Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Diversity and Social Conflict

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Social Sciences | Diversity and Social Conflict | Research Projects | Media, Migration and Politics: A Comparative Study of Media Representations of Immigrants in Australia and Germany

Media, Migration and Politics: A Comparative Study of Media Representations of Immigrants in Australia and Germany


UoM Logo.jpgBIM Logo.pngMedia, Migration and Politics: A Comparative Study of Media Representations of Immigrants in Australia and Germany is a research partnership between the University of Melbourne and the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) represented by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research (HU-BIM).

The project aims at analyzing migration to destination countries in the industrialized West, specifically Australia and Germany. The key focus of this project is to conduct a critical media analysis of immigrant representation, focusing on the Turkish, Arab and North African representations in the media using qualitative and quantitative content analysis and critical discourse analysis. Immigrant representations in the media have been subject to scholarly work in the past, however media representations of immigrants and refugees in a comparative perspective have been scarcely studied. Our research collaboration aims to fill this gap by providing a comparative study of media representations of immigrants in Australia and Germany.

Both Germany and Australia have faced an increase in the refugee applications as result of the devastation of a range of countries, including Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, as well as the Kurdish region. While many Germans and Australians welcomed refugees and volunteered in various aid programs, the fact that refugees can become part of the German and Australian societies has remained a controversial issue. While in media and public discourses refugees are depicted as people who are in need of German and Australian charity, they are also stigmatized as people who are violent and want to cheat generous welfare systems. This image of refugees as “others” deserving a handout but not as part of “us” has been in the national media repertoire for many decades. Against this backdrop, the research project formulates the following central questions:


  1. What are the differences and similarities of media representations of Turkish, Arab and North African immigrants in Australian and German media?

  2. What kind of socio-political and historical legacies (colonialism, political relations, refugee flows) affect these media representations?

  3. What kind of alternative forms of media and voices are there to provide fresh perspectives or fights against stigmatization in the media?


The project plans to bridge an informal divide between research and writing on media, migration and politics in Germany with parallel literatures in Australia as well as generate a multi-disciplinary dialogue on migration, media and politics, on the one hand, and racialized stereotypes and refugee representations on the other hand. It wants to question writings and comparative research on migration, media representation and racialization and gender issues in the media in settler nation-states (Australia) and classical nation-states (Germany) with high immigration and refugee flows. Eventually, it is aimed at contributing to capacity building in migration studies, which is an increasingly important field of research, by developing a joint PhD program between the BUA and the University of Melbourne.



The Melbourne/Berlin Research Partnership


Gruppenbild Mel Ber Reception.jpg

Recipients of Melbourne-Berlin Seed Funding, together with Professor James McCluskey (Deputy Vice-Chancellor/ Research) and Professor Justin Zobel (Pro Vice-Chancellor/ Graduate and International Research) at the University of Melbourne



Participants (Berlin University Alliance/ HU-BIM):

Prof. Dr. Gökce Yurdakul, Professor of Sociology, Head of Department of Social Sciences, Chair Diversity and Social Conflict, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Özgür Özvatan, Research Cluster Coordinator, Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research, Doctoral Candidate at the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Participants (University of Melbourne)

Prof. Dr. Karen Farquharson, Head of School of Social and Political Sciences and Professor of Sociology

Dr. Diana Johns, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Social and Political Sciences

Dr. David Nolan, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications, School of Culture and Communication