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The Dynamics of Mediatized Conflicts

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Edited By Mikkel Fugl Eskjær, Stig Hjarvard and Mette Mortensen

This book engages with the mediatized dynamics of political, military and cultural conflicts. In today’s global and converging media environment, the interrelationship between media and conflict has been altered and intensified. No longer limited to the realms of journalism and political communication, various forms of new media have allowed other social actors to communicate and act through media networks. Thus, the media not only play an important role by reporting conflicts; they have also become co-constitutive of the ways conflicts develop and spread.
The first part of the book, Transnational Networks, addresses the opportunities and challenges posed by transnational media to actors seeking to engage in and manage conflicts through new media platforms. The second part, Mobilising the Personal: Crossing Public and Private Boundaries, concerns the ways in which media framings of conflicts often revolve around personal aspects of public figures. The third part, Military, War, and Media, engages with a classic theme of media studies – the power relationship between media, state, and military – but in light of the mediatized condition of modern warfare, in which the media have become an integrated part of military strategies.
The book develops new theoretical arguments and a series of empirical studies that are essential reading for students and scholars interested in the complex roles of media in contemporary conflicts.
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Chapter Six: Mediatized Asylum Conflicts: Human-Interest Framing and Common-Sense Public Morality

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CHAPTER SIX

Mediatized Asylum Conflicts

Human-Interest Framing and Common-Sense Public Morality

TINE USTAD FIGENSCHOU, KJERSTI THORBJØRNSRUD, AND ANNA GRØNDAHL LARSEN



Rejected asylum seekers and other irregular migrants are among the most marginalised groups in Western societies (Nyers, 2010). A broad literature demonstrates that irregular migrants are predominantly presented by the news media as anonymous objects linked to crime, menace, and danger—threats that must be removed or controlled (Gabrielatos & Baker, 2008; Klocker & Dunn, 2003; Suro, 2011). Other studies have painted a more complex picture, pointing to how immigrants have been represented in the media as threats, victims, or heroes, depending on the political context and a range of media-specific factors (Benson, 2013; D’Haenens & de Lange, 2001; Van Gorp, 2005). This ambiguity is particularly pertinent for rejected asylum seekers who are marginalised and vulnerable with few formal rights, and are seen as potential threats on the margins of society, often beyond the state authorities’ control.

For these irregular immigrants, mobilising and struggling to avoid deportation, telling their stories in the media has become an important tool of “last resort” (Tyler & Marciniak, 2013). To offer a human face and a personal narrative can be a successful strategy to attract attention, evoke the public’s empathy, and provoke a political response. Telling one’s story in the media is also a way to profit from the standard journalistic search for a case, and immigration...

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