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The end of ‘Welcome Culture’? How the Cologne assaults reframed Germany’s immigration discourse

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journal contribution
posted on 26.08.2021, 12:16 by Iris WiggerIris Wigger, Alexander Yendell, David Herbert
Controversy over immigration and integration intensified in German news media following Chancellor Merkel’s response to the refugee crisis of 2015. Using multidimensional scaling of word associations in reporting across four national news publications in conjunction with key event, moral panic and framing theories, we argue that reporting of events at Cologne station on New Year’s Eve 2015–2016 reframed debate away from terror-related concerns and towards anxieties about the sexual predation of dark-skinned males, thus racializing immigration coverage and resonating with a long history of Orientalist stereotyping. We further identify an increased clustering of ‘race’, gender, religion, crowd-threat and national belonging terms in reporting on sexual harassment incidents following Cologne, suggesting an increased criminalization of immigration discourse. The article provides new empirically based insights into the dynamics of news media reporting on migrants in Germany and contributes to scholarly debates on media framing of migrants, sexuality and crime.

Funding

British Academy and Leverhulme Trust funded this research in the Small Research Grants Scheme [Grant SG160101]

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy

Published in

European Journal of Communication

Volume

37

Issue

1

Pages

21-47

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Sage under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Acceptance date

26/03/2021

Publication date

2021-06-16

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

0267-3231

eISSN

1460-3705

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Iris Wigger. Deposit date: 26 August 2021