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This paper examines the representation of refugees in the media, paying special regard to the visual image. It begins by considering some contemporary images of refugees in the press and looks for patterns and common elements in their construction and usage. It then identifies some historical archetypes that are used to portray the subject of forced migration and initially suggests that many ‘standard’ images of refugees conform to patterns already established in Christian iconography. It suggests that viewers find accord with such images and that they may evoke a familiar story-line. The paper then considers the ways that the refugee story has been structured in fiction film and the news media. The paper concludes with the identification of key topics for future research into media images of refugees.

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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