Abstract / Description of output
This paper analyzes descriptions of Ukrainian refugees in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Findings of previous research on news media descriptions of refugees point to problematic descriptions of refugees that downgrade their deservingness of refuge and treat refugee status as an inherent feature of fleeing individuals instead of as contingent on external circumstances. However, there is a widespread perception that Ukrainian refugees are being reported on in a more positive light. We therefore examine how news media describe these refugees. Our corpus includes English media news coverage from February 25, 2022, to March 25, 2022, the initial period of the invasion. A discursive psychological analysis of news interactions where hosts elicit information from correspondents about current ongoings with Ukrainian refugees shows that Ukrainian refugees are constructed as vulnerable, and their actions are treated as reasonable given the situation. These descriptions construct Ukrainian refugees as those who are only contingently refugees and legitimate help-giving by other parties. Our findings, therefore, highlight distinct, previously unanalyzed ways that refugees are constructed: contingent refugees. We discuss implications of our findings for understanding refugee inclusion and exclusion.
Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)
- contingent refugees
- discursive psychology
- good refugee
- Ukrainian refugees