The processes of migrantification
How displaced people are made into ‘migrants’
in How media and conflicts make migrants
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In this chapter, the concept of ‘migrantification’ is developed; it refers to a process whereby public institutions, the media and members of society position people so that they are constructed as migrants. These processes construct the identity of ‘migrant’ as the pre-eminent aspect of any individual, flattening out other aspects of their personality and experience. The chapter explores this through interviews and workshops with refugees and asylum seekers in Birmingham, London and Nottingham in the UK, and in Pisa and Bologna in Italy. Inspired by Frigga Haug’s methodology of ‘critical memory work’, participants are asked to consider how they have been constructed as migrants. The chapter explores everyday experiences of discrimination, stigmatisation and isolation that are intrinsic to the asylum system and more generally the ‘hostile environment’. It also examines the contradictory pressures experienced by migrants: they are expected to integrate and, it is assumed, are not trying hard enough; however they are also continually reminded that their status is precarious and are discouraged from creating a sense of community.

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