How media and conflicts make migrants

By Kirsten Forkert, Federico Oliveri, Gargi Bhattacharyya and Janna Graham

How media and conflicts make migrants


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3811-8
  • Pages: 224
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: April 2020
  • BIC Category: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration, Society & social sciences / Sociology, Society & social sciences / Media studies, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Society & social sciences / Migration, immigration & emigration, Sociology, Migration, immigration & emigration
  • Series: Manchester University Press


Has 'migrant' become an unshakeable identity for some people? How does this happen and what role does the media play in classifying individuals as 'migrants' rather than people? This volume denaturalises the idea of the 'migrant', pointing instead to the array of systems and processes that force this identity on individuals, shaping their interactions with the state and with others. Drawing on a range of empirical fieldwork carried out in the United Kingdom and Italy, the authors examine how media representations construct global conflicts in a climate of changing media habits, widespread mistrust, and fake news. How media and conflicts make migrants argues that listening to those on the sharpest end of the immigration system can provide much-needed perspective on global conflicts and inequalities.

In challenging the conventional expectation for immigrants to tell sad stories about their migration journey, the book explores experiences of discrimination as well as acts of resistance. Interludes, interspersed between chapters, explore these issues through songs, jokes and images. Offering an essential account of the interplay between a climate of diversifying but distrustful media use and uncertainty about the shape of global politics, this volume argues that not only is the world itself changing rapidly, but also how people learn about the world. Understanding attitudes to migrants and other apparently 'local' political concerns demands a step back to consider this unstable global context of (mis)understanding.


'Overall, this book offers a new approach to the much-discussed role of international migration in Europe and its media portrayal from a critical postcolonial point of view. Its anecdotal storytelling renders it easier to read, while the formulation of clear appeals or calls to action blurs the line between activism and scholarly research.'
Lilian Krüger, The International Spectator

'This volume explores connections between media representations, global migrants, and perceptions upheld and challenged by viewers in the UK and Italy during the 2010s. The text oscillates between chapters that unpack issues like "white amnesia" and "postcolonial innocence" among white, Western viewers, and brief "interlude" chapters that convey migrants' insights into navigating different media perspectives and experiences within their new settings. For instance, the authors note a shift from print to new media consumption that necessitates steady access to the internet and mobile technology, which flies in the face of stagnant images of migrants as "not entitled" to such technology, further limiting their access to and sharing of information. Ultimately, the authors call for building international systems to disrupt the willful "forgetting" of interconnected global histories fueling migrants' voyages, and to help them thrive in their new countries. This book could be useful for courses in political science, media studies, communications, and ethnic studies. Visual pairings might include pertinent excerpts from British and Italian newscasts from the period, along with relevant news articles and online posts, with the potential to integrate these media into a reflective "migrantification" assignment.'


Introduction: Conflict, media and displacement in the Twenty-First Century
1 How postcolonial innocence and white amnesia shape our understanding of the "refugee crisis"
Interlude: Global war and media absences
2 War Narratives: Making sense of conflict
Interlude: Songs, jokes, movies and other diversions
3 Social media, mutual aid and solidarity movements as a response to institutional breakdown
Interlude: How it feels to be made a migrant: restrictions, frustration and longing
4 The processes of migrantification: how displaced people are made into migrants
Interlude: Telling stories about war differently
5 Refusing the demand for sad stories
Conclusion: Unsettling dominant narratives about migration in a time of flux


Kirsten Forkert is a Reader in Media Theory at Birmingham City University

Federico Oliveri is a Research Fellow at the University of Pisa

Gargi Bhattacharyya is Professor of Sociology at the University of East London

Janna Graham is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London

How media and conflicts make migrants

By Kirsten Forkert, Federico Oliveri, Gargi Bhattacharyya, Janna Graham

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

Paperback RRP £14.99, NOW £7.50 / $21.95

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