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...)

Migrant narratives, or migrant stories, are life stories of migrants or refugees which focus on experiences of migration and transit. They come in various shapes (e.g., conversational storytelling, life writing, or narrative fiction) and can be told either by migrants and refugees themselves (see also the entry “stories of migration”) or by vicarious storytellers who speak on behalf of migrants or refugees. Carolin Gebauer and Roy Sommer (2023) have identified four types of vicarious storytelling: case stories, documentary storytelling, ambassadorial storytelling, and allied storytelling (see also the entry on “vicarious storytelling”). While instances of the first three types tend to silence migrants’ own voice in the act of storytelling and hence diminish their narrative authority, cases of allied storytelling seek to actively engage migrants by constructing narratives which are shared by vicarious storyteller and migrant alike. Dominant themes of migrant narratives include displacement, diaspora, victimhood, resilience, integration, liberation, and opportunity.

⇢ see also Experience, Experiential storytelling, Life story, Narrative, Positioning, Vicarious storytelling

References and further reading:

Gebauer, Carolin, and Roy Sommer. 2023. “Beyond Vicarious Storytelling: How Level Telling Fields Help Create a Fair Narrative on Migration.” Open Research Europe 3.10: 3–14. URL: Accessed July 30, 2023.

Category: C

Work Package: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7