Disaster depictions and geopolitical representations in Europe’s migration ‘Crisis’

Kara Dempsey, Sara McDowell

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This paper explores the geopolitical framing of migrants in Europe through an analysis of the discourse and imagery shared by both the mainstream and social media. Employing a critical discourse analysis of a corpus of material collated between January 2015 and December 2016, we suggest that migrants have been subject to three temporal representations that are linked to a European geopolitical vision of the world. While they were initially described as humans migrating into Europe, some parts of the media quickly equated the arrival of
migrants with natural disasters, and then, finally, as geopolitical threats to security. This intensification of representations of migrants as the ‘Other’ and eventually as non-human threatening entities, reveals European
geopolitical conceptualizations of belonging and sovereignty that are often at odds with the principles and values
to which the European Union subscribes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-160
Number of pages8
Early online date22 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 11 Feb 2019


  • Europe
  • Geopolitics
  • Media
  • Migration
  • Refugees
  • ’Crisis’


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