Abstract: In 2015, the plight of millions of people fleeing war and violence, primarily from Syria, but also from other countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq became front-page news across the world. According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, one million people attempted to reach Europe, primarily by crossing the Mediterranean, or via what has become known as the Balkan route. These routes are dangerous, and news media frequently reported on capsized boats, and in 2015, IOM[1] reported the deaths of more than 3,700 people in places that in this study are referred to as spaces of (forced) migration. These events largely took place in the public eye, in front of cameras belonging to photojournalists, and other camera-holders, leading to multiple photographs that could and was reproduced continuously in time and space beyond the events themselves. The fact that the events took place in Europe was like a contributing factor to this publicness. Unlike travelling to other continents for reporting, the proximity to many European newsrooms enabled journalists to travel to easily travel to these spaces of (forced) migration to report on the events than unfolded, which presented both opportunities and challenges and of course contributed to the number of reports in European news media.

In this study, drawing on Hannah Arendt, I develop a framework of appearance to investigate how European spaces of (forced) migration, including people moving within and across them, appear in photographs published in newspapers, and why they appear in this way. Through a content analysis of photographs of (forced) migration published in four Swedish newspapers, I find what appear, and in some instances, who appear, in specific photojournalistic events. I define photographs as shareable stories and vehicles power that travel through time and space in the form of an event of photojournalism and look to photojournalism practices to investigate the conditions for appearance. I demonstrate that photojournalists not only deal with emotions, technologies and place, but consider them an integral part of their practices. I consider the implications of photojournalists’ interventions into spaces of (forced) migration and find that photojournalism practice can offer a potential space for refugees and other (forced) migrants to appear as subjects of rights.

External reviewer (opponent): Tina Askanius, Malmö University