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Message posted on 09/12/2019

Special issue call for papers: Refugees and Digital Work

Dear colleagues,

Please consider submitting an abstract for the following special issue:

Call for Articles: Special Issue on Refugees and Digital Work

Aimed at: Development and Change

Digital transformations are currently reshaping labour markets and employme= nt opportunities around the world. Some suggest that online work platforms = and the so-called =91gig economy=92 are now planetary in scope, promising a= ccess to work for anyone with an internet connection and some skills. Howev= er, to what extent does that hold true for the world=92s refugees?

Parallel to this spread of digital opportunities, refugee self-reliance has= now become one of the leading mantras in global refugee governance and int= ernational development. A plethora of programmes and initiatives have there= fore tapped into a pool of digital opportunities for livelihood provision a= nd skills training among displaced persons and host communities. However, t= heir scope, methods, and outcomes remain underexplored in both academia and= policy.

This special issue will explore the diverse implications of this transforma= tion on refugees, who often face severe restrictions to economic activity, = financial inclusion, and a limited right to work. Particular consideration = will be given to critical contributions that are rooted in empirical resear= ch and offer insights linking important debates in the international develo= pment literature on refugee economies, livelihoods, and digital work.

Articles might address one of the following questions: What do particular c= ase studies tell us about the unique relationship between forced displaceme= nt and digital economies? How does the inclusion of refugees, and a perspec= tive grounded in their experience, change established views on digital econ= omies and the future of decent work? How do digital economies reshape the r= ole of work within increasingly prolonged conditions of forced displacement= ? What are the risks and opportunities of digital work for refugees?

Other themes articles might address may include the following:

  • Digital refugee livelihoods and the decent work agenda
  • Digital skills training or remote job-mentoring
  • Freelancing and online entrepreneurialism
  • Working conditions and social protection
  • Informal means of digital work (e.g. social media platforms)
  • Refugees=92 involvement in the informal or illicit digital economy
  • Gender dimensions of digital work
  • Barriers to digital access and/or financial inclusion
  • The interaction between host country legal and social environments an= d digital economies

These questions and issues are for guidance only and should not be consider= ed exclusive of other important themes.


If you are interested in contributing to this issue, please submit the foll= owing to the issue editors by Friday, January 10, 2020:

  • A 500-750 word abstract including main research question, details on = the empirical research, theoretical contribution, research methods, main fi= ndings, and conclusions
  • Author CV

Tentative deadline for full-length articles: May 2020

Special issue editors:

Dr Andreas Hackl, Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh


Dr Evan Easton-Calabria, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford


Dr Andreas Hackl Lecturer, Social Anthropology School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh, UK

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, w= ith registration number SC005336.

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