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...)

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Circular migration

The term circular migration refers to the journeys that migrants make between their countries of origin and another country. Circular migration was a long-standing practice for many Senegalese before it was put on the international agenda as a way of managing international migration in a concerted manner and as a means of reconciling migration and development. In the framework of circular migration, during 2007, Spain concluded bilateral agreements with Senegal, giving 4,000 Senegalese the opportunity to work in Spain temporarily in the agricultural sector. To this effect, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero stated that “the agreements signed with Senegal allow immigration to take place within a legal framework under the guidance of the Spanish Ministry of Labour and according to the state of the labour market in Spain” (qtd. in Tandian and Tall, 2011, 10; author’s translation).

⇢ see also: MigrantMigrationMigration culture

References and further reading:

Tandian, Aly. 2012. “Migrations internationales des Sénégalaises : nouveaux profils des migrantes et insertion professionnelle en Espagne.” In Les migrations africaines vers l’Europe : Entre mutations et adaptation des acteurs sénégalais, edited by Papa Demba Fall et Jordi Garreta Bochaca, 209–240. Lleida: REMIGRAF-IFAN/GR-ASE Lleida. URL:

Tandian, Aly. 2017. “Enjeux de la migration circulaire : des limites des accords entre le Sénégal et l’Espagne aux frustrations des candidates à la migration.” In Revue Sénégalaise de Sociologie. 12–13: 65–86.

Tandian, Aly, and Tall, Serigne Mansour. 2011 “Migration circulaire des Sénégalais : Des migrations tacites aux recrutements organisés [Technical Report, Migration Policy Centre].” In CARIM Analytic and Synthetic Notes 2011/52. URL:

Work Package: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8




Citizenship is the status of equal membership of a political community from which enforceable rights and obligations, benefits and resources, participatory practices, and a sense of identity flow. The liberal conception of citizenship stresses the formal legal status of being a citizen whereas the civic republican and communitarian conceptions of citizenship emphasize the communal context within which individuals are embedded and exercise self-determination. Citizenship’s roots can be traced back to the ancient Greek city states. The Romans extended the grant of citizenship to the conquered peoples of the Roman Empire thereby making law and order, and not ethnicity, its founding principles. The development of modern statehood made citizenship synonymous with nationality – a link which was called into question in the 1980s owing to globalization and the increasing mobility of people as well as the maturation of European integration and the transformation of the European Community into a post-national political unit.

⇢ see also: European integrationMobility

References and further reading:

Kostakopoulou, Dora. 2008. The Future Governance of Citizenship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Category: A, D

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8



Civil society

The term civil society refers to a set of nongovernmental and non-commercial stakeholders shaping public spaces for collective action based on shared values and interests; it consequently stands for collective agency that is generally distinct from government and commercial for-profit actors.

⇢ see also Agency

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8

[BBK / CS / FK]


Closing civic space

Closing civic space is a phenomenon described by Rosa Balfour, Nicolas Bouchet, and Joerg Forbrig (2019), who claim that opportunities to occupy public spaces and to express political opinions with the intention of changing politics are shrinking. While the authors put particular focus on Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, they also acknowledge that the phenomenon reaches beyond these regions. The phenomenon of undermining civic actors appears increasingly sophisticated and widespread, e.g. in the US (Balfour et al. 2019, 4).

⇢ see also: Opportunity

References and further reading:

Balfour, Rosa; Bouchet, Nicolas; Forbrig, Joerg. 2019. Improving EU-U.S. Cooperation in Civil Society Support in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. Washington DC: The German Marshall Fund of the United State. URL:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8

[BBK / CS / FK]


Common ground

Common ground, i.e., a set of shared goals, ideas, interests, principles and beliefs, is the basis for a fair dialogue and a key element of Cross Talks. Strategies for establishing common ground include recognizing the other as a fellow human being, emphasizing the common good, reminding each other of the principles of humanity, and joining the other in the quest for well-being.

⇢ see also: Cross TalkRecognitionFair dialogue

Category: A

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



Contact zone

The concept of the contact zone was introduced to postcolonial theory by Marie-Louise Pratt to refer to “social spaces where disparate cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in highly asymmetrical relations of domination or subordination – such as colonialism and slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out across the globe today” (Pratt 2008 [1992], 7). Countries of transit and countries of arrival can be considered as contact zones, as they constitute spaces in which migrants, citizens, and other stakeholders meet and establish asymmetrical relationships.

