Two papers and one working paper


OPPORTUNITIES published two papers and one working paper

OPPORTUNITIES published on his website two papers and one working paper:

Beyond Vicarious Storytelling
How Level Telling Fields Help Create a Fair Narrative on Migration

Life stories play a crucial role in migration discourses: they serve as testimony in journalistic work, form the core of ambassadorial storytelling by NGOs, and inspire collaborative projects initiated by writers seeking to express their solidarity. However, this article argues, drawing on migrants’ experiences for such purposes also creates an ethical dilemma: speaking about – or even for – rather than with migrants assigns them a passive role and tends to recycle existing narrative patterns and templates. Starting with a generic distinction between what we call stories of migration (various forms of self-expression granting migrants full authority and control over their narrative) and narratives on migration (external perspectives, e.g. academic, economic, political, and legal approaches, where lived experience doesn’t matter), we explore the extensive middle ground of hybrid forms between these two extremes – i.e. different kinds of vicarious storytelling – before discussing their ethical implications. We further show how the idea of the level playing field, a key concept in economics, can be used in transdisciplinary research projects to establish level telling fields, i.e. communicative spaces characterized by a fair dialogue on an equal footing for all participants.

Changing attitudes towards migration in Europe. Dynamic analyses (2002-2018).

In a growingly diverse Europe, understanding what European citizens think about migrants and refugees becomes increasingly relevant. This report seeks to contribute to a better understanding of migration preferences, by examining the changing attitudes of citizens towards immigrants and migration policies in Europe. The aim of the report is two-fold. First, it seeks to understand how attitudes have changed in the last two decades in Europe (2002- 2018), and what might be driving these changes. Second, the report uncovers individual and country level typologies of migration preferences. Part one of the quantitative analyses builds on group conflict, and contact theory. Group conflict theory argues that intergroup competition influences attitudes towards the representatives of an outgroup, such as ethnic minorities or immigrants. These perceptions are not only influenced by the structural position of the individual (e.g., socio-economic status), but also by contextual factors, such as changes in a country’s economic situation or an influx of migrants. In contrast, contact theory suggests that more diversity can lead to more support for migration through increased intergroup contact between the host nation and immigrants. Building on these theories and using all nine rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS), the analyses delineate the change in attitudes towards immigrants and migration before, during, and after the refugee crisis of 2015-2016, covering the period between 2002 and 2018. The report examines relevant explanatory factors at the individual (e.g., social class) and contextual level (e.g., % of foreign-born population). Mixed evidence is found for the notion that countries that receive more immigrants, or those that experience an economic downturn, are less supportive of migration. Cleavages between citizens in terms of political attitudes and socio-demographic characteristics, on the other hand, appear to be important drivers of migration preferences. The analyses can thus only partially confirm group conflict or contact theory. There are also some indications that migration attitudes in most European countries have become more positive in the last two decades. Part two of the analyses investigates the multidimensionality of attitudes towards migration in the European population, through creating a typology of different perspectives on migration. Analyses are based on the European Social Survey’s 2002 module, which focuses on attitudes towards migration and asylum policy, and on the 2016 module, which was fielded after the 2015-2016 refugee crisis. These analyses provide evidence for three distinct individual level profiles. Most European citizens can be classified as having either out spokenly open, or restrictive attitudes about migration, and do not distinguish between the type of immigrant, or the aspects of migration citizens find the most threatening. A sizeable group of citizens, moreover, is selective about migration. They are supportive of migration in general, but also fear the impact Page | 8 of immigrants on their society. Hence, most European citizens remain luke warm about migration, and this pattern is also reflected at the country level.

An introduction to level playing field: from a sporting metaphor to a social policy instrument

This paper provides a short introduction to the concept of level playing field (LPF) and how it has travelled from a sporting metaphor to other social spheres to invoke the need for the setting up of common rules to achieve equality of opportunity for all. The paper starts with a discussion of some of the conceptual issues of LFP (section 2) that lead us directly to one of the most important applications of LPF in economics in general (section 3) and international trade in particular. The latter pays particular attention to the principle of LPF in the setting up and evolution of the European Union (section 4). The paper also provides case studies of the application of LPF in other areas such as education (with a focus on the role of families) (section 5), labour market (with a focus on the relationship between LPF and discrimination) (section 6) and digital media (section 7). In section 8 the paper provides some thought on the nexus of LPF and level-telling-field. The final concluding section 9 provides some tentative general lessons emerging from the discussion of the nexus of LPF and LTF.