, как риторическая теория, политическая теория и исследования мобильности. Ее работы опубликованы в журналах Philosophy & Rhetoric, Advances in the History of Rhetoric, Quarterly Journal of Speech и в других национальных и международных сборниках.

Она является одним из главных исследователей государственной программы летнего трансатлантического института имени Бенджамина Франклина для американских и иностранных студентов, а также директором и выпускающим продюсером проекта «Where Are You From?».


Citizenship Deserts: Refugees as Digital Nomads ("Гражданская пустыня": беженцы как цифровые кочевники).


A desert is a place where life struggles to exist, marked by a lack of water, nourishment, with arid soil and dry conditions. The desert is a useful metaphor to describe geological, physical, and digital spaces where the rights and protections usually associated with national citizenship are lacking. A citizenship desert is a non-place for noncitizens, who may find themselves not belonging, not having the legal, social, and economic protection of a nation.

In a citizenship desert, the narratives around noncitizens position them as either vulnerable, dependent on others, or as hyper-strong, able to overcome all adversities. This dichotomy positions noncitizens as “others” and results in their abandonment by citizens, governing bodies of the host nations, and inter- or supra-national organizations.

This paper focuses on the recent abandonment of noncitizens in Europe and the Middle-East, specifically focusing on the refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the surrounding regions, to explore the concept of citizenship deserts. In what experts have described as the worst crisis since WWII, the mass migration of people who are arriving in Europe by sea and land forces scholars to reconsider old models of citizenship and mobility. Citizenship deserts have unique characteristics that position noncitizens in a state-of-now, stuck in a present that does not afford them a past or a future. The now-ness of citizenship deserts keeps noncitizens in a state of maintenance, without the protection and security of a nation that gives them long-term rights.

In particular, this paper argues that the narratives of noncitizens such as refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants, have a powerful presence in digital citizenship deserts, where, unlike the political and economic realms, noncitizens exist as digital nomads. Their stories, pictures, and maps fill a digital non-place where non-citizens lack rights and protection, but at least they have visibility and the potential of calling attention to their non-placeness. From the powerful picture of Alan Kurdi, the 3-year old from Syria whose body washed ashore the Turkish coast, to the faceless bodies of refugees on the Macedonia-Greece border; from the mountains of life jackets left on the Isle of Lesbos, to the numerous short videos reporting on the conditions in the Calais “jungle,” these and many other stories demonstrate how the refugees exist as digital nomads. They may be powerful as they hint at a call to action, yet they remain powerless in citizenship deserts.

Building on the work of Arendt, Agamben, Deleuze, and Braidotti, this paper focuses on the case-studies of refugees in Europe, both to argue that citizenship deserts are unsustainable and to reflect on the new model of citizenship that emerges from the examples of current refugees as noncitizens. Their political, economic, and digital abandonment carries important lessons for the future of citizenship and mobility studies.

P.S. The author of this paper will be traveling through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and Albania in June 2016, conducting interviews with refugees and recording short segments for a digital collection of video and audio stories, all available as open access material on a website.