Solidarity, Social Media, and the “Refugee Crisis”: Engagement Beyond Affect

Aouragh, M. and Sajir, Z. 2019. Solidarity, Social Media, and the “Refugee Crisis”: Engagement Beyond Affect. International Journal of Communication. 13 (1932), p. 550–577.

TitleSolidarity, Social Media, and the “Refugee Crisis”: Engagement Beyond Affect
TypeJournal article
AuthorsAouragh, M. and Sajir, Z.
Abstract

The images of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old who drowned in the Aegean Sea in 2015, and Omran Daqneesh, a five-year-old covered in dust and blood waiting shell-shocked in the back of an ambulance in 2016, both symbolize the horror and suffering endured by civilians throughout the “refugee crisis” in Europe and the civil war in Syria. Yet, the circulation of these images mobilized different outcomes. Kurdi’s image engendered solidarity that was supported by action, whereas Daqneesh’s image did not result in the same effect. This article reflects on the potential for solidarity of images circulating on social media by placing them in relation to the context in which they are embedded. The results of our study show that although shocking images can awaken compassion toward the oppressed, they do not necessarily translate into movements of solidarity, but can rather degenerate into ineffective forms of pity.

Keywordsrefugees, crisis, mediation, activism, solidarity
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Journal citation13 (1932), p. 550–577
ISSN1932-8036
Year2019
PublisherUniversity of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Publisher's version
Web address (URL)https://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/9999
Publication dates
Published28 Mar 2019
LicenseCC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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