State-of-the-art report on public attitudes, political discourses and media coverage on the arrival of refugees

Consterdine, Erica (2018) State-of-the-art report on public attitudes, political discourses and media coverage on the arrival of refugees. Working Paper. CEASEVAL Research on the Common European Asylum System.

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Since 2015, migration towards and within Europe has created a ‘stress’ in the EU asylum and migration systems, challenging the adequacy of the legal design of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). In particular, the 2015 Refugee Crisis has raised major questions for what fair burden sharing, and harmonization means in practice and whether the current CEAS can cohesively deliver a harmonized asylum system. This report presents results from a systematic literature review on public attitudes, media discourse and political discourse towards asylum seekers and refugees, with a particular focus on discourse around and since the 2015 Refugee Crisis. Our state-of-the-art review finds that public attitudes towards immigration are differentiated by the type of migrant and that publics overestimate the amount of immigration that transpires in their country, leading to more restrictive preferences on immigration policy. A key component in shaping public attitudes to immigration is the mass media. Our review finds that that the dominant media portrayals and framing of immigrants as a security threat and/or a problem. In terms of the Refugee Crisis specifically, the evidence suggests that there has been temporal shifts in the framing of the Crisis as it has evolved, from an initial humanitarian and empathetic framing towards a hostile or suspicious framing. The Crisis unfolded in phases with triggering events across Europe, which are reflected in the media discourse and narrative. The evidence also demonstrates large regional and country variations in media coverage of the Crisis. Political discourse has mirrored media discourse of the Crisis, shifting from a humanitarian/moralistic frame in the early stages whilst gravitating towards a securitization or threat framing as the Crisis unfolded. However, our review found that the Crisis has been crafted according to national, not union, perspectives, and there have been wide cross-country variations as to how political discourse has responded to the crisis, with pre-conceived institutionalized national framings of asylum dominating.

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25 Oct 2019 13:30
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 04:24