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The 2015 refugee crisis, uncertainty and the media: Representations of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in Austrian and French media

  • Anita Gottlob and Hajo Boomgaarden
From the journal Communications


Media coverage of migration and migrants can exert considerable influence on the public’s understanding of and attitudes towards migration. During the peak of what has been called ‘the refugee crisis’ in 2015, heated discussions about immigration and its possible impact filled the media landscape. This study focuses specifically on the news framing of insecurities regarding immigration, exploring what we have termed ‘uncertainty frames’ in the coverage of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. This study will thus lend empirical support to a novel attempt to combine the concepts of uncertainty, risk, and framing. These frames were analyzed within French and Austrian media from 2015 to 2016. Drawing on a content analysis of tabloid and broadsheet articles, different types of uncertainty frames (economy, values, society, etc.) as well as different types of solution frames (the kind of solutions provided for the issue of immigration) were examined. Results suggest that even though all frames decrease in salience over time, important variations in different types of uncertainty frames do appear. It is argued that frames related to abstract issues seem to stay more salient throughout time in both countries.


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Published Online: 2019-12-18
Published in Print: 2020-11-18

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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