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Rethinking media responsibility in the refugee ‘crisis’: a visual typology of European news

Chouliaraki, Lilie and Stolic, Tijana (2017) Rethinking media responsibility in the refugee ‘crisis’: a visual typology of European news. Media, Culture and Society, 39 (8). 1162 - 1177. ISSN 0163-4437

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0163443717726163


In this paper, we analyse how news images of the 2015 Syrian refugee ‘crisis’ visualise refugees and how, in so doing, they mobilise various forms of moral responsibility in ‘our’ mediated public life – various practical dispositions of action towards the misfortunes of migrants and refugees at Europe’s border. On the basis of empirical material from European news (June-December 2015), we construct a typology of visibilities of the ‘crisis’, each of which situates refugees within a different regime of visibility and claim to action: i) visibility as biological life, associated with monitorial action; ii) visibility as empathy associated with charitable action; iii) visibility as threat, associated with state security; iv) visibility as hospitality, associated with political activism; and v) visibility as selfreflexivity, associated with a post-humanitarian engagement with people like ‘us’. In conclusion, we argue that, important as these five categories of visibility are in introducing public dispositions to action towards the vulnerable, they nonetheless ultimately fail to humanise migrants and refugees. This failure to portray them as human beings with lives that are worth sharing should compel us, we urge, to radically re-think how we understand the media’s responsibility towards vulnerable others.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2017 14:52
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 21:09
Projects: The Mediation of Migration
Funders: Department of Media and Communications

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