Scalability, Social Media and Migrant Assistance: Emulation or Contestation?

Sverre Molland*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Aid agencies have in recent years recalibrated their interventions to encompass social media technologies within their programmes. This uptake can in part be explained by the unprecedented opportunities for connectivity–and therefore scalability–that social media technologies allow for. This is particularly evident amongst aid organisations within the migration policy sector. Whilst the efficacy of such approaches remains contested, less attention has been devoted to how migrant associations instrumentalise social media for emancipatory purposes. This paper explores how migrant associations attain operational space and scale by combining social media’s connective capabilities with pre-established forms of relationality (reciprocity and patrimonialism). These two forms of connectivity amplify state effects and scalability, evidenced by how migrant assistance groups both emulate yet become antagonistic towards state authorities, which ultimately renders migration assistance unstable. Hence, social media’s scalability goes hand in hand with state emulation and contestation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100-117
    Number of pages18
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2024


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