A possie in Aussie

October 24, 2009

Win the asylum seeeker war of words Part 4: turn off the tap

Filed under: asylum,asylum seeker,boat people,refugee — Nayano @ 10:04 am
Tags: , , , ,

What is the most pervasive metaphor we use about any migration, but especially about forced migration?

David Turton, in a lecture to the Oxford Refugee Studies centre, identified it as a ‘substance’ metaphor. The substance is water.

Flows, streams, trickles, floods, sluice gates, inundations, dams.

It sounds like a natural event, something that is not man-made, but somehow inevitable, that we must be on guard about.

And it turns migrants into an undifferentiated mass. Of molecules of liquid that need processing.

Studies of Australian media during the asylum seeker panic of early this century showed that while ‘asylum seekers’ were referred to as ‘illegal’s’ ‘floods’ and ‘criminals’, whenever there was a story about individual asylum seekers or TPV holders, or even of a particular identified group, stories became sympathetic.

Don’t mention the flood!


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