The Long 2015 in Germany: Activists Pro Refugee Frames and Media Counter Frames

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In September 2015, Germany opened its doors to refugees arriving via the Balkan Route. The influx of refugees generated support and solidarity among individuals, civil society groups and political and cultural institutions and various social movements. In this article, I analyse the frames proffered by two pro-refugee groups based in Berlin and contrast them with the propagated media counter frames which ultimately dominated the public discourse. I demonstrate that despite an explicit intention and commitment to foster support for refugees, the pro-refugee groups’ choice of frames could have been more strategic if they would have not neglected media counter frames. I argue that although the literature’s focus on dynamics of movement and media frames has provided useful tools for analysing the relation between the two, engaging with media counter frames is as equally important, especially if we are concerned with questions around strategy and the outcomes of social mobilizations. Empirically, this article provides a unique insight into micro politics of pro-refugee mobilizations in Europe. Theoretically, it contributes to a better understanding of media and movement frames by emphasizing the significance of dynamic engagement with media counter frames for creation of progressive political alliances with the wider public.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-59
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Early online date13 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021