Dr Saskia Witteborn

Dr Saskia Witteborn

Senior Visiting Fellow

Department of Media and Communications

English, German, Spanish
Key Expertise
Migration, Techonology, Identity, Datafication

About me

Saskia Witteborn (PhD University of Washington) is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). She specializes in critical technology studies and migration, with a focus on understanding the daily practices and lived experiences of transnational migrants. She has worked with various migrant groups in the United States, Europe, and East Asia and has contributed to theorizing the geopolitics of belonging, the datafication of forced migration, technology and affect, data privacy, and socio-technological imaginaries of migration management. She is currently exploring Web3 immersive realities with a focus on gaming communities in the Philippines.

She was a visiting scholar at Free University of Berlin, at the Berlin Institute for Migration and Integration Research at Humboldt University, and at Télécom Paris Tech. Her research has appeared in edited collections and in leading journals, including the Journal of Communication, Cultural Studies, Research on Language and Social Interaction, and The Journal of Refugee Studies. She has co-authored the SAGE Handbook of Media and Migration with Kevin Smets, Koen Leurs, Myria Georgiou, and Radhika Gajjala (2020) and Together: Communicating Interpersonally. A Social Construction Approach (6th ed., 2005) with John Stewart and Karen Zediker, published by Oxford University Press. Her latest book Unruly Speech: Displacement and the Politics of Transgression is forthcoming with Stanford University Press.

During her time at LSE, Dr. Saskia Witteborn is working with Professor Myria Georgiou.

Expertise Details

Digital migration studies; Technology and the geopolitics of belonging; Migration into immersive realities; Cultural Communication; Philosophy of Communication; Language and Social Interaction



Journal Publications 

  • Witteborn, S. (2022). Digitalization, digitization and datafication: The “three D” transformation of forced migration management. Communication, Culture & Critique. https://doi.org/10.1093/ccc/tcac007

  • Gruenewald, T., & Witteborn, S. (2022). Feeling good. Humanitarian virtual reality film, emotional style and global citizenship. Cultural Studies, 36(1), 141-161. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2020.1761415

  • Witteborn, S. (2021). Digital placemaking and the datafication of forced migrants. Convergence. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 27(3), 637-648. https://doi.org/10.1177/13548565211003876

  • Witteborn, S. (2021). Data privacy and displacement: A cultural approach. Journal of Refugee Studies, 34(2), 2291-2307.  https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/feaa004

  • Monachesi, P., & Witteborn, S. (2021). Building the sustainable city through Twitter: Creative skilled migrants and innovative technology use. Telematics and Informatics, 58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tele.2020.101531

  • Witteborn, S. (2020). Privacy in collapsed contexts of displacement. Feminist Media Studies.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2020.1841814

  • Witteborn, S. (2019). The digital gift and aspirational mobility. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(6), 754-769. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367877919831020

  • Daly, A., Hagendorff, T., Li, H., Mann, M., Marda, V., Wagner, B., Wang, W., & Witteborn, S. (2019). Artificial intelligence, governance and ethics: Global perspectives. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper, No. 2019-15. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3414805 or  https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3414805

  • Witteborn, S. (2018). The digital force in forced migration: Imagined affordances and gendered practices. Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture,16(1), 21-31. https://doi.org/10.1080/15405702.2017.1412442

  • Witteborn, S. (2015). Becoming (im)perceptible: Forced migrants and virtual practice. Journal of Refugee Studies, 28(3), 350-367. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/feu036

  • Witteborn, S. (2014). Forced migrants, emotive practice and digital heterotopia. Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture, 5(1), 73-85. https://doi.org/10.1386/cjmc.5.1.73_1

  • Witteborn, S., Milburn, T., & Ho, E. (2013). The Ethnography of Communication as applied methodology: Insights from three case studies. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41(2), 188-194. https://doi.org/10.1080/00909882.2013.782421

  • Li L., & Witteborn, S. (2012). Confucianism in the Chinese media: An analysis of the revolutionary history television drama In Those Passionate Days. Chinese Journal of Communication, 5(2),160-177 https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750.2012.664439

  • Witteborn, S. (2012). Testimonio and spaces of risk: A forced migrant perspective. Cultural Studies, 26(4), 421-441. https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2011.587881

  • Witteborn, S. (2011). Constructing the forced migrant and the politics of space and place-making. Journal of Communication, 61(6), 1142–1160. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01578.x

  • Brock, D.M., Mauksch, L.B., Witteborn, S., Hummel, J., Nagasawa, P., & Robins, L.S.  (2011). Effectiveness of intensive physician training in upfront agenda setting. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26(11), 1317-1323. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-011-1773-y

  • Witteborn, S. (2011). Discursive grouping in a virtual forum: Dialogue, difference, and the “intercultural.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 4(2), 109-126. https://doi.org/10.1080/17513057.2011.556827

