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Spanish mass-media on Latin American migrants: between fear and pity

Ekaterina Y. Kosevich Candidate of Political Science National Research University «Higher School of Economics», Moscow, Russia,
mailto: ekaterina.kosevich@gmail.com
ORCID ID=0000-0002-8056-8426
Spanish mass-media on Latin American migrants: between fear and pity.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2019. Vol. 10. No. 4. P. 92-110

DOI: 10.19181/vis.2019.31.4.606

Дата поступления статьи: 09.07.2019
This Article is downloaded: 190 times
Topic: Ethnicity in a multicultural world

For citation:
Ekaterina Y. Kosevich. Spanish mass-media on Latin American migrants: between fear and pity. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2019. Vol. 10. No. 4. P. 92-110
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2019.31.4.606


Mass-media discourse is a “mirror” of sorts, which reflects general opinions and allows for understanding society’s mindset concerning migration issues. This article is devoted to analyzing the images created by Spanish mass-media regarding Latin American immigrants residing in Spain. Such a vision ultimately led to the emergence of an enduring perception of said immigrants by Spanish society from two main points of view – fear and pity. Columbians and Ecuadorians served as the prototypes for all Latin Americans who illegally entered Spain. The author reveals the reasons for the “divide” in Spanish mass-media’s perception of Columbia and Columbians, who became synonymous with danger, as well as Ecuador and Ecuadorian immigrants, who are primarily associated with compassion and pity. This article examines the main stages of Latin American migration to Spain at the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st century, which were primarily comprised in succession by immigrants from Columbia, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. The author characterizes the most numerous of Spain’s Latin American Diasporas. It is revealed that immigration is a collectively constructed social phenomenon. In turn the host society attributes certain characteristics to visitors (“others”) which they in fact do not possess. Such artificially assigned qualities are the result of a so-called “symbolic structure”, attributed to each “imaginary migrant”. Latin American migration to Spain is a result of a multitude of factors lying on various levels. However, it is very uncommon for the news to carefully examine the regional and global aspects of this process. This article reveals the specific image of Latin American migrants which developed in Spain towards the beginning of the 21st century. The author attempts to define the hidden ideology supporting the vast majority of those negative Latin American migrant stereotypes broadcast by national mass-media.


Latin American migration, Spain, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, media, public opinion, press


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