Citation

Aesthetics of Otherness: Representation of #migrantcaravan and #caravanamigrante on Instagram

Author:
Rosa, Fernanda; Soto-Vásquez, Arthur
Publication:
Social Media + Society
Year:
2022

This article examines the representation of the migrant caravan on Instagram showing how an aesthetics of otherness has prevailed in this representation. Aesthetics of otherness is the result of the interaction between platform users’ selections and platform affordances that creates a gap between the marginalized other and the user. Based on a qualitative content analysis of posts with the hashtags #caravanamigrante and #migrantcaravan, this research reveals that the two hashtags form parallel, although not alike, communicative spaces where migrant caravan representation is mostly mediated by professionals and organizations interested in promoting their own work and not by the migrants themselves. Despite this trend, users posting with #caravanamigrante were less likely to hijack the intent of the public, more likely to reference reasons for migration, and overall less likely to employ the aesthetics of otherness, which point to the possibility of circumventing the role of the platform in shaping the representation of marginalized people and social justice movements.