Migration and migrants within and to Europe

Reviewing media studies of the past decade (2001–2016)

Authored by: Mélodine Sommier , Willemijn Dortant , Flora Galy-Badenas

The Routledge Companion to Migration, Communication, and Politics

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138058149
eBook ISBN: 9781315164472
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reviews recent academic articles (2001–2016) about media and migration both within and to Europe. This chapter contributes to understanding how contemporary perceptions of migration and migrants intersect with media representations, while highlighting shortages in academic coverage and providing suggestions for future research. Articles (N = 89) from ten prominent journals dealing with mass media narratives were analyzed using content analysis. Following a quantitative overview of the data, the chapter discusses the main themes present in the literature. Closely-related articles (i.e., directly dealing with (im)migration and (im)migrants) tackled representations of immigrants, immigrants’ media use, stereotypes in the media, ethnic and minority media, discourses about migration issues, and visual representations of refugees/asylum-seekers. Articles considered moderately relevant referred to migration/migrants as a background to their primary topic of investigation. The findings draw attention to the scarcity of research on media production in general and the need to further connect media discourse to concrete editorial and journalistic practices and identify that the lack of methodological transparency echoes validity concerns in (qualitative) scientific research. Remarkably, few studies considered refugees, though the current actuality of the refugee crisis is expected to cause a shift in research focus. Finally, this chapter suggests that the construction of immigration is predominantly a non-European experience while drawing attention to the growing relationship between race, ethnicity, religion, and migration. The suggested shift from the migrant category to religious, cultural, and racial denominations highlights the need to consider implications of these references as proxies of the migrant category in future research.

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