Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Siapera, E;Boudourides, M;Lenis, S;Suiter, J
Social Media + Society
Refugees and Network Publics on Twitter: Networked Framing, Affect, and Capture
10 ()
Optional Fields
This article constitutes a big data study of Twitter during the peak of the so-called refugee crisis in the period between October 2015 and May 2016. The article analyzed almost 7.5 million tweets collected through hashtags such as #refugee, #refugeecrisis, #fluchtling, and others. Theoretically, the article draws on concepts such as hybrid media, affective publics, networked framing, and voice. In the context of any increasingly hybrid media, we ask what are the frames on refugees that emerge on Twitter, who are the emerging elites, and to what extent do these frames represent alternative voices. Overall, the findings indicate that overall, the dominant frames remain the same, revolving around security and safety on one hand and humanitarianism on the other. The study also identified some explicitly racist hashtags linked to some of the security and safety frames. Elite politicians, media, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) represent the most prominent actors. In general, the refugee issue on Twitter was found to be subsumed and instrumentalized by political interests. Affect and networked frames are captured by and within a specific political position that we found revolving around the personage of Donald Trump and the increasingly strident anti-immigration voices in Europe. In these terms, the results indicate that Twitter's contribution to the refugee debate is profoundly equivocal.
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