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Talking about migration in times of crisis: a textual analysis of narratives by IOM and UNHCR on migrants and refugees

Green, Brandon and Pécoud, Antoine (2023) Talking about migration in times of crisis: a textual analysis of narratives by IOM and UNHCR on migrants and refugees. American Behavioral Scientist. ISSN 0002-7642

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Identification Number: 10.1177/00027642231182899


In the absence of a binding and coherent international migration regime, the global governance of migration relies on normative narratives produced by UN agencies and other intergovernmental forums, in line with the discursive legitimacy traditionally associated with international organizations. Such narratives impact migrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees because they support certain policy frameworks among member states. Yet, global migration governance remains fragmented, especially as far as the long-standing divide between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is concerned. This article contributes to this discussion by applying corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis to the narratives produced by these two organizations. The article identifies some of the dominant worldviews in the narratives of IOM and UNHCR. Results show that IOM and UNHCR have distinct worldviews, associated with different textual patterns, and that, while IOM’s textual productions seem to influence UNHCR’s discourses, the opposite is less true. This would support the view that IOM is currently the leading actor in terms of framing migration, thereby exerting a strong influence on global migration governance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 SAGE Publications.
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
J Political Science
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2023 16:00
Last Modified: 26 May 2024 16:03

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