Refugees, migration, and propaganda

Gillian McFadyen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (SciVal)


Since 2015, the figure of the refugee has assumed a greater level of visibility in political life, with multiple crises emerging across all continents, be it the Rohingya or the Syrian Crisis, detention centres scandals of Libya or the Honduras 'Migrant' Caravans. Yet, through the rising visibility of the refugee, the propaganda emanating from media and governments has intensified, presenting the refugee, regardless of origin, as a threat unwelcome that needs to be contained, prevented and deported. This chapter is an examination of linguistic propaganda through the politics of labelling that the British government have employed to frame the European crisis as one of migration, rather than refuge. The emphasis is on the labelling and framing of the Syrian 'refugee crisis' within British news and government rhetoric since 2015. The chapter examines how language and labelling are effective techniques of power that help to control, develop and maintain narratives that have increased tensions and fear regarding the refugee 'other' that has successfully led to reduced state responsibility. Through linguistic propaganda, Britain has been able to strengthen its opposition to the Syrian refugee crisis, whilst simultaneously being perceived as a human rights champion.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Political Propaganda
EditorsGary D. Rawnsley, Yiben Ma, Kruakae Pothong
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781789906424
ISBN (Print)9781789906417
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2021


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