The European Refugee Crisis Discourse in the Spanish Press: Mapping Humanization and Dehumanization Frames Through Metaphors

Marta Montagut, Carlota M. Moragas-Fernández


The European refugee crisis has a central role in media and political narratives about migration these days. By applying critical metaphor analysis, this article explores how the Spanish press framed the crisis using metaphors in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The evolution of the different ways of conceptualizing migrants and European policies shows two metaphorical frames: the dehumanization frame, where refugees are a natural disaster/mass water or objects/goods, and the humanization frame, where migrants are positively framed as travelers, but also negatively, as troublemakers. Spain as a political actor has no agency till 2016 and 2017, when it is portrayed under the living thing source domain, mainly in a negative way. It is concluded the way in which the refugee crisis is framed is in line either with EU relocation or resettlement policies and points out the connection between language and policy.


refugee crisis, metaphorical framing, critical metaphor analysis, Europe, Spain, Spanish media, migration

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