Post 7 — Mapping

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Words commonly used in conversations about asylum seekers
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Stakeholders map 2

Over the course of this subject, there has been a strong emphasis on the idea of collaboration and knowledge sharing, particularly during class tasks. This week, within our groups, we revisited the stakeholders mind maps created in week 2 and saw it extend into the different avenues that we have been researching individually. We used the week 2 mind map as a foundation to build on, addressing the primary actants who possess the power to mobilise change. These groups included Government, the media, asylum seekers, the Australian public and personal beliefs/values.

We built on these core stakeholders to establish human and non human secondary actors involved in this network but instead act as intermediaries, with a less direct impact. My input focused on the media and information that is/isn’t presented to the public as I have been interested in how attitudes are formed and/or changed.

media_linkThe media is one of the biggest mobilisers for change as they are at the core of this network, providing the public with information (who then vote in a political party who deliver policies to confront an issue). Mainstream media sources have been know to be dominated by media moguls, such as Rupert Murdoch, the late Kerry Packer and Kerry Stokes. However, independent youth media outlets such as Pedestrian and Junkee have seen an increase in popularity amongst Australia’s young adults. Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter also play a large role in granting exposure to these smaller news sources, as well as give an individual a platform for them to express their thoughts and opinions. We also looked at online anonymity as it is an interesting example of a non-humanistic actant that influences what a person might write.

Censorship is an conceptual actant that has a great potential to change attitudes and thus, how the issue is handled. As perspectives are formed by the information exposed to us combined with personal beliefs and values, censored information suppress a holistic context, preventing us from fully comprehend the issue, thus skewing our perspectives. Within this group we listed secondary actants, such as echo chambers, photography ban in detention centres, the ‘truth’, Border Force Act, violence, deaths and boat numbers. I found it interesting how different authorities censor information to sway attitudes in different directions. Recently, the Australian Government introduced the Border Force Act, which essentially prevents detention centre staff members from disclosing information about human rights abuses (Bradley, M., 2015) . However, in Sweden, many crimes committed by refugees, such as the stabbing of a 22 year old social worker at a refugee centre, have been concealed (Miller, M., 2016).

From these mind maps, I was also given an insight into the research of my peers. One of the group members had been looking into how Australia and their asylum seeker policies are perceived by other counties. The map illustrates how this issue extends into an international network of relations as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia affect combined efforts and the negotiations of ‘solutions’. International bodies, such as the United Nations are also stakeholders on an intermediary level; acting as an regulator of International Law. Australia has received criticisms from this organisation, as well as from other nations, however, this does not seem to to have a direct influence on the resolving the issue.

 

We also examined different polemics that have generated from this issue. We mapped the stakeholders involved in these conflicting perspectives and the emotions/attitudes they may have. Our first polemic example exists between the Australian Governments and refugee activists. These may include people such as the Malcom Turnbull, the LNP, Pauline Hanson, Julia Bishop, Peter Dutton and John Howard against human rights lawyers, academics, #LetThemStay protestors, the Greens, asylum seeker resource centres, Muslims, volunteers and resettled refugees.

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From identifying individual actors and conflicting perspectives in the polemic maps, it was reinforced that one single solution cannot satisfy the concerns of all the effected stakeholders. However, this task made me consider that perhaps instead of trying to find a ‘solution’, it would be more constructive to understand the emotions and attitudes that emanate from the polemics. These conceptual actants could potentially lead to some interesting metaphoric visualisations of emotive data.

 

Bradley, M, 2015. Border Force Act: why do we need these laws?. ABC, 16 July 2015.

Miller, M, 2016. Swedish asylum worker Alexandra Mezher stabbed to death at refugee centre. Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2016.