A rather wild imagination : who is and who is not a migrant in the Czech media and society?

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BARTOSZEWICZ Monika Gabriela EIBL Otto

Rok publikování 2022
Druh Článek v odborném periodiku
Časopis / Zdroj Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

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Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41599-022-01240-2
Klíčová slova migration; media; Czech Republic
Přiložené soubory
Popis This paper focuses on migrants and migration in the context of the Czech Republic, an ethnically and nationally homogeneous country without significant migration experience. Despite this fact, the issue of migration became very prominent in 2015 and has been an integral part of Czech political and public discourse since then. Although the topic has attracted scholarly interest, but the reflection on migrant images held by citizens has been omitted. To fill this gap, first, we conducted a quantitative computer-assisted content analysis of the main Czech media (2015–2018) to investigate how important the issue of migration was and in what context migrants and migration were discussed in the media. We then conducted a series of focus groups with Czech citizens to answer not only how they perceived migrants and migration in general, but also how they perceived the (quality of) media coverage of this issue. The findings offer insight into patterns of media consumption: Our respondents were well aware that media representation of the topic is exaggerated and does not include all possible points of view. The prevailing perception was that the mostly negative media representation was fixated on the image of a migrant coming from the Middle East, most likely to be a terrorist who is not going to adapt to a “normal” life in the Czech Republic. Indeed, the very term migrant is mainly associated with someone who, according to the mental projections of the respondents, is “different” at first sight, fails to fit in and integrate into the majority society, does not look for work thus becoming dependent on the social system of the host country. In other words, for Czechs, people who come to settle and work are excluded from the socially constructed category of migrants.
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