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Constructing 'the Jungle': Distance framing in the Daily Mail

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The official narrative of the demolition and clearing in September 2009 of the camp, known informally as 'the Jungle', occupied by illegal immigrants in Calais sought to frame the issues from a perspective of police efficiency. The authorities both in the United Kingdom and France defended their actions as justified in tackling a persistent problem that could only be resolved through brutal force. The Jungle as a barbaric settlement amidst a civilized society juxtaposed the Other as uncouth and not belonging to the space of civility and thereby warranting immediate removal. The need to expel the Other and demolish the Jungle became a moral discourse of maintaining a civilized society amidst the illegal invasion of economic migrants. The discourse of the Jungle and the narration of the story through discourses of criminality sought to dehumanize the occupants of the shanty town, depicting their very existence as a transgression of legal boundaries. This article argues that this moral discourse becomes a tool to desensitize us to the human suffering associated with immigration. In the process the issue of immigration becomes a liminal space between rationality and atavism in developed societies.

Keywords: borders; discourse; distance framing; immigration; migrants; suffering

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Queen Mary, University of London

Publication date: December 20, 2011

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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