Heidrun Friese

Framing Mobility

Refugees and the Social Imagination

1Mapping the Field

Following the deaths of more than three hundred people close to the shores of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on October 3, 2013, increased media hype and global attention have sought to address mobility in the Mediterranean, and the highly controversial negotiation of hospitality therein. As a result, since then, the name ‘Lampedusa’ has become an empty signifier.12

Media images of overcrowded and flimsy vessels, shipwrecks and death, and catastrophe and tragic loss fuel the notion of a tragic border regime. At the same time, racialized images of ‘black masses’ evoke an ‘invasion,’ an uncontrollable ‘flood.’ Dramatic pictures of debilitated people ...

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