⇢ see also: CitizenshipMigrantStakeholder

References and further reading:

Pratt, Marie-Louise. 2008. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London and New York: Routledge.

Category: A

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



Content analysis and corpus linguistics

The classic definition of content analysis is the one by Bernard Berelson (1952, 18): “a research technique for the objective, systematic and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication.” Although this definition is very broad, in media and communication studies it usually implies the manual coding of communication content whereby every article is coded according to characteristics of the article. An example would be the application of the categories of Erving Goffman’s book Gender Advertisements (1979) to an actual sample of advertisements. The results of that research would include, for instance, how many stereotypes are used, which stereotypes are used more often in the representation of women with different ethnicities, and for which product categories stereotypes are more often used. Within a broad definition of content analysis, corpus linguistics could also be defined as a form of content analysis, although media and communication scholars do not typically think of corpus linguistics when the notion of content analysis is mentioned. Richard Nordquist defines the idea of corpus linguistics as follows: “Corpus linguistics is the study of language based on large collections of ‘real life’ language use stored in corpora (or corpuses) – computerized databases created for linguistic research. It is also known as corpus-based studies.” (Nordquist 2019, n. p.) Corpus Statistics Analysis allows the automatic analysis of very large corpora. This strategy depends on two theoretical notions and their attendant analytical tools, i.e., keyness and collocation (Baker et al. 2008). Keyness is the frequency of particular words of clusters or words in certain corpora, while collocation of words occurs within a predetermined span of words. Within the OPPORTUNITIES project, the analysis of content will be applied to the analysis of tweets by politicians in four countries under study, namely Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy.

⇢ see also Frames of migration, Quantitative media studies

References and further reading:

Baker, Paul; Gabrielatos, Costas; Khosravinik, Majid; Krzyzanowski, Michal; McEnery, Tony and Wodak, Ruth. 2008. “A Useful Methodological Synergy? Combining Critical Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics to Examine Discourses of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK Press.” In Discourse & Society. 19.3: 273–305.

Berelson, Bernard. 1952. Content Analysis in Communication Research. Glencoe: Free Press.

Goffman, Erving. 1979. Gender Advertisements. London: Palgrave.

Nordquist, Richard. 2019. “Definition and Example of Corpus Linguistics.” Thought.Co. URL:

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]



The notion of conviviality emerged within the context of the ‘war on terror’ in post-9/11 Europe and is associated with British cultural studies scholar Paul Gilroy. ‘Tapping’ into the advantages of multiculturalism, conviviality refers to processes of cohabitation in which multicultural and intercultural interactions are considered an ordinary feature of social life (see Gilroy 2005). Conviviality does not imply the absence of racism, rather it shifts focus away from the limitations and anxieties associated with cultural and racial difference to the possibility of interactions premised on a cosmopolitan outlook and on mutual regard for a basic sameness of human beings.

⇢ see also: Common groundFair dialogueLevel Telling Field, Solidarity (with migrants), Welcome culture

References and further reading:

Gilroy, Paul. 2005. Postcolonial Melancholia. New York: Columbia University Press.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5



Counter-(master-)narrative dynamics

Narratives are always embedded in power relations that enable some narratives to be produced, received, and perpetuated more frequently than others (Lueg et al. 2021, 4). Within this power constellation, master-narratives emerge from discourses which produce “cultural canonicity” (Hyvärinen 2021, 20); they “can be understood as a sequence of culturally expected events” (20) that “suffer from a kind of dullness” (21) and in most cases present nothing more than an abstract idea (21). Counter-narratives resist such powerful narratives, as they typically showcase marginalized positions and views that challenge or reject canonical expectations, thus displaying a high degree of tellability (Hyvärinen 2021, 21; see also Lueg et al. 2021, 4). The counter-(master-)narrative dynamics can therefore be best described as “narratives in contest” (Phelan 2008).

However, recent studies have cautioned against construing the distinction between master- and counter-narratives as a simplistic binary divide, advocating a narrative dynamics approach which accounts for the complexities of narrative framing and communication (Sommer 2023). Hanna Meretoja (2021, 38), for example, stresses the fact that counter-narratives do not necessarily have to be entirely “emancipatory, progressive, or liberating,” but may also reinforce some aspects of a given power structure. Matti Hyvärinen (2021, 27) likewise advises against taking counternarrativity to be “an essential, abstract, and totalizing feature of any narrative,” considering that individual narratives may well “counter a particular dominant discourse while at the same time drawing on some other cultural canonicity.” And according to Yannis Gabriel (2017, 211), counter-narratives even “can and often do turn into master narratives, once they have started to spawn counter-narratives of their own.” Counternarrativity consequently ought to be seen not as a binary but a contextual category.

