'The refugee type': Media representations of the refugee crisis in Germany
LE3 .A278 2016
Bachelor of Arts
The current refugee crisis in Europe is a complex issue. The majority of refugees in Europe escaped from the civil war in Syria, which according to the UN News Centre, has killed 220,000 people. More than 2.2 million people require life-saving aid and more than 4 million people have sought refuge in other countries since the conflict started in March 2011. In Germany specifically, 476,649 refugees applied for asylum in 2015. Due to the wide media coverage of this topic and its ongoing nature, this study examines the representation of refugees in German newspaper journalism. It employs a content analysis to examine the tropes that derive from the recurrence of particular codes in newspaper photographs. The findings highlight four main themes that surrounded the refugees’ depicted identity: foreignness, individuality, assistance, and security. The individuals were found to predominantly be portrayed as homogeneous group creating the impression of an existing ‘refugee type’. This type was found be homogenous, dependent, and passive in nature. The theme of security highlighted the existence of two different narratives concerning whether the depicted contingent of security constitutes a necessary component of humanitarian aid management or the aim to control a potential threat. While it remains ambiguous which trope is more accurate, the depiction of the refugees as threat potentially reflects current xenophobic movements in Germany
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