Media and Migration: Constructions of Mobility and Difference

Media and Migration: Constructions of Mobility and Difference

Media and Migration: Constructions of Mobility and Difference

Media and Migration: Constructions of Mobility and Difference

Synopsis

Drawing on newspapers, magazines, film, television and photography from several countries, the contributors examine how the media affects the reception of migrants, how it stimulates migrants to move and how it plays a dynamic role in the cultural politics and identity of diasporic communities.

Excerpt

Migration and media studies are two richly interdisciplinary fields of study. They overlap in various ways but the interconnections have rarely been explored. These linkages are not just a subject for academic research, but impinge on the consciousness of the ordinary European citizen on virtually a daily basis. This has been very evident in the British press in the recent past when events and issues such as the Afghan airplane hijacking at Stansted Airport, the arrival of Roma asylum-seekers and the British government's evolving policy for dealing with asylum claims have been reported, discussed, exaggerated and politicised to the extent that so-called 'illegal immigration' and so-called 'bogus asylum-seekers' are repeatedly claimed (by the British Conservative Party at least) to be major election issues alongside health and education. Exactly how the media influence, shape or determine the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of British and European citizenry with respect to contemporary migration processes is one of the major lines of enquiry of this volume. What emerges from the analyses carried out by the contributors, of specific migration events and of the national contexts to which these relate, is a complex picture where perspectives and approaches may dovetail at times, but may equally stand in stark contrast to each other. In this introductory overview, we merely wish to draw the reader's attention to some of these salient points of convergence and divergence.

To be more systematic, we suggest that media may intervene in the migration process and in the individual and collective experience of migration in three main ways. First, images transmitted from the destination countries, or by the global media generally, may be an important source of information for potential migrants. Whether this information is accurate or not, it can act as an important factor stimulating migrants to move. Images of wealth and of a free and relaxed lifestyle in the 'West' or the 'North' are commonplace in the developing and transforming countries of the world, and the constancy of these images in global media - in films, television, magazines and advertisements - tends to reinforce their 'truth' in the eyes of the beholders. Often returning migrants

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