⇢ see also Crisis narration, Narrative dynamics, Narrative, Narrative ecology

References and further reading:

Gabriel, Yannis. 2017. “Narrative Ecologies and the Role of Counter-Narratives: The Case of Nostalgic Stories and Conspiracy Theories.” In Counter-Narratives and Organization, edited by Sanne Frandsen, Timothy Kuhn, and Marianne Wolff Lundholt, 208–229. Newy York, NY and London: Routledge.

Gebauer, Carolin. 2023. “German Welcome Culture Then and Now: How Crisis Narration Can Foster (Contested) Solidarity with Refugees.” University of Wuppertal. [Working paper of the OPPORTUNITIES project 101004945 – H2020.]

Hyvärinen, Matti. 2021. “Toward a Theory of Counter-Narratives: Narrative Contestation, Cultural Canonicity, and Tellability.” In Routledge Handbook of Counter-Narratives, edited by Klarissa Lueg and Marianne Wolff Lundholt, 17–29. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Lueg, Klarissa, Ann Starbœk Bager, and Marianne Wolff Lundholt. 2021. “What Counter-Narratives Are: Dimensions and Levels of a Theory of Middle Range.” In Routledge Handbook of Counter-Narratives, edited by Klarissa Lueg and Marianne Wolff Lundholt, 1–14. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Meretoja, Hanna. 2021. “A Dialogics of Counter-Narratives.” In Routledge Handbook of Counter-Narratives, edited by Klarissa Lueg and Marianne Wolff Lundholt, 30–42. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Phelan, James. 2008. “Narratives in Contest; or, Another Twist in the Narrative Turn.” PMLA 123.1: 166–175.

Sommer, Roy. 2023. “Migration and Narrative Dynamics.” In The Routledge Companion to Narrative Theory, edited by Paul Dawson and Maria Mäkelä, 498–511. New York, NY and London: Routledge.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5




Stemming from the field of medicine, where it describes a critical stage in the course of a disease, the metaphor of crisis has recently been often used in media discourses to describe problematic and portentous cultural, economic, ecological, or political phenomena. The term crisis serves in this context as a “narrative device” (Roitman 2014, 85), foregrounding that the current status quo marks a turning point in which decisions by affected stakeholders are of particular relevance for future progress. Crises are not cultural givens, but they are narratives constructed and perpetuated in cultural discourses (see Nünning 2009, Nünning 2012, Nünning and Nünning 2020). Although the term crisis primarily has a negative connotation in today’s media – especially in discourses of migration (see, e.g., UNHCR 2021) – crises do not necessarily have to result in disasters or catastrophes. They can also serve as opportunities for change and improvement. Adopting a positive reading of the metaphor of crisis, the OPPORTUNITIES project construes migration and the alleged refugee ‘crisis’ as a chance for EU member states to jointly work towards a fairer and more inclusive European Union (see also “Opportunity”).

⇢ see also Crisis narration, MetaphorologyNarrative

References and further reading:

Nünning, Ansgar. 2009. “Steps Towards a Metaphorology (and Narratology) of Crises: On the Functions of Metaphors as Figurative Knowledge and Mininarrations.” In Metaphors Shaping Culture and Theory [= REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature 25], edited by Herbert Grabes, Ansgar Nünning, and Sibylle Baumbach, 229–262. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.

Nünning, Ansgar. 2012. “Making Crises and Catastrophes – How Metaphors and Narratives Shape Their Cultural Life.” In The Cultural Life of Catastrophes and Crises, edited by Carsten Meiner and Kristin Veel, 59–88. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter.

Nünning, Ansgar, and Vera Nünning. 2020. “Krise als medialer Leitbegriff und kulturelles Erzählmuster: Merkmale und Funktionen von Krisennarrativen als Sinnstiftung über Zeiterfahrung und als literarische Laboratorien für alternative Welten.” In Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift. 70.3–4: 241–278.

Roitman, Janet. 2014. Anti-Crisis. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 2021. Refugees Are Not the Crisis. It’s the Narratives We Tell about Them. UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency. URL:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5, 8