Immigration as a risk factor to health: analysing Folha de S. Paulo’s representation of an African immigrant during the Ebola outbreak

Igor Sacramento, Izamara Bastos Machado

Resumo


This article analyses the construction of stereotypes about African immigrants in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo through its coverage of the Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2014. Special attention is given to the way the newspaper reported the suspected infection of the Guinean immigrant Soulyname Bah. It is observed that, through the logic of fear, there was a labeling process of opposition between “us” and “them”. Revulsion was promoted with regard to differences, via the re-signification of African ethnicity characteristics, which started to be seen as indicators of health risk factors. Within the risk society, media coverage of Ebola, as well as of other pandemics, reveals an important and paradoxical truth: we might be living in an era known as the apogee of human scientific advancements but this has not necessarily mitigated our fears and panics about potential dangers (Lerner & Sacramento, 2015). In this context, migration turns out to be a question of security related to a plurality of threats (terrorism, crime, disease, and unemployment, for instance). As we conclude in this article, the securitization of migration might be, therefore, described as a process that substitutes concerns about social and structural problems by institutional, technological and discursive practices that end up allowing the identification and the ascription of responsibility to specific groups.

Palavras-chave


Migration; risk; stereotype; Ebola; journalism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17231/comsoc.28(2015).2270

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.:: LASICS ::.
Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Sociedade (CECS)
Universidade do Minho, campus de Gualtar
4710-057 Braga - Portugal

Revista Comunicação e Sociedade
ISSN 2183-3575 (online)
ISSN 1645-2089 (print)
Prefixo DOI: 10.17231