BEATING THE BORDER: PLAYING WITH MIGRANT EXPERIENCES AND BORDERVEILLANT SPECTATORSHIP IN CHANNEL 4’S SMUGGLED (2019)
Title of the publication: Creating Europe from the Margins: Mobilities and Racism in Postcolonial Europe
In the last decade themes of migration and border control have increasingly been incorporated in popular reality TV formats and franchises. Whether it concerns variations of existing genres, such as 90 Day Fiancé’s (2014) spin on the dating show genre, or widely distributed and glocalized formats, such as Border Wars (2010), reality TV has become an important site in which socio-political concerns relating to migration are tackled. Not surprisingly, because these issues are entangled with institutional dynamics of state power, such programs have the potential to reproduce state-sanctioned discourses on border enforcement and further cement exclusionary discourses on citizenship. This chapter tackles Channel 4’s two-part miniseries Smuggled (2019) to elaborate on the different dimensions of border securitization and migrant criminalization reality TV can reproduce. We argue that Smuggled makes for a particularly interesting case study since it gamifies migrant experiences through the lens of the border security apparatus. Within the challenge-type structure of the show different British citizens are asked to re-enact popular migrations routes to “test the UK’s borders”. In the process, the program paradoxically opens a space to discuss the harsh living conditions and perilous journeys migrants are made to undertake, only to accommodate such emphatic engagement within hegemonic state logics. Generic conventions and narrative formula of borderveillant media (Fojas 2021) here function to recalibrate the spectator’s understanding of migrant experiences and direct the gaze to align with that of UK’s border force.
MENA INDEPENDENT MEDIA: NEGOTIATING THE LOGICS OF MEDIA DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Title: The Handbook of Media and Culture in the Middle East
The political economy of post-2011 emerging independent media in the MENA region is intricately entangled with the growth in media development (or assistance) flows to the region following the Arab uprisings. This chapter will take stock of the growing literature examining these media development interventions and the complex relationships they have built with local media producers in the region. Building on recent fieldwork at the newsroom of Enab Baladi , a Syrian online publication operating from Istanbul, Turkey, it will illustrate how some of the underlying (political and institutional) logics built into such interventions are negotiated and understood from the perspective of their local interlocutors. Finally, it will also argue for the value of recentering the voices of these local media actors in current scholarship.