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Type: Journal article
Title: Emotion and secrecy in Australian asylum-seeker comics: The politics of visual style
Author: Humphrey, A.
Citation: International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2018; 21(5):457-485
Publisher: Sage
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 1367-8779
Statement of
Aaron Humphrey
Abstract: This article examines two online comics about Australia’s policies of detaining asylum seekers, one created by the Australian government’s Customs and Border Protection Service (CBPS), and one published by the experimental journalism site The Global Mail. Through an analysis of the way online readers responded to these comics, this article shows how digital comics use visual style to imply particular kinds of relationships between their authors and their audience, while generating audience engagement through abstracted emotions and narrative gaps. These features have political dimensions, as in the CBPS’s comic, which elides crucial details about the government’s policies while suggesting (but never directly stating) its disregard for the human rights of asylum seekers, while The Global Mail’s comic uses a hand-drawn visual style to generate reader sympathy for the detainees and opposition to the government’s policies. Both comics use visual language to obfuscate key elements about the sources of their messages while also obscuring the voices of the refugees that their images represent.
Keywords: asylum seekers; comics; detention centres; visual narratives; refugees; graphic novels
Rights: © The Author(s) 2017
RMID: 0030069986
DOI: 10.1177/1367877917702447
Appears in Collections:Media Studies publications

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