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Fiedler, Anke (2020): From Being Aware to Going There: On the Awareness and Decision-Making of (Prospective) Migrants. In: Mass Communication and Society, Vol. 23, No. 3: pp. 356-377

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It does not always take a wall to deter migrants from irregular entry. Many countries rely on so-called migration management measures in aspiring migrants’ countries of origin, which also include (mass-)mediated awareness-raising campaigns. These are designed to educate prospective migrants about the dangers and challenges awaiting them en route and after arrival in the destination country. Such campaigns’ effectiveness has long been questioned. Theoretically, this article contributes to the debate by combining de Haas’ conceptual framework of agency and structure in migration processes with Bakewell and Jolivet’s concepts of migratory network and broadcast feedback. Empirically, through qualitative field research in four sub-Saharan African states, it questions the supposed causal connection between migrants’ awareness of risks and their attitudes toward migration in decision-making. It concludes that awareness-raising strategies deny migrant agency and convey a distorted picture of migrants’ alleged nescience.

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