The Migration Crisis on a University Chancellor's Facebook Page

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Erzsebet BARAT, University of Szeged, Hungary
There is debate for and against the empowering effects of the social media either in terms of its liberating effects for the identity formation of the individual user or regarding its potentials for activism – yet little discussion of these dimensions as intersecting areas. My analysis may demonstrate the productivity of such an intersectional approach. The event I explore is the fall of the Chancellor in the wake of the media’s report of the outrageous photo uploaded on his Facebook page on September 15th, 2015. The photo represents a boat full of ’beautiful’ white young naked female bodies apparently having great fun with the caption: ’At long last normal migrants!” The page was noticed on September 24th by one media site only called oktatas.atlatszo.hu (education.transparent.hu), a watchdog NGO established in 2011 in response to the Government’s systematic take-over of the media. My analysis will partly discuss the intersection of sexism and xenophobia reiterated in/by the photo and show how it is embedded within the national order of predominantly hostile discourses to migration. I shall also try to explore the productive raptures that resulted in the resignation of the Chancellor on September 28th. As the official statement of the University Senate is still in the making, it will effect my analysis. Yet, the question I would like to address is still concerned with the factors leading to the fall of the Chancellor who tried to distance his ’self’ from the photo as hostile media act against him yet a day later made him ’offer his resignation’ to protect the University’s reputation. How does this case make us conceptualize identity as a discursive site of competing discourses, thereby going beyond the collective/individual binary?