Migration and Divisions: Thoughts on (Anti-) Narrativity in Visual Representations of Mobile People


  • Chris Gilligan University of the West of Scotland
  • Carol Marley Aston University




migration, visual representation, "them" and "us", mobility, narrativity, visual analysis, conceptualisation, Longacre, Kress & van Leeuwen, open borders


This article developed as part of a dialogue between the two authors. The dialogue was sparked off by MARLEY's response to a seminar presentation by GILLIGAN. In keeping with its origins we have retained the dialogue format. The article focuses on two sets of images—one a still image taken by a photojournalist, the other a sequence of stills taken by one of the authors. The authors use these images to explore the question "what imbues an image with narrative content?" and to explore the possibilities for developing a positive visual representation which promotes the idea of open borders. The article draws on linguistic theory to explore the grammar of visual narrative and relates this to the issue of the visual representation of immigration in contemporary Europe. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1002326


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Author Biographies

Chris Gilligan, University of the West of Scotland

Chris GILLIGAN is a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Politics and Sociology at the University of the West of Scotland. He is Reviews Editor for the journal Ethnopolitics. His current research focus is on the intersection between migration, ethnic and racial studies and peace and conflict studies. He has edited (or co-edited) three collections on the Northern Ireland peace process and his work has been published in internationally recognized journals, including: Nations and Nationalism, Journal of Peace Research, and Policy and Politics.

Carol Marley, Aston University

Carol MARLEY is a Lecturer in English Language in the School of Languages & Social Sciences at Aston University. She is currently working on the analysis of visual narratives, in both still and filmic formats; and on the construction of identity in writing. Her previous work on identity construction, and also on conversationalisation, metaphor, and intertextuality has been published in internationally recognised journals, including Journal of Pragmatics, Text & Talk and Discourse Studies.




How to Cite

Gilligan, C., & Marley, C. (2010). Migration and Divisions: Thoughts on (Anti-) Narrativity in Visual Representations of Mobile People. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-11.2.1476