Session A – Migrant Media Representations: Past and Present (Council Room)

Alina Rzepnikowska  (University of Manchester)

Media representations of Polish migrants in Spain and in Britain: a comparative approach 

In the time of global economic recession, it is important to ask a question of how can migrant communities and ‘host’ societies cope successfully with the challenges involved in living together? Firstly, this question will be approached by exploring the differences in the media representations of Polish migrants in Britain and Spain. Secondly, the findings from the narrative interviews with Polish migrant women will shed light on how these representations affect their everyday coexistence with the local population in Manchester and Barcelona. While the rise of migration from Central and Eastern Europe after the European Union enlargement in 2004 has attracted a controversial attention of the media in Britain, the discourse regarding this group has been somewhat different in Spain. Even though in Britain the public debates have rapidly turned hostile in the times of recession, often representing Polish migrants as ‘taking jobs from British workers’, putting a strain on the health and education system and not wanting to ‘integrate’; in Spain, which has been severely affected by the economic crisis and has experienced transformation of migration flows, the media has reflected the government’s preferential treatment of these migrants over the ‘other’ migrants from non-EU countries. This comparative approach not only allows a thorough analysis of the similarities and differences in media representations of Polish migrants but also demonstrates how these representations affect everyday convivial experiences of these migrants.

Danilo Marcondes de Souza Neto (University of Cambridge)

Representations in the Brazilian media of contemporary Haitian migration (2010-2012) 

A flow of Haitian migration to Brazil started in 2010, after the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation, and has had an impact on contemporary Brazil-Haiti relations, leading to a debate on visa and entry restriction policies by the Brazilian government. The recent flow has challenged foreign policy efforts of promoting ties between the two countries that had initiated when Brazil accepted the military leadership of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in 2004. Brazil’s apparent success story in relation to the 2008 economic crisis has attracted Haitian migrants, arriving by way of Peru and Ecuador, and who have settled initially in the Amazon region waiting to get to the centers of economic activity in the Southern part of Brazil. With the above mentioned considerations in mind, the purpose of this paper is to address the contemporary representation in the Brazilian printed and virtual media of Haitian migrants who have been arriving in the country in the period 2010-2012. The paper will look at the representation of Haitian migration in three of the most-widely read Brazilian newspapers ( Folha de São Paulo, Estado de São Paulo and O Globo) looking at both how the stories are presented and the comments made by the readers. In addition, the paper will also try to illustrate in which way the contemporary flow of Haitians is being compared to the recent trend of European migration to Brazil and the migration of Bolivian nationals, also due to economic reasons.