Constructing the Unauthorized: European Press Portrayal of Immigration

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 134 (University of Glasgow)
Alexander Caviedes , Political Science, State University of New York, Fredonia
While the large-scale arrival of refugees to various European countries in 2015 has attracted the greatest public attention, concerns over migrants who lack the proper authorization to work, reside, or even enter, continue to occupy the forefront of the discourse over international migration to and within Europe. Beyond the linkage of refugees to issues regarding irregular migration, political and societal actors are actively engaged in discourse over who is ‘authorized’ to receive particular treatment from the state and participate in various aspects of civil and social life. Commonly utilized expressions in this regard include illegal migrants, irregular migration, or the undocumented. This paper presents the results from a five-year examination of newspaper coverage of immigration in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and UK and the frequency with which these stories deal with the aforementioned aspects of whether immigrants are ‘authorized.’ Beyond offering a comparison of the relative frequencies of the most common narratives developed in each country’s press, this paper delves into which particular aspects of authorization (i.e., employment, border security, etc.) are highlighted most commonly within each of the five countries, allowing us to draw conclusions about whether this is a common European-wide discourse, or to what degree such narratives have national contours. A final point of examination involves the relative prevalence of narratives of authorization in comparison to other common patterns for framing migration such as economics, security, and immigrant integration.
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