The Visual Dehumanisation of Refugees

Bleiker, Roland, Campbell, David, Hutchison, Emma and Nicholson, Xzarina (2013) The Visual Dehumanisation of Refugees. Australian Journal of Political Science, 48 3: 398-416. doi:10.1080/10361146.2013.840769

Author Bleiker, Roland
Campbell, David
Hutchison, Emma
Nicholson, Xzarina
Title The Visual Dehumanisation of Refugees
Journal name Australian Journal of Political Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1036-1146
Publication date 2013-12-11
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10361146.2013.840769
Volume 48
Issue 3
Start page 398
End page 416
Total pages 20
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC Australia
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Dealing with refugees is one of the most contested political issues in Australia. We examine how media images of asylum seekers have framed ensuing debates during two crucial periods over the past decade. By conducting a content
analysis of newspaper front pages we demonstrate that asylum seekers have primarily been represented as medium or large groups and through a focus on boats. We argue that this visual framing, and in particular the relative absence
of images that depict individual asylum seekers with recognisable facial features, associates refugees not with a humanitarian challenge, but with threats to sovereignty and security. These dehumanising visual patterns reinforce a politics of fear that explains why refugees are publicly framed as people whose plight, dire as it is, nevertheless does not generate a compassionate political response.
Keyword Refugees
Asylum seekers
Asylum policy
Politics of Migration
Visual imagery
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 11 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 03 Jan 2014, 15:52:04 EST by Dr Emma Hutchison on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies