Sociology Seminar - 11th October, 12-1 (CBC0.015)

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Sociology Seminar - 11th October, 12-1 (CBC0.015)

Postby M.A. Featherstone » Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:36 pm

Sociology Seminar:

Siobhan Holohan (Senior Lecturer, Sociology) will be presenting a paper on her recent research next Tuesday. This is the first talk in our Sociology seminar series for 2016-2017, so please feel free to attend.

The Seminar will run from 12-1 in CBC0.015

Siobhan's title and abstract are below.



"The Swarm on our Streets": Neo-colonial discourses of otherness in the ‘refugee crisis’

This paper begins by exploring dominant media discourses surrounding human rights campaigns, focusing on the ‘refugee crisis’ in the summer of 2015. Taking as its starting point Hannah Arendt’s (1943) observations on the public/political response to the mass exile of Jews during World War Two, We Refugees, I want to argue that the mediatized reaction to those escaping conflict followed similar ideological patterns – fear, suspicion, antipathy. However, in this paper I also want to examine the role that human rights campaigners had to play in this construction, or indeed re-construction, of refugees as worthy of help. In other words, on what terms are migrants or refugees deemed acceptable and to what extent do those that seek to support them adopt what we might argue is a discourse of otherness?

There already exists a complex and sometimes fraught relationship between social campaigners and the media forums that they rely on to disperse their message, not least due to the rise in digital mediums that both bypass and intersect with traditional forms of media. However, at the same time as media platforms have become progressively more intertwined, ideologically complex, and perhaps as a result more responsive to shifting narratives and the changing public mood about the other, I argue that the message proffered by human rights campaigners becomes increasingly devoid of the ‘counter’ aspect of the counter-narrative. In response to this reading of the refugee crisis, I will offer the conclusion that while relationships between the various actors with a stake in the construction and counter-construction of the refugee discourse have become increasingly complex and dynamic, the discourse surrounding the event remains remarkably stable.
M.A. Featherstone
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