Aesthetics of Otherness: Representation of #migrantcaravan and #caravanamigrante on Instagram (ICA 2021)
This paper examines the representation of the migrant caravan on Instagram through the articulation of an aesthetics of otherness. Aesthetics of otherness is a process resultant of the interaction between Instagram users’ choices and the platform’s features that establishes a distance from the migrants embedded in the design of the Instagram posts. Based on a qualitative content analysis of posts with the hashtags #caravanamigrante and #migrantcaravan, this research reveals that these hashtags form parallel, although not alike, communicative spaces where migrant caravan representation is mostly mediated by professionals and organizations interested in promoting their work and not by the migrants themselves. Despite this trend, users posting with #caravanamigrante were less likely to hijack the intent of the public, more likely to reference reasons for migration, and overall less likely to employ the aesthetics of otherness, which point to the possibility of circumventing the role of the platform in shaping the representation of the movement.
Co-author: Arthur Soto-Vásquez
Read more: ICA 2021 (forthcoming)