  • Robins, L., Witteborn, S., Miner, L., Mauksch, L., Edwards, K., & Brock, D. (2011). Identifying transparency in physician communication. Patient Education and Counseling, 83(1),73-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2010.05.004

  • Witteborn, S. (2010). The role of transnational NGOs in promoting global citizenship and globalizing communication practices. Language and Intercultural Communication, 10(4), 358-372. https://doi.org/10.1080/14708477.2010.497556

  • Witteborn, S., & Sprain, L. (2009). Grouping processes in a public meeting from an Ethnography of Communication and Cultural Discourse Analysis perspective. Journal of Public Deliberation 5(2). https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.85 (lead article of special issue)

  •  Witteborn, S. (2008). Identity mobilization practices of refugees: The case of Iraqis in the United States and the War in Iraq. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 1(3),202-220. https://doi.org/10.1080/17513050802101781

  • Qiu, J. L., & Witteborn, S. (2008). Interview with D. Ray Heisey. Chinese Journal of Communication, 1, 131-137. https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750802287778

  • Witteborn, S. (June 2008). Caught in-between: Iraqi refugees in the U.S. tell their stories. Communication Currents, 3(3). https://www.natcom.org/communication-currents/caught-between-iraqi-refugees-us-tell-their-stories

  • Witteborn, S. (2007). The situated expression of Arab collective identities in the United States. Journal of Communication, 57(3), 556-575. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2007.00357.x

  • Witteborn, S. (2007). The expression of Palestinian identity in narratives about personal experiences: Implications for the study of narrative, identity, and social interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 40(2&3), 145-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/08351810701354581 (lead article)

  • Robins, L., Witteborn, S., Miner L., McElligott, S., Brock D., & Mauksch, L. (2004). Transparency in physician-patient interaction. Medical Encounter. A Publication of the American Academy on Physician and Patient, 18(4),21.

  • Witteborn, S. (2004). Of being an Arab woman before and after September 11. The enactment of communal identities in talk. Howard Journal of Communications, 15(2), 83-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/10646170490448312

  • Witteborn, S. (2003). Communicative competence revisited: An emic approach to studying intercultural communicative competence. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 32, 187-203.

Book Chapters 

  •  Leurs, K., & Witteborn, S. (2022). Digital migration. In M. McAuliffe/IOM and ANU (Ed.), Research handbook on international migration and digital technology (pp. 15-28). Elgar.
  • Xie, Z., & Witteborn, S. (2020). The mobility-migration nexus: The politics of the interface, labor, and gender. In Smets, K., Leurs, K., Georgiou, M., Witteborn, S., & Gajjala, R. (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of media and migration (pp. 453-463). SAGE.
  • Witteborn, S. (2019). Digital diaspora: Social alliances beyond the ethno-national bond. In J. Retis, & R. Tsagarousianou (Eds.), The handbook of diasporas, media and culture (pp. 179-192). Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Rudnick, L., Witteborn, S., & Edmonds, R. (2019). Engaging change: Exploring the adaptive and generative potential of Cultural Discourse Analysis findings for policies and social programs. In M. Scollo, & T. Milburn (Eds.), Engaging and transforming global communication through Cultural Discourse Analysis. A tribute to Donal Carbaugh (pp. 253-272). Rowman & Littlefield. (NCA, LSI Outstanding Scholarly Publication Book Award, 2019)
  • Witteborn, S., & Huang, Q. (2017). Diaosi (underdog talk) as a way of relating in contemporary China. In D. Carbaugh (Ed.), The handbook of communication in cross-cultural perspective (pp. 142-154). Routledge.
  • Witteborn, S. (2012). Forced migrants, new media practices, and the creation of locality. In I. Volkmer (Ed.), The Handbook of global media research (pp. 312-330). Blackwell. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118255278.ch18
  • Witteborn, S. (2011). Gendering cyberspace: Transnational mappings and Uyghur diasporic politics. In R. S. Hegde (Ed.), Circuits of visibility: Gender and transnational media cultures (pp. 268-283). NYU Press. https://doi.org/10.18574/nyu/9780814737309.003.0015
  • Stewart, J., Zediker, K., & Witteborn, S. (2005). Constructing identities. In J. Stewart (Ed.), Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (9th ed., pp. 64-74). McGraw-Hill College Publishers.
  • Stewart, J., Zediker, K., & Witteborn, S. (2005). Empathic and dialogic listening. In J. Stewart (Ed.), Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (9th ed., pp. 219-237). McGraw-Hill College Publishers.
  • Stewart, J., Zediker, K., & Witteborn, S. (2005). Deception, betrayal, and aggression. In J. Stewart (Ed.), Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (9th ed., pp. 405-416). McGraw-Hill College Publishers.