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Countering the Politics of Fear - Reframing Threat Narratives about Refugees in Hungary

Citation: Demjén, Judit Eszter (2021) Countering the Politics of Fear - Reframing Threat Narratives about Refugees in Hungary. [Discussion or working paper]

RLI WPS No. 58.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

This paper applies the Discourse Historical Approach to examine how a text published by a Hungarian human rights NGO constructs an alternative discourse to the ‘Othering’ right-wing populist discourse on refugees, which capitalises on the threat narratives of the securitisation of migration. The research draws on literature about right-wing populism, the securitisation of migration – including the ‘war on terrorism’ – the impact of securitisation policies and right-wing populist rhetoric on stoking fears among the public, as well as the concepts and assumptions underlying human rights advocacy in challenging the status quo. Furthermore, Viktor Orbán’s anti-migration campaigns in relation to the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’ are outlined, along with the repercussions this has had on refugee protection, civil society, and public attitudes towards refugees and immigrants in Hungary. The analysis shows that three building blocks carry the articulation of the NGO’s alternative discourse and then explores what can be learned from these. The NGO’s discourse is arguably constructed differently to how human rights advocates ‘traditionally’ frame refugee rights and counter threat narratives, therefore, it may provide tools to initiate a more constructive public dialogue on the topic of perceived threats associated with refugees.

Creators: Demjén, Judit Eszter and
Subjects: Human Rights & Development Studies
Sociology & Anthropology
Keywords: Hungary, Refugees, Securitisation of migration, Right-wing populism, Discourse Historical Approach
Divisions: Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Collections: Refugee Law Initiative
  • 9 June 2021 (published)


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