In the summer of 1999, several hundred undocumented Fujianese migrants arrived on Canada's west coast, precipitating what many in the news media described as an immigration and refugee "crisis". This study employs content and textual methods of news analysis and takes up the question of crisis, arguing that crises such as this are best seen not as the outcome of structural failures of the state but, rather, as socially constructed through narrative. Beginning with the understanding that news media operate as a claims-making forum for the social construction and contestation of reality, this study first sets out to examine the structures of news access that governed the general organization of the coverage, before moving, secondly, to a discussion of the thematic structure of the coverage. News coverage of these events precipitated a process of collective problematization, the result of which was that the migrants were portrayed as an embodiment of danger, a threat to the physical, moral and political security and well-being of the nation. We show how news coverage of these events touched on ideological problems specific to the late modern experience of the Canadian state, thereby resonating with the broader concerns of Canadians about, inter alia, the disintegration of the welfare state, the perceived threat to territorial sovereignty by unwanted outsiders and the fear that governments can no longer protect the security of their populations.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Canadian News Media, Discursive Drisis, Illegal Migrants, Problematization, Racialization
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616700120086413
Journal Journalism Studies
Citation
Greenberg, J, & Hier, S. (Sean). (2001). Crisis, Mobilization and Collective Problematization: "illegal" Chinese migrants and the Canadian news media. Journalism Studies, 2(4), 563–583. doi:10.1080/14616700120086413