Me and Andreas Musolff went to the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (University of Navarra) to present our book Migration and Media: Discourses about Identities in Crisis and were later interviewed by Eastminster
Afterwards, Andreas and I were interviewed by Eastminster, a global politics and policy blog, to talk about the book. In this interview, we explain how understanding how migrants are represented in the media is key to understand the growing sense of crisis in both personal and collective identities. I also talk about why the migration theme interests me personally and what my future projects will be.
Understanding how migrants are represented in the media is key to understand the growing sense of crisis in both personal and collective identities that dominates the socio-discursive landscape of migration
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Three categories of threat
Migrants are often depicted in the media as a burden to the host societies, or blamed for complex socio-economic problems, but what we realised by analysing media discourse was that host societies are seen more and more as being threatened in their core existence by “migrants”, “asylum seekers”, and “refugees”. These categories often blend into each other to form one threatening entity.
A personal interest
The topic of migration and in particular the socio-cognitive dimension of migration has always been close to my heart. This is because I have always been a migrant myself: I was born in the North of Italy but my parents are both from the South.
The topic of migration and in particular the socio-cognitive dimension of migration has always been close to my heart. This is because I have always been a migrant myself: I was born in the North of Italy but my parents are both from the South
In the years after the so-called economic boom, the North of Italy became the site of bitter rivalries between North and South, mainly caused by the mass migrations from the southern regions. The tensions against Italian intra-migrants are precisely what I analyse and discuss in chapter two of this volume. I was often victim of xenophobic attitudes in those years, which coincidentally, are also the years when the populist party, Lega Nord (North League), was starting to get more consensus. Therefore, when Andreas asked me to be part of this project, it was really like it was meant to be. This book also perfectly complements my current research strand on the relationship between media and diasporic communities.
It is hard to stay optimistic
It is hard to stay optimistic about the way migration is depicted in the media, and it is even harder when we, as scholars, look at the consequences of demonising migrants on our daily lives
I think one important point that we make through the exploration of the fourteen case studies in the book, which are concerned with different European countries and the US, is that similar patterns seem to emerge ubiquitously and simultaneously. This is rather alarming especially in the context of news globalisation in which anything can become viral very quickly and have big resonance in parts of the world very distant from the starting places. This is perhaps what we hoped to give the readers with our book an in-depth, data driven analysis of those linguistic strategies that are used to frame migration, and indicate alternative strategies that help diffuse latent ideologies.
You can read the full interview here