Securitization and Refugee Resettlement Policy: Using Social Media to Understand Public Attitudes
Tessmer, Michael Lane
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This thesis answers the question of how public opinion toward refugees and asylum-seekers expressed in opinion polls compares with that expressed through commentary on news articles posted by Cable News Network (CNN) on social media. Using a study of 2,022 Facebook comments regarding the plight of Syrian child Omran Daqneesh during the 2016 United States presidential election campaign, it reveals competing narratives in favor of and against the opening of American borders to individuals escaping conflict in Syria. The analysis of textual data encompasses themes of securitization and cosmopolitanism, the results of which provide clarity and texture to complement existing opinion poll data. While such polls provide snapshots of public opinion, an analysis of social media commentary reveals more clearly what and how people were thinking about Syrian refugees fleeing conflict and entering the United States at a specific point in time. This study leads to a heightened understanding of the nuances contributing to public opinion of refugee policies and assesses social media's capacity to reveal complexities of citizens' thinking.
- Masters Theses