The 2012 killings of Chinese citizens in Rome and the ambivalence of Italian journalism

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Sredanovic discusses the killing of a father and daughter of Chinese origin in Rome in January 2012, and the portrayal of the case in Italian print journalism. He uses a qualitative analysis of a corpus of 193 articles from seven Italian newspapers with different political, market and geographic profiles. The frequency of generally negative and stereotypical portraits of migrants in crime news is well known; however, this specific case offers a number of less familiar insights. Sredanovic shows the multiple and changing frames and themes, both positive and negative, deployed to portray the event across the two-week period in which it was featured on the front pages of newspapers. He demonstrates in particular the ways in which stereotypes that are often used against migrants in crime news find place even in a case in which the migrants were the victims of the crime. He further illustrate how the representation of the perpetrators shifted from describing them as an exception (when it was thought they were autochthonous) to generalizing about their deviance when it was discovered that they were of Moroccan origin. Sredanovic locates this discussion in an anti-groupist theoretical frame, arguing that the stereotypes used cannot be adequately explained by majority-minority group interactions, and that the delimitation and definition of groups should be understood as ideological from the start. He also argues that aspects of the production routines of crime journalism can be added to the factors that explain the portrayal of the event. He concludes by arguing that Sinophobia is a form of prejudice that varies geographically and in time, and calling for non-reifying, practice-informed analyses that mix discriminating and non-discriminating discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-81
JournalPatterns of Prejudice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2016


  • Groupism
  • Journalism
  • Media
  • Migrants
  • Italy
  • Chinese
  • Crime journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Sinophobia
  • Stereotypes


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