Good for Business: Portrayals of Businesses and Syrian Refugees in Canadian Media

Title: Good for Business: Portrayals of Businesses and Syrian Refugees in Canadian Media
Authors: GRUSZEWSKI, Anna
Date: 2020
Abstract: Though the Syrian refugee crisis drew attention from media outlets across the world, it caused a unique reaction in Canada. The release of the photo of Alan Kurdi in 2015 provoked a wave of sympathy across the country, ultimately resulting in the resettlement of thousands of Syrian refugees in Canada over the next four years. As soon as the resettlement of Syrian refugees was announced, businesses across Canada began to make their involvement in resettlement public, primarily positioning themselves as members of the community who only sought to do their part. Given the popularity of this type of media coverage, this study aims to determine how businesses and refugees were portrayed in these articles and if their depictions were consistent with previous research. Using ethnographic content analysis to find underlying patterns, a sample of eighty news articles were analyzed across a four-year period. Though the findings of this study reflect previous research on humanitarian depictions of refugees in Canadian media, they also reveal widespread depictions of Syrian refugees as net economic contributors, a characterization previously associated to immigrants in Canadian media. The association between refugees and economic prosperity was also actively promoted by businesses during this period, as well as other actors such as government representatives and NGOs. Though the association of refugees and economic benefits in this case may have been caused in part by the popularity of the Syrian refugee resettlement program in Canada, it may also represent the potential for a more positive representation of refugees in Canadian media. Keywords: refugee, business, entrepreneur, media, deservingness, humanitarian
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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