Social Death: The (White) Racial Framing of the Calais ‘Jungle’ and ‘Illegal’ Migrants in the British Tabloids and Right-Wing Press

  • Monish Bhatia
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


In the week commencing 24 October 2016, demolition of the Calais ‘jungle’ camp was officially initiated. The workers surrounded by the armed riot police tore down the wooden shacks using ‘sledgehammers and chainsaws’; bulldozers moved in later during the week, to fully clear out the ‘ramshackle shantytown’ (Mirror). The tabloid press in Britain pursued the subject intensely and obsessively. They reported ‘furious refugees’ protested against demolition (The Sun), set camp on fire (Telegraph) and ‘fought’ a ‘pitched battle’ with police—terming it ‘The Battle of Calais’ (Daily Mail). The ‘jungle’ camp was ‘finally destroyed’ (Daily Mail), which was portrayed as a victory over ‘invaders’, ‘illegals’, transgressors and security ‘threats’, who wanted to bring misery and instability to ‘soft touch’ Britain (The Sun; Daily Mail). Immediately after the demolition, the French prefect of Pas-de-Calais Fabienne Buccio released a statement outlining that it is a ‘mission accomplished’ and ‘there are no migrants in the camp’— news largely welcomed by the right-wing and tabloid press. However, this was neither the beginning nor the end.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monish Bhatia
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

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