What is it about?
This study analyses the unique characteristics of Instagram to explore the representation of migrants during the 2018 #MigrantCaravan in two languages and considering the opinions of posters. It considers specific aspects of the platform such as the option to follow hashtags, the political significance of its user base, and the use of the wall as a symbol to construct migrants and migratory behaviours to support specific ideological and communicative aims. Although Instagram is considered a self-representation platform, the voice of the migrant is absent from the narrative.
Photo by Barbara Zandoval on Unsplash
Why is it important?
It is important because Instagram's user base (18-24 years old) is significant in electoral terms, as they are first and second-time voters who consume information through this platform and whose opinions and behaviours are affected by their views on issues such as immigration. Our findings suggest that the majority of representations show the migrant and the migratory experience as separate and different from that of the poster across opinions. In this case, images are used as tools to construct narratives beyond what is visually represented and in many cases opposing opinions use the same image to support conflicting accounts.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: #MigrantCaravan: The border wall and the establishment of otherness on Instagram, New Media & Society, December 2019, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1461444819894241.
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