Representing Childhood and Forced Migration: Narratives of Borders and Belonging in European Screen Content for Children

  • Christine Singer King's College London
  • Jeanette Steemers King's College London
  • Naomi Sakr University of Westminster
Keywords: migration, children, Europe, film, television, media, broadcast, race, borders

Abstract

This article explores representations of childhood and forced migration within a selection of European screen content for and about children. Based on the findings of a research project that examined the intersections of children’s media, diversity, and forced migration in Europe (www.euroarabchildrensmedia.org), funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, the article highlights different ways in which ideas of borders and belonging are constructed and deconstructed in a selection of films and television programs that feature children with an immigration background. Drawing on ideas around the “politics of pity” (Boltanski; Chouliaraki), the analysis explores conditions under which narratives of otherness arise when it comes to representing forcibly displaced children within European-produced children’s screen media. It also examines screen media that destabilize borders of “us” and “the other” by emphasizing the agency of children from migration backgrounds and revealing both the similarities and the differences between European children with immigration backgrounds and White European-born children. It is argued here that these representations destabilize narratives of borders and otherness, suggesting that children with a family history of immigration “belong” to European societies in the same ways as White European-born children.

 

DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2019.0023

Author Biographies

Christine Singer, King's College London

Christine Singer is a Research Affiliate in the Department of Culture, Media, and Creative Industries (CMCI) at King’s College London. Her research centres on the intersections of childhood, screen media, race, and gender. She holds a Ph.D. from SOAS University of London, with her thesis, Transnational Narratives: Youth and Screen Media in Contemporary South Africa (2017), exploring childhood and youth in relation to film and television in post-apartheid South Africa.

Jeanette Steemers, King's College London

Jeanette Steemers is Professor of Culture, Media, and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She has published widely on European media industries and policy, including numerous articles and a book on preschool television. She is co-author of Screen Media for Arab and European Children (2019, with Naomi Sakr).

Naomi Sakr, University of Westminster

Naomi Sakr is Professor of Media Policy at the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), University of Westminster. She is the author of three books about Arab media, editor of two others, and co-editor of two, including Children’s TV and Digital Media in the Arab World (2017, with Jeanette Steemers).

Published
2020-02-12
How to Cite
Singer, C., Steemers, J., & Sakr, N. (2020). Representing Childhood and Forced Migration: Narratives of Borders and Belonging in European Screen Content for Children. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 11(2), 202-224. Retrieved from http://jeunesse-dev.uwlib.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/496
Section
Articles for Special Issue on Borders