Asylum Seekers/Refugees’ Orientations to Belonging, Identity & Integration into Britishness: Perceptions of the role of the mainstream and community press
This article considers asylum seekers/refugees’ perceptions of the negative asylum coverage that dominates mainstream press, as counter-posed to primarily positive representations in community newspapers. It explores how these perceptions, in different ways, contribute to asylum seekers/refugees’ fragility of national belonging, national identity and ability to integrate into the UK. The paper argues that while much of the coverage has questioned ethnic minority migrants’ ability to belong and integrate into an ‘imagined’ British national and cultural community, it incidentally strengthens asylum seekers/refugees’ transnational identities. The article suggests that in addition to a ‘policymaking/structuralist’ paradigm in understanding the ‘inclusion-exclusion’ that asylum seekers/refugees experience in the UK, the agency of news media as a powerful institution ought to be given due prominence. The article will add to calls for a victim centred approach to analysing forced migrants’ narratives that prioritises their views, while not precluding critical viewpoints.