The Thirteenth Immigrant? Exploring the Public Perception of Migration in the Czech Republic

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KROTKÝ Jan JAWORSKY Bernadette Nadya RÉTIOVÁ Alica

Rok publikování 2021
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Popis While there exists considerable research and theorizing on borders and borderlands, we believe increased attention to the conceptual tools of boundaries and boundary work will help elucidate the meaning-making processes related to migration. Individuals as well as social groups use available cultural repertoires of meanings to make sense of the world around them, and in particular to negotiate the distinction between “us” and “them,” drawing symbolic boundaries around different groups of people through boundary blurring, crossing, solidification or maintenance. In our research, we focus on the boundary solidification and maintenance occurring through securitization processes. Researching migration often means focusing on those on the move or on state decision-makers (securitizing actors). Our research shifts the focus to members of receiving societies (audiences), who also experience the phenomenon of migration, either through direct contact with migrants or through media technologies that nowadays play an important role in shaping public perceptions of migration. We situate our qualitative research in the Czech Republic, a populist country with rather low levels of migration but a high presence of the topic on the political agenda and extremely securitized public debates and anxieties, especially since the “refugee crisis” of 2015. To be specific, we conduct individual interviews in Brno, the country’s second largest city, investigating the ways in which people draw boundaries in relation to migrants through security speech acts. The aim of our paper is two-fold: first, to discuss the theoretical concept of boundaries and its linkage with securitization processes, and second, to present our preliminary findings. We demonstrate how securitization and its forms have become a mainstream frame for migration in the eyes of the audience and how securitization helps to maintain and solidify boundaries between “us” and “them.”
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