'Unwanted invaders': The representation of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and Australian print media

Samuel Parker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In recent months asylum seekers have once again become front page news in many British newspapers with headlines including: ?It?s good but I don?t like the food says asylum seeker: 130 migrants move into top hotel? (Daily Express, 25th September 2014). While this may reflect a broader increase in stories about immigration making headline news it is also reminiscent of press coverage of forced migrants at the start of the 21st century. This article explores the way in which asylum seekers and refugees have been discursively constructed by the print media in both the UK and Australia between 2001 and 2010. 40 articles were selected for analysis following a discursive psychological approach (Potter and Wetherell, 1987). It was found that the print media, in both the UK and Australia, draw on a number of interpretative repertoires when constructing accounts of refugees and asylum seekers. The principal repertoire found to be used was that of the ?unwanted invader?, which was achieved through the use of metaphors of criminals and water. However, this repertoire was found to be used differently in both media; in Australia the focus was on border protection and keeping ?these? people out of the country, whereas in the UK the repertoire was used predominantly to convince the reader that refugees and asylum seekers needed to be removed from the country. Consideration is also given to how these accounts changed over the period and what the implications may be now that the topic has once again returned to the front pages of our daily newspapers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Number of pages21
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - Apr 2015


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