Refugees as People: The Portrayal of Refugees in American Human Interest Stories

Citation data:

Journal of Refugee Studies, ISSN: 0951-6328, Vol: 23, Issue: 2, Page: 219-237

Publication Year:
2010
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Repository URL:
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/commstudiespapers/28
DOI:
10.1093/jrs/feq019
Author(s):
Steimel, Sarah J.
Publisher(s):
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Tags:
Social Sciences; refugees; discourse analysis; America; Broadcast and Video Studies; Communication; Critical and Cultural Studies; Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication; Journalism Studies; Mass Communication; Organizational Communication
article description
This study combines discourse analysis and narrative analysis (Yin 2007) to examine top US newspapers' coverage of refugees in American human interest stories. I find that the refugees are presented (a) as prior victims; (b) as in search of the American Dream; and (c) as unable to achieve the American Dream. As human-interest features, the stories provide a largely positive portrayal of individual refugees and their families. However, the human interest stories also depict refugees as current victims of the American economic crisis; deeply frustrated by their inability to achieve the American Dream. Together these discourses represent a narrative of escape, hope, and then harsh reality for refugees in America's current economic climate. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org.