How postcolonial innocence and white amnesia shape our understanding of global conflicts
in How media and conflicts make migrants
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The chapter explores how historical amnesia around the legacies of colonialism lead Western nations to disavow responsibility for the causes of global conflicts and the conditions of inequality which cause people to flee their countries. Based on a content analysis of newspapers in the UK and Italy, the chapter examines how this amnesia shapes attitudes to global conflicts and their presentation as depoliticised and de-contextualised. Conflicts are often simplified as actions and decisions of ‘great men’ or to single military operations in the field, with the role of local residents reduced to witnesses. The chapter then examines how this amnesia constructs the role of Western nations as either benevolent providers of aid, or as under siege from people crossing their borders in search of protection. Drawing on interviews with refugees in the UK and Italy, the chapter ends by exploring how postcolonial amnesia can be challenged.

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