Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

Representations of migration and mobility or migrants and other mobile individuals (see “Figure of the migrant”) can be found in a wide range of discourses, media, and genres. These include literary texts (e.g., novels, short stories, plays; see also “Fictions of migration”), non-fiction books, newspaper articles, policy narratives and political speeches, as well as feature films and TV series.

Discourses of migration frequently draw on narrative as a dominant mode of representation. The main reason for this is probably that narrative may appeal to audiences differently than other modes of representation (e.g., argument, description, or explanation). Psychologists and media theorists have repeatedly argued that “stories have the power to influence minds and motivate action” (Bech Sillesen et al. 2015, n. p.), as they evoke empathy by causing their audiences to become emotionally involved with the characters presented in these stories (see Green and Brock 2000). This ‘strategy of affect’ is particularly effective in stories presenting vulnerable, marginalized, or even stigmatized groups such as migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers (see Oliver et al. 2012).

⇢ see also Empathy, Fictions of migration, Figure of the migrant, Narrative, Stories of migrationNarratives on migration

References and further reading:

Bech Sillesen, Lene, Chris Up, and David Uberti. 2015. “Journalism and the Power of Emotions.” CJR: Columbia Journalism Review May/June 2015. URL:

Green, Melanie C., and Timothy C. Brock. 2000. “The Role of Transportation in the Persuasiveness of Public Narratives.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79.5: 701–721.

Juvonen, Annimari, and Verena Lindemann Lino, eds. 2021. Negotiations of Migration: Reexamining the Past and Present in Contemporary Europe. Berlin and Boston, MA: De Gruyter.

Oliver, Mary Beth, James Price Dillard, Keunmin Bae, and Daniel J. Tamul. 2012. “The Effect of Narrative News Format on Empathy for Stigmatized Groups.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quaterly 89.2: 205–224.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5, 8