Re-Orienting Refugee Representation? A Multimodal Analysis of Syrian Refugee Representation on the Social Media Platform "Humans of New York"

  • Nicole Cathleen Aarssen Ryerson University

Abstract

This paper examines a selection of photo-narratives from the social media account Humans of New York, which documented the experiences of Syrian refugees in the fall of 2015. It questions how an alternative media platform may challenge or reinforce traditional tropes utilized by mainstream media to represent a marginalized group such as Syrian refugees. To engage in the analysis, codes were developed from the literature review on Orientalism, neo-Orientalism, media representations of Islam and of refugees, as well as from theories of visual social semiotics and narrative analysis. The results suggest that while alternative platforms may challenge aspects of the Orientalist discourse, this discourse is also seen to adapt and persist through more subtle manifestations. The HONY audience is more likely to affirm representations that fit within the neo-liberal notion of who is an acceptable and “worthy†refugee.

Published
2017-09-02
How to Cite
Aarssen, N. (2017). Re-Orienting Refugee Representation? A Multimodal Analysis of Syrian Refugee Representation on the Social Media Platform "Humans of New York". Stream: Interdisciplinary Journal of Communication, 9(2), 1-14. Retrieved from https://journals.sfu.ca/stream/index.php/stream/article/view/229
Section
Research in Brief (Peer-Reviewed)