Publication details

Visualizing the European migrant crisis on social media: the relation of crisis visualities to migrant visibility

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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords visuality; visibility; European migrant crisis; montage; Facebook; Czech Republic
Description The paper analyses popular geographical imageries of the European migrant crisis. It focuses on visualities that shaped discussions about the event among Czech Facebook users with anti-immigration attitudes. The paper elaborates on the co-production of migrants' visibility and visualities that depict them in certain ways. Visuality influences visibility and shapes what it means for people (who are represented by images) to be visible in certain ways when seen by another people (who observe and consume the images). Here, we analyse how cartographic visualizations and the practice of montage of images produce meanings and affects that make migrants either visible only as abusers of the Czech social welfare system (linking migrants in a racist way to the Roma minority) or visible only as dehumanized raging Muslim invaders that resemble more machine-like beings. These interpretations are explained with references to historical specificities of the Czech context. A user-made, film-like sci-fi video of the crisis is also analysed carefully to demonstrate its imaginary of a collapsing Western Europe, where raging invaders dominate. Presenting migrants' visuality as invaders links these racist and Islamophobic attitudes to migrants' visibility as enemies and targets to be killed, not pitiable human beings to be helped.
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