Everyday Encounters in a City of Compounded Crisis

By: Afroditi Koulaxi  

As significant numbers of migrants have now settled in European cities, there is a need to reflect on how Western subjects perceive “others” vis-à-vis their own identity. The paper explores how mediation of migration (different modes of communication, from face-to-face encounters in the city to the digital encounters on social media platforms) can also be considered as condition of identity formation, through its particular meanings that are always contextual. This comparative study explores everyday encounters with newcomers in a city of compounded crisis, and interrogates how locals react to and negotiate their mediated encounters (with newcomers) through their own experience. Aiming to examine how individuals construct meanings of identity, the paper offers an innovative approach by asking individuals to articulate their own understanding of identity through their experience of newcomers in their neighborhoods as well as by observing the complexities of everydayness in the city. It is timely, as it addresses identities in the city in crisis through the lens of mediation. It unpacks the reasons why Athens is a paradigmatic case study to consider taking into account the following: a) city of compounded crisis; b) strong contextual dimension c) intersectional identities; and, d) history of encounter and historicity of alterity in this context. This research demonstrates the importance of studying the role of mediation in accommodating and/or disrupting dominant/hegemonic identities in a crisis-ridden urban context.

Mediation, Encounters in the city, Identity, Crisis
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Afroditi Koulaxi

ESRC PhD Researcher, Media and Communications , LSE, United Kingdom
United Kingdom

I am a full ESRC DTP Researcher in the Media and Communications Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science, studying the mediation of migration. I hold an MSc in Media and Communications (Governance) from LSE and a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Kent, where I received the School's Colin Seymour-Ure Award for the best final year dissertation as well as the Undergraduate Scholarship for Academic Excellence for three consecutive years. I came to realise the power of the media in framing and defining the 'refugee crisis' when I interned in the International News division of Antenna Group in Greece. This work experience in line with my involvement in the LSE 'Migration and the Media' project inspired me to pursue an academic career and undertake a PhD.