28 Nov What’s Not in a Frame? Analysis of Media Representations of the Environmental Refugee
What’s Not in a Frame? Analysis of Media Representations of the Environmental Refugee
Exploring Silence and Absence in Discourse: Empirical Approaches
Springer International Publishing
The term ‘environmental refugees’ referring to people fleeing home and hearth due to climate change is a controversial construct. Academic and legal discourses ignore the existence of ‘environmental refugees’ and politicians from island nations that are at a risk of disappearing, resist the term ‘refugees’. Yet ‘environmental refugees’ is the name commonly used to refer to these people fleeing home ground due to the consequences of climate change. By examining how environmental refugees are framed in two British newspapers, The Guardian and The Times, over a 30-year period, it is possible to understand how the media’s representational practices project repeated absences that critically erase certain contemporary consequences of climate change; and, yet remain deliberately selective about the social construction of knowledge about climatic events and ensuing actions. This chapter proposes that one more way in which valid claims can be made about environmental refugees is to recognise patterns of absence(s) in the form of traces, masks and voids, following (Stibbe, Ecolinguistics: Language ecology and the stories we live by. London: Routledge, 2015). Media studies of framing have thus far suggested absence as only a by-product of the framing strategy itself. In this chapter, frames are examined alongside patterns of absence(s), to show how an issue is framed in a certain manner that is (dis)advantageous to certain groups. Without application of this approach, we are unwittingly participating in selectively making absent the evidence for the projection of the frame.
Venkataraman, N. (2018). What’s Not in a Frame? Analysis of Media Representations of the Environmental Refugee. In M. Schröter & C. Taylor (Eds.), Exploring Silence and Absence in Discourse: Empirical Approaches (pp. 241-279). Cham : Springer International Publishing.