Deconstructing the symbolic visual frames of refugees and migrants in the main Western European media

Publication TypeConference Paper
Año de publicación2019
AuthorsAmores, JJ, Arcila-Calderón, C
EditorConde-González, MÁ, Rodríguez-Sedano, FJ, Fernández-Llamas, C, García-Peñalvo, FJ
Nombre de la Conferencia Seventh International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality
Fecha de publicaciónOctober, 2019
PublisherACM New York, NY, USA ©2019
Conference LocationLeón, Spain
Keywordsframing, media studies, migrants, migration, refuge, refugees, sociology

This paper analyses the visual frames of refugees and migrants that predominate in the media agenda of the main Western European countries, based on the study of the four levels of visual framing proposed by Rodríguez and Dimitrova [1]. The main objective is to identify the typology of symbolic frames that are most frequently transmitted in Western European media during the Mediterranean migration crisis, as well as the elements and attributes of denotative and stylistic nature that make up each of these frames. To this end, content analysis has been used as a methodological frame. The resulting findings offer a global vision of the visual treatment that the main European media are doing about the crisis, and how they mainly represent refugees and migrants. The analysis focuses on the four main and major news frames on displaced persons: normalization, victimization, burden and threat. The findings indicate that a typology of visual frames that represent the refugee and/or migrant as a victim, sufferer and in need, predominates in all media and countries. However, it has been found that the two frames of the most negative tendency, those that represent those subjects as a possible burden and/or threat to Western societies, surpass the other two frames in frequency. On the other hand, the denotative elements that contain each one of the symbolic frames are compared to know how they are constructed or what attributes conform in a specific way a type of framing or representation. In this regard, it has been found that displaced children and women tend to appear more frequently in normalization and victimization frames, while men and young people or adults appear more frequently in the burden and threat frames, usually in large groups of people that seems to be a mass, and showing religious elements and symbols.

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