Research details

Local press, dispersal and community in the construction of asylum debates

Author[s] Finney, Nissa and Robinson, Vaughan

Date 2008



To explore local manifestations of the asylum debate with particular attention to the dynamics between the local press and constructions of community.


The paper analyses local press coverage of dispersal in two case study locations, Cardiff and Leeds. Local press coverage is taken from the period January 1999 to July 2001.

Key issues

The article shows how asylum is framed and constructed differently by the local press in different places with implications for reactions to asylum seekers and community cohesion. The relations between local press and community are explored as explanations for varying discourses. It is found that the way the local press represents and constructs local identity within local networks of power and information shapes the extent to which established discourses can be challenged. For Cardiff, the localising of asylum through the dispersal policy created an opportunity for local negotiation of difference in the context of the national moral panic on asylum.


The case studies offer very different examples, one that reinforces stereotypes and one that challenges them. The approach taken has implications for the success of dispersal policies and for community cohesion.

Further details

Resource type
journal article
Journal Social and Cultural Geography
9, 4: 397-413

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