Towards a Marxist Critique of the Political Economy of Migration and the Media

  • Siyuan Yin Simon Fraser University
Keywords: media, migration, class, migrant workers, elite migrants, capitalist globalisation, inequality


The global outbreak of COVID-19 has exposed varied ways that systemic inequality shapes people’s lives. This article pays particular attention to migrant populations. While mainstream media and political discourse tend to construct migration as a problem to be addressed or even the cause of social problems, the article contends that migration should be understood as an immanent part of capitalist uneven development, entwined with patriarchy and colonialism. The post-modern approach within media and communication scholarship on migration fails to challenge media’s constitutive role in patriarchal and racial capitalism which fundamentally shapes the process and consequences of migration. Drawing on a Marxist political economy perspective, I analyse the two cases of global transnational migration and internal migration in China and argue that media and communication studies should account for the material disparity and class divisions among migrant groups and look for transformative forces that work against unequal power structures.