Chapter 8 The Press outside the West

Displacement, Refugees, and Nonhuman Animals in Bulgaria and Lebanon

In: Like an Animal: Critical Animal Studies Approaches to Borders, Displacement, and Othering
Natalie Khazaal
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Natalie Khazaal describes the key role of speciesism in the production of anti-refugee prejudice and in opposing such prejudice. Since the beginning of the current global refugee crisis in 2011, the media in Europe and the US have amplified a discourse on refugees/(im)migrants as “animals” inspired by speciesism. Does the speciesist human-nonhuman divide similarly affect the media in countries outside the West that host refugees? Informed by Costello’s & Hodson’s interspecies model of prejudice, this chapter examines empirical evidence from news and op-eds in multiple Bulgarian, Arabic, and English-language newspapers from Bulgaria and Lebanon between 2013 and 2019 to answer two questions: (1) Do Bulgarian and Lebanese newspapers use animalization as a tool to produce prejudice against refugees/(im)migrants or as a tool to oppose such prejudice? (2) What are the vocabulary and imagery that make it possible for Bulgarian and Lebanese newspapers to talk about the human-nonhuman divide in this context? The chapter concludes that the analyzed sources use hunting rituals, disgust, and grandstanding to perpetuate the animalization of refugees/(im)migrants, while their attempts to ridicule and oppose animalization protect and reiterate the human-nonhuman divide. These insights matter because they display the global scale of animalization of refugees/(im)migrants, and help theorize how concepts like species and speciesism are essential to the practices of exclusion and differential inclusion that characterize the border politics of the nation-state.

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