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Selling displaced people? A multi‐method study of the public communication strategies of international refugee organisations

David Ongenaert (UGent) and Stijn Joye (UGent)
(2019) DISASTERS. 43(3). p.478-508
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Abstract
Since 2011, the world has faced a major increase in forced displacement (UNHCR, 2017). As a growing number of states implement restrictive refugee policies, public communication has become essential for refugee organizations (Dijkzeul & Moke, 2005). Therefore, we have examined three international refugee organizations’ discursive strategies towards the Syrian crisis, and their production and social context. A critical discourse analysis of international press releases (N=122) and six semi-structured interviews with press and regional officers have shown that the observed organizations largely dehumanize displaced people and subordinate them to the ‘Western self’ and state interests. Displaced people hardly obtain their own voice. First, press releases’ medium characteristics and the importance of media attention result in a depersonalising humanitarian discourse. Second, we found indications of a post-humanitarian discourse reproducing the humanitarian sector’s ‘marketization’. Third, the examined organizations use the political realist cross-issue persuasion strategy, displaying displaced people as resettlement objects.
Keywords
Refugee organizations, Public communication, Displaced people, Critical discourse analysis, Discursive regimes, Cross-issue persuasion, In-depth interviews

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MLA
Ongenaert, David, and Stijn Joye. “Selling Displaced People? A Multi‐method Study of the Public Communication Strategies of International Refugee Organisations.” DISASTERS, vol. 43, no. 3, 2019, pp. 478–508.
APA
Ongenaert, D., & Joye, S. (2019). Selling displaced people? A multi‐method study of the public communication strategies of international refugee organisations. DISASTERS, 43(3), 478–508.
Chicago author-date
Ongenaert, David, and Stijn Joye. 2019. “Selling Displaced People? A Multi‐method Study of the Public Communication Strategies of International Refugee Organisations.” DISASTERS 43 (3): 478–508.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Ongenaert, David, and Stijn Joye. 2019. “Selling Displaced People? A Multi‐method Study of the Public Communication Strategies of International Refugee Organisations.” DISASTERS 43 (3): 478–508.
Vancouver
1.
Ongenaert D, Joye S. Selling displaced people? A multi‐method study of the public communication strategies of international refugee organisations. DISASTERS. 2019;43(3):478–508.
IEEE
[1]
D. Ongenaert and S. Joye, “Selling displaced people? A multi‐method study of the public communication strategies of international refugee organisations,” DISASTERS, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 478–508, 2019.
@article{8548118,
  abstract     = {Since 2011, the world has faced a major increase in forced displacement (UNHCR, 2017). As a growing number of states implement restrictive refugee policies, public communication has become essential for refugee organizations (Dijkzeul & Moke, 2005). Therefore, we have examined three international refugee organizations’ discursive strategies towards the Syrian crisis, and their production and social context. A critical discourse analysis of international press releases (N=122) and six semi-structured interviews with press and regional officers have shown that the observed organizations largely dehumanize displaced people and subordinate them to the ‘Western self’ and state interests. Displaced people hardly obtain their own voice. First, press releases’ medium characteristics and the importance of media attention result in a depersonalising humanitarian discourse. Second, we found indications of a post-humanitarian discourse reproducing the humanitarian sector’s ‘marketization’. Third, the examined organizations use the political realist cross-issue persuasion strategy, displaying displaced people as resettlement objects.},
  author       = {Ongenaert, David and Joye, Stijn},
  issn         = {0361-3666},
  journal      = {DISASTERS},
  keywords     = {Refugee organizations,Public communication,Displaced people,Critical discourse analysis,Discursive regimes,Cross-issue persuasion,In-depth interviews},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {478--508},
  title        = {Selling displaced people? A multi‐method study of the public communication strategies of international refugee organisations},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/disa.12353},
  volume       = {43},
  year         = {2019},
}

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