Müzeyyen PANDI
(Işık Üniversitesi, Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi, İnsan ve Toplum Bilimleri Bölümü, İstanbul, Türkiye)
Yıl: 2019Cilt: 21Sayı: 2ISSN: 1302-3284 / 1308-0911Sayfa Aralığı: 409 - 427İngilizce

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STEREOTYPING, VICTIMIZATION AND DEPOLITICIZATION IN THE REPRESENTATIONS OF SYRIAN REFUGEES
This paper studiesthe representational constructions of the image of Syrian refugeein newspaper photographs and discusses the processes in which the Syrian refugee isvictimized, stereotyped and depoliticized through representation. It analyses Syrian refugeephotographs published between 2011 and 2015 in five Turkish newspapers. Working withinvisual sociological and constructivist perspectives, and synthesizing content and visualanalyses, the study first dwells upon the universal “ideal victim” profile mentioned invictimology studies, then reveals that the image of Syrian refugee is predominantlyconstructed as “victim” in the analyzed newspaper photographs. The study elaborates thatrefugees’ victimhood is represented through different themes of suffering, which appeararound the themes of poverty, displacement, the need, and loss and pain. Then thevictimization of the refugee is problematized and discussed under two main arguments. Thefirst argument discusses that the prevalence of the victim discourse in Syrian refugeephotographs is achieved through the technique of stereotyping, which reproduces theuniversal image of the refugee as weak and vulnerable, regardless of time and context. Thesecond argument discusses that victimization works as a device for depoliticization, whichimagines the refugee only as weak and powerless rather than a subject with political agencywho produces action and results. The paper concludes that victimization and depoliticizationproduce a disparity between the lived experiences of the refugee (who has survived a war)and the representations of the refugee (who is a powerless war victim).
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