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GSSC Seminar Series
10 October 2023


The camera is working. Making the migration infrastructure in Sudan

Abdallah Ounour Hassan Ounour (University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy)



Infrastructures are ecological and relational objects. These act like laws by permitting and forbidding the possibilities of the human relation (Larkin, 2013; Star, 1999). Today, urban, legal, and digital infrastructures melt in a hybrid sociotechnical constellation that shapes new relationships between authorities and technology, mobility and control, states and people (Larkin, 2013; Trauttmandorf, 2023, 144). 

This work aims to visualize (connections among) the current role of physical and hybrid infrastructures in the context of border crossing and migration management in Sudan, It sheds light on the current role of urban, legal and digital infrastructures in the context of cross border mobility  in Sudan-Libya Central Mediterranean route. Deploying a theoretical view on this case, migration emerges as an infrastructure (Xiang, Lidquist, 2014) shaped by bottom up tactics of migrants and smugglers. I will focus on how the migrants community employs Facebook groups in order to establish the migratory processes.

In terms of methodology, the paper relies on reports, scientific researches and studies as the main secondary data, in addition, the study depended on qualitative research tool for collecting data. The tool is:  online ethnography by analyzing posts of a Facebook group (in Sudanese case) to form an empirical knowledge. One of the active groups is “The Sudanese in Sumbuk Group”, which was established in April 2020 and comprises (12.300) members where I am a member of this group.  The study indicated clearly that Migrants and smugglers use different means of communication, but they prefer using social media in communication, mainly facebook as a source of information and thus generate a body of collective knowledge about routes, smugglers and timing.

In conclusion, the study shows how technology can be a source of power for different actors. On the one hand, migrants and smugglers can use it to contest the border regime; on the other hand, institutions can use it to implement border control and migration management policies.


Abdallah Ounour Hassan Ounour is a dedicated anthropologist currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Urbino Carlo Bo in Italy. Additionally, he serves as a lecturer within the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences at the University of Gadarif in Sudan.

His research interests span a wide range of intriguing topics, including migration, gender dynamics, artisanal gold mining, ethnicity, conflicts, religious anthropology, the anthropology of death, madness, the dynamics within academic communities, and the influence of social media platforms like Facebook.


May 2018:  MA Thesis: The Phenomena of Human Trafficking in Sudan , the case of Kassala State (in Arabic) The research is published in May 2018 in the publications of ARUS project (Assistance Regional Universities in Sudan).

September 2020: The phenomenon of human trafficking and Smuggling in Eastern Sudan (in Arabic) .The research is published in the publications of ARUS project (Assistance Regional Universities in Sudan).

 March 2021: Artisanal Gold Mining Camps in the Butana as Migration Hubs (in Arabic) (CO authors). The research is published in the publications of ARUS project (Assistance Regional Universities in Sudan).

October 2021: Eastern Sudan: Hosting Ethiopian Refugees under tough conditions (in English), (co-authors) an article, published at CMI, Sudan Brief Number (2).