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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The term empathy refers to “a person’s ability to mentally represent another person’s situation as well as to evaluate the relevance and desirability of that situation and its potential outcomes” (Schneider 2008, 136). A capacity for empathy can be acquired and fostered through perspective taking. Research at the nexus of narrative theory and psychology has often highlighted the cognitive value of narrative, arguing that the engagement with stories can improve perspective-taking skills (see Nünning 2014). Stories can evoke empathy for a specific purpose. Suzanne Keen (2007, 142) distinguishes three types of strategic empathy – bounded, ambassadorial, and broadcast strategic empathy – each of which is directed at a different audience. Bounded strategic empathy addresses an in-group; “stemming from experiences of mutuality,” it invites the audience “to feeling with familiar others” (Keen 2007, 142). Ambassadorial strategic empathy includes “chosen others,” seeking to “[cultivate] their empathy for the in-group, often to a specific end” (Keen 2007, 142). Broadcast strategic empathy encourages everyone “to feel with members of a group,” as it stresses “common vulnerabilities and hopes” (Keen 2007, 142). The migrant stories shared during the Cross Talk events of the OPPORTUNITIES project invite citizens and other stakeholders to understand the perspective of migrants and refugees, creating a more inclusive discourse on migration and integration. In this context, ambassadorial strategic empathy is particularly relevant.

⇢ see also: Migrant narrativeNarrativePerspective taking, Vicarious storytelling

References and further reading:

Keen, Suzanne. 2007. Empathy and the Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nünning, Vera. 2014. Reading Fictions, Changing Minds: The Cognitive Value of Fiction. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter.

Schneider, Ralf. 2008. “Emotion and Narrative.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. 136–137. Routledge: London and New York.

Category: A

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




Empowering refugees and migrants, thus fighting epistemic injustice, is a central objective of the OPPORTUNITIES project. Measures include strengthening migrants’ and refugees’ agency and supporting self-representation through storytelling with art-based methods and perspective changes in Cross Talks. These activities are framed by the level telling field approach which defines premises, principles, and procedures for fair play in migration discourses.

⇢ see also: AgencyEpistemic injusticeMigrant narrativePerspective taking, Solidarity (with migrants)

Category: C

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

[CG / RS]


Epistemic injustice

In an epistemic situation – which is the particular state a person is in, given her beliefs, perceptions, imaginations, and emotions – epistemic injustice can occur. First introduced by Miranda Fricker (2007), epistemic injustice addresses the idea “[...] that we can be unfairly discriminated against in our capacity as a knower based on prejudices about the speaker, such as gender, social background, ethnicity, race, sexuality, tone of voice, accent, and so on” (Byskov 2020, 116). Epistemic injustice is thus the systematic underestimation of a person’s contribution to knowledge and insight. In the context of epistemic injustice, the phenomenon of epistemic reduction reduces a person to a particular aspect, e.g. to the role of patient or to the status of a victim.

⇢ see also: Cross TalkEmpowermentIntegration

References and further reading:

Byskov, Morten Fibieger. 2020. “What Makes Epistemic Injustice an ‘Injustice’?” In Journal of Social Philosophy. 52.1: 114–131.

Fricker, Miranda. 2007. Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 6, 7

[BBK / CS / FK]



In the English language, equality is defined as “the condition of being equal in quantity, amount, etc.” (see the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary). In social terms, equality implies the condition of being equal in law, rights, powers, opportunities, etc. It should be noted that the condition of being equal in law is more about equality of opportunity than equality of outcome. It is often claimed that equality of opportunity, e.g. in education, provides a level playing field for all. But equality of opportunity is the starting point and a necessary condition for having a level playing field. The sufficient condition for a level playing field is equality of outcome. A child from an educated family performs, on average, better than a child from a poorly educated family and therefore – despite both having the same equality of opportunity to start with – will have different equality of outcome.

⇢ see also: Level Telling Field

Category: A

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



Ethics of listening

An ethics of listening is a prerequisite for any form of fair dialogue. Cross Talk events create storytelling scenarios which allow migrants and refugees to share their experiences, and encourage citizens and other stakeholders to listen by involving them in readings. The goal is a fair conversation on migration and integration. Cross Talk events ensure that a variety of voices will be heard and appreciated in the conversation, also and especially those of more vulnerable groups. In this respect, an ethics of listening implies an ‘imagine-other’ (rather than the ‘imagine-self’) perspective in participants.

⇢ see also: MultiperspectivityPerspective takingPolitical listeningRecognitionPolyphony

References and further reading:

Beard, David, ed. 2009. “A Broader Understanding of the Ethics of Listening: Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Media Studies and the Ethical Listening Subject.” In International Journal of Listening. 23.1: 7–20.

Parks, Elizabeth S. 2018. The Ethics of Listening: Creating Space for Sustainable Dialogue. Lexington Books: Lexington.

Shotter, John. 2009. "Listening in a Way that Recognizes/Realizes the World of ‘the Other." In International Journal of Listening. 23.1: 21–43.

Category: B

Work Package: 2, 3, 6, 7



European integration

European integration theory acknowledges that there is no universally accepted definition of integration. The influential neofunctional definition by Ernst Haas (1985, 16) holds that integration is “the process whereby political actors in several distinct national settings are persuaded to shift their loyalties, expectations and political activities toward a new centre, whose institutions possess or demand jurisdiction over the pre-existing national states. The end result of a process of political integration is a new political community, super-imposed over the pre-existing ones.” Arne Niemann, Zoe Lefkofridi, and Philippe E. Schmitter (2019, 45) further elaborate that neofunctionalists have always considered integration “to be a process rather than an outcome or an end state.” European disintegration, in contrast, is the process by which European integration is reversed, partially or completely.

⇢ see also: Citizenship

References and further reading:

Haas, Ernst. 1958. The Uniting of Europe: Political, Social, and Economic Forces 1950–1957. Stevens and Sons: London.

Li, Monica. 2020. What Measures Are in Place to Ensure the Long-Term Integration of Migrants and Refugees in Europe? European Web Site on Integration. URL:

Niemann, Arne; Lefkofridi, Zoe and Schmitter, Philippe E. 2019. “Neofunctionalism.” In European Integration Theory. 43–63. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Zimmermann, Hubert and Andreas Dür. 2016. Key Controversies in European Integration. Palgrave Macmillan: London.

Category: A

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



Event modeling

Representations of happenings or events are generally considered as basic components of narrative. Narratives don’t simply “recount” happenings, however, but “give them shape, give them a point, argue their import, proclaim their results” (Brooks 2006, 13). Events are therefore best viewed as complex constructs (Nünning 2010) whose representations may be considered as a form of event modeling (Sommer 2023). Narratives establish and increase “eventfulness” (Hühn 2014) by describing occurrences as specific kinds of events, such as turning points, tipping points, or points of no return (Nünning 2012). Narratological analyses of events focus on (1) the ontological status and truth value of events as something experienced, observed, invented, imagined, or remembered, (2) the significance, relevance, unexpectedness, and unusualness of events, and (3) the ways in which narratives establish temporal, causal, or associative links between different events by means of “event sequencing” (Herman 2009). Like narrative framing, narrative event modeling involves processes of selection, evaluation, and interpretation. In addition, narrative representations of events establish relationships between events, create a sense of coherence, and link past, present, and future experiences in meaningful ways.

In migration debates, events are often at the core of controversial and, at times, toxic debates. For instance, there are disputes over responsibilities whenever humanitarian catastrophