This article deals with mostly negative ideological images of refugees, as they erupted in political graffiti and street art (stickers, stencils, various inscriptions) in Slovenia during the so-called refugee crisis from the fall of 2015 on. Its basic questions are three: How is the ideological process of othering the refugees constructed in political graffiti? How does this relate to dominant discourses and practices in Slovenian society (from official politics to mass media)? What were the reactions against such sprayed hate speech (so pro-refugee graffiti)? The process of othering progresses in two steps: refugees are first imagined as an unified mass that is radically different from imaginary notions of “Slovenianism” and “Europeanism,” which then serves as the basis for differentiation between more and less acceptable of them. On these grounds, four different ideological images are created: a refugee as a criminal, a refugee as an uninvited visitor, a refugee as a powerless victim, and a refugee as a global proletarian. About 150 original photos of anti- and pro-refugee graffiti, mostly from Slovenia (but for comparative reasons also from the whole region), are analyzed using the semiotic method as developed by its classics and finally interpreted with Theodor Adorno and Alexander Mitscherlich's concepts of “displacement of hatred” and Seymour Martin Lipset's concept of “extremism of the center.”

You do not currently have access to this content.