White Danish Love as Affective Intervention: Studying Media Representations of Family Reunification Involving Children
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSmedegaard Nielsen, A., Myong, L. (2019) White Danish Love as Affective Intervention: Studying Media Representations of Family Reunification Involving Children. Nordic Journal of Migration Research. 9(4), pp. 497-514. https://doi.org/10.2478/njmr-2019-0038
Through a close reading of media reporting from 2017 to 2018 on the case of the Chinese girl Liu Yiming, who was first denied then granted residency in Denmark due to public pressure, this article analyses how regulation of family reunification involving children is negotiated in the Danish public imaginary in the context of strong anti-immigration sentiments. This imaginary projects the white Danish public as eager to love Yiming and as affectively invested in reversing the injustice done to her and her family. The article suggests, however, that the outpouring of white love, which functions as an affective intervention imbued with the promises of reversing Yiming’s deportation, is deeply embedded in exceptionalist notions of the ‘integrated’ migrant and that it works to restore an idealised image of a Danish nation defined by ‘human decency’ as a core value. Thus, the analysis raises critical questions to the politics of white love and its promise of securing social change for the ‘integrated’ migrant through collective acts of white feeling.