HUMANITARIAN TARZANISM: THE DISCURSIVE TENSION BETWEEN INEQUALITY AND SOLIDARITY

Pierluigi Musarò

Abstract


Since the early 1990s, the relative stability that had characterized Europe’s post-war asylum regime has given way to radical and widespread restrictive policy change, provoking one of the worst contemporary “migration crisis”. Migration has been high on Europe’s agenda and a main cause of concern for European citizens, alarmed by the levels of “illegal” migration as well as by the humanitarian duty of safeguarding the rights of people who are attempting to cross the borders. Focusing on «humanitarian narratives» as a communicative structure that disseminates the moral imperative to act on vulnerable others through a wide repertoire of popular genres, this paper examines the mediated representations of distant human suffering as it is constructed in public communication within two institutional contexts of humanitarian aid organizations and border control agencies. Highlighting how the discourses typically associated with the humanitarian aid organizations are today gaining importance in the context of border control, the paper sheds light on how this discursive dislocation of humanitarian narratives takes place and what types of political and epistemological implications it has.

Keywords


Humanitarian Discourse, Border Control, Inequality, Solidarity, Communication.

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Registrazione presso il Tribunale di Napoli n. 37 del 05/07/2012