Resisting Stereotypes

By: Lydia Ouma Radoli  

As the influx of migrants from war-torn countries of Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. culminates into “a crisis”, migrants outside conflict categories bear hegemonic stereotypes reifying “otherness”. Pockets of Kenyans remain in Europe illegally, yet, many migrate as professionals, expatriates, students, or sports talents. In Europe, they are lumped together as “economic migrants” and viewed as threats to the economic well-being and detractors to the political climate. Such representations appear in European mainstream media and inhibit their integration in host societies. Yet, public discourse ignores their contribution in taxes and remittances. The influx of refugees from conflict zones has amplified stereotypes of migrants as “illegals, foreigners, and infringers”. However, diasporic media like Mkenya Ujerumani (Germany) and Ukentv (UK) in this study, (re)produce an alternative counter-hegemonic narrative of resistance and survival amidst stereotypes. The media creatively uses communicative technologies (ICTs) in its production to facilitate transnational ties. It offers cultural diffusion, co-dependence, and commodification of ideas. As social change agent’s, Kenyan migrants initiate economic activities in their homeland. They regard “return migration” and “brain gain” as an alternative to settling in Europe. I integrate qualitative textual analysis and postcolonial theory, to expose underlying concepts. In this paper, I highlight aspects of representations of migration and development in diasporic media and the negation of aid-centred development. Increasingly, diasporic media produce alternate viewpoints for Africa’s economic independence. Postcolonialism examines alternative perspectives on social, economic, and political affairs. Hence, theoretic concepts and findings in this paper address the question of “Strangers in Homelands”.

Migration crisis, Diasporic media, Representations, Kenyan migrants
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Lydia Ouma Radoli

International Researcher, Business, Law and Social Sciences, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus-Senftenberg

My academic specific areas of focus are in Communication Sociology, Human Rights Practice, African Diasporas and recently, Media, Migration, and Development. The focus areas fit within Social Science Research. I am also a trained and practicing journalist, currently completing my Ph.D. Studies in Germany. I have worked as a senior Broadcast Journalist and Producer in East Africa, specifically, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. I remain an active contributor to the Kenyan Diaspora affairs as a registered member of the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA). Here in Germany, I write for Mkenya Ujerumani - a Diasporic Media outlet for Kenyans. Essentially, my stories focus on the role of the Diaspora communities as change agents, their social struggles, experiences in the host societies, reproduction of cultures and linkages with home states. My Ph.D. thesis is themed on: “The Analysis of Migration and Development Discourse in Transnational Digital Migrant Media“: Case Study of Kenyan Migration to Europe. Presently, I am working on the finer details of my Ph.D. thesis. I target to defend my Ph.D. thesis in January 2019. After the doctoral studies, I intend to work in the University and contribute to media and as well as sociological research in public and private sectors. Part of my interest also lies in the production of media programmes for radio and television that address social issues in my country. In 2018, I established Diaspora Radio, an online platform producing narratives of African Migrants giving alternative perspectives.