On researching climates of hostility and weathering

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2019. On researching climates of hostility and weathering. In: Kevin Smets; Koen Leurs; Myria Georgiou; Saskia Witteborn and Radhika Gajjala, eds. The SAGE Handbook of Media and Migration. London: SAGE Publications, pp. 129-141. ISBN 9781526447210 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The focus of the chapter is on researching the intersecting effects of the mobility of contemporary borders, ‘hostile environment’ government immigration campaigns and longer histories of racism and xenophobia in the UK. Together these disparate forces are theorised as constituting and mediating a pervasive climate. Engaging with three literatures on: (1) weathering; (2) debility; and (3) social suffering, the chapter draws from original research studies on dying migrants and UK immigration information campaigns to show how climates of hostility and structural injustice can wear down and debilitate racially marked migrants. A critical, methodological question that is tackled is how researchers might become empirically receptive to the complex intertwining of experiences of the debilitations of weathering and social suffering that are overlooked in the media interest in migration as a series of short-term events. The author describes her use of scalar analysis that includes bringing together different genres and forms such as social theory and poetry, images, art and fiction to trace the impact of hostile climates and the slow moving violations of weathering. The chapter suggests that scalar analysis and the use of performance methods in migration research can help researchers to discern and trace the effects of migration and racialised hostility over time and serves to highlight discussions of what constitutes ‘proof’ in research and activism.

Item Type:

Book Section


Debility, Migration, Methods, Race, Ethnicity, Death and Dying, Disability, Racism, Performance Methods, Weathering.

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24 March 2018Accepted
October 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

06 Jun 2019 11:41

Last Modified:

31 Oct 2021 02:26



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