Securitization of migration in Europe and the role of the media

Tina Mavrikos-Adamou

RIC 310 Securitization of migration in Europe and the role of the media


About This Course

Course Description

The course will begin with an examination of security studies, initially associated with the “Copenhagen School” and the debates that this theory has since spurred. The core idea of securitization has been adapted, further developed, critiqued, and applied to the study of migration. This theory will be examined and critiqued as it applies to migratory movements
in Europe. The second part of the course will focus on media coverage of migration, including how asylum seekers and refugees are portrayed by various media outlets, and the affects of this on politics and public opinion in Europe. European media played a crucial role in framing the issue of migration as the “crisis for Europe,” particularly after 2015 when
close to a million asylum seekers entered EU territory, primarily through the south-eastern corridor. An examination of various media representations of migration will be utilized to explore how discourses of migration have been presented to the public, and the affects of this on national and EU policies.

Course Objectives

The main objectives of this course are:

  • to familiarize students with the field of security studies, beginning with an examination of the “Copenhagen School” and its critiques as this applies to migration studies
  • to apply theories to an examination of migratory movements into Europe
  • to understand how the media in Europe have portrayed migration, and the influence
    this has had on politics and public opinion

Learning Outcomes

Upon the successful completion of the course, students will:

  1. have honed their critical thinking skills through a critical analysis of readings and other electronic resources provided by the instructor
  2. have become familiar with the language and theories of securitization theory and its adaptations and critiques
  3. have understood how media shapes perceptions of migrants and migration
  4. have understood the various ways that the media has reported on migration in different countries in Europe, and the influence this has had on public opinion

Class/ Learning Activities

The course will consist of a series of lectures, class discussions based in the readings and other audiovisual materials provided by the instructor, and student presentations. Students will be required to write a comprehensive research paper on a topic related to the securitization of migration and the role of the media and present that to the class. Students will be guided in writing an annotated bibliography of the resources used to write their paper.


Type of work Description Hours
Lectures Thirteen 3-hours interactive lectures 39
Independent study Study of compulsory and optional literature 40-45
In Class presentation Presentation of articles read for the course 20-25
Research Applying securitization to a country case study 35-40
Written assignments

Essay (1000 words)

Research Paper (7,000 words)

Total workload 254-289


Type of assessment Learning outcome Impact on final grade Date of assessment
Participation in class discussions and attendance 1-2 20% Regularly
Group presentations based on articles assigned from the readings 1-2 20% 8th-12th week
Response essay (1000 words) on the nexus between critical theory and the securitization of migration in Europe 1-4 10% 5th week
Presentations based on research paper topic 1-2 20% 11th week
A comprehensive research paper 1-4 30% Last week of the course

  Reading List

  • Albahari, Maurizio (2015) Crimes of Peace: Mediterranean Migrations at the World’s Deadliest Border, University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia.
  • Bourbeau, Philippe (2011) The Securitization of Migration: A Study of Movement & Order,Routledge Press.
  • Carr, Matthew (2016) Fortress Europe: Dispatches From a Gated Continent, The New Press: New York.
  • Gerard, Alison (2015) The Securitization of Migration and Refugee Women, Routledge Press.
  • Lazaridis, Gabriella and Khursheed Wadia eds. (2015) The Securitization of Migration in the
    EU: Debates Since 9/11, Palgrave MacMillan, London.
  • Smets. Kevin, Koen Leurs, Myria Georgiou, Saskia Witteborn, Radhika Gajjala (2019) The
    Sage Handbook of Media and Migration, Sage Publications.
  • Walton-Roberts, Margaret and Jenna Hennebry, eds. (2014) Territoriality and Migration in
    the EU Neighbourhood: Spilling Over the Wall, Springer.
  • Zapata-Barrero and Evren Yalaz eds. (2018) Qualitative Research in European Migration
    Studies, IMISCOE Research Series, Springer.

Periodical Literature

  • Chouliaraki, Lilie, Georgiou, Myria and Zaborowski, Rafal (2017) “The European ‘Migration Crisis’ and the Media: A Cross-European Press Content Analysis.” The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. (pdf)
  • Dekker, Rianne and Godfried Engbersen (2012) “How Social Media Transform Migrant Networks and Facilitate Migration,” Working Papers, Paper 64, International Migration Institute, University of Oxford. (pdf)
  • Eberl, Jakob-Moritz, Christine E. Meltzer, Tobias Heidenreich, Beatrice Herrero, Nora Theorin, Fabienne Lind, Rosa Berganza, Hajo G. Boomgaarden, Christian Schemer & Jesper Strömbäck (2018) “The European Media Discourse on Immigration and its Effects: A Literature Review,” Annals of the International Communication Association, 42:3, 207-223. (pdf)
  • Heidenreich, Tobias, Jakob-Moritz Eberl, Fabienne Lind & Hajo Boomgaarden (2020) “Political Migration Discourses on Social Media: A Comparative Perspective on Visibility and Sentiment Across Political Facebook Accounts in Europe,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 46:7, pp. 1261-1280. (pdf)
  • Heidenreich, Tobias, Fabienne Lind, Jakob-Moritz Eberl, Hajo G Boomgaarden, “Media Framing Dynamics of the ‘European Refugee Crisis’: A Comparative Topic Modelling Approach,” Journal of Refugee Studies, Volume 32, Issue Special_Issue_1, December 2019, pp. 172–182 (pdf)
  • Jacomella, Gabriela (2010) “Media and migrations: Press narrative and country politics in three European countries,” Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford. (pdf)
  • Kosnick, Kira (2014) “Mediating Migration: New Roles for (Mass) Media,” InMedia: The French Journal of Media Studies, Media and Diversity. (pdf)
  • McAuliffe, Marie, Warren Weeks and Khalid Koser, (2017) “Media and migration: Comparative reporting on migrants and migration in selected countries,” in A Long Way to Go, Marie McAuliffe and Khalid Koser eds., ANU Press. (pdf)
  • McGregor, Elaine and Melissa Siegel (2013) “Social Media and Migration Research,” UNU- MERIT Working Papers, ISSN 1871-9872, Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, UNU-MERIT. (pdf)
    Triandafyllidou, Anna (2017) “Media Coverage on Migration: Promoting a Balanced Reporting”, in McAuliffe, M. and M. Klein Solomon (Conveners) Ideas to Inform International Cooperation on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, IOM: Geneva.


  • London School of Economics: Migration and the Media: communications/research/research-projects/migration-and-the-media
  • The Conversation: Migrants and the Media: What shapes the narratives on immigration in different countries:
  • Ethical Journalism Network: Migration and the Media:
  • European Journalism Observatory: How Do the European Media Cover Migration?
  • European Union Website on Migration, “Migration Coverage in Europe’s Media – A
  • Comparative Analysis of Coverage in 17 Countries,
  • The Migration Observatory, University of Oxford,
  • Euromed Migration, International Centre for Migration Policy Development:
  • Council of Europe, Media and Refugees,
  • UNHCR: Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis of Five European Countries,

Literature Review Helpful Sites:

  • USC Library Research Guides: “How to Write a Literature Review in the Social Sciences,”
  • Abdullah Ramdhani et. Al., (2014) “Writing a Literature Review Research Paper: A step-by-step approach,” pdf.
  • NYU, “Literature Reviews in the Social Sciences: Home” Florida State University Libraries, “Writing a Literature Review in Social Sciences,”