Gendering the Huddled Masses: Media Framing of Immigration and its Impact on Public Opinion

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Liu, Shan-Jan Sarah
Graduate Program:
Political Science
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 02, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Lee Ann Banaszak, Dissertation Advisor
  • Lee Ann Banaszak, Committee Chair
  • Donna Bahry, Committee Member
  • Vineeta Yadav, Committee Member
  • Lise Nelson, Outside Member
  • gender
  • immigration
  • citizenship
  • media
  • comparative politics
International migration is not a new phenomenon and the number of people that move across the world continues to expand every year. This research consists of three parts that examine the print media as a national narrative responding to immigration, individuals’ attitudes toward immigrants, and marriage migrants’ conceptualization of citizenship in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S. Utilizing cross-national content analysis, this research finds that in some cases the media are more likely to identify migrant men when framing immigration as an economic issue and more likely to identify migrant women when framing immigration as a cultural issue. Employing survey experiments, this research also finds that respondents are more likely to reject male immigrants as members of their society when they are informed about the economic consequences of immigration; respondents are more likely to reject female immigrants when they are informed the cultural consequences of immigration. Lastly, using in-depth interviews with marriage migrants in Taiwan, this research shows that the degrees to which Taiwanese citizenship is desired and actively pursued differ depending on migrants’ intersectional identities. This research raises implications for how states may react to immigration through the media’s gendered projections of immigration as various issues. It also raises implications for the impact of the media on how citizens differ in negotiating the presence of migrant men and women. It also provides areas for further exploration on how immigrants navigate their place, identity, and citizenship even when they choose not to be citizens in their new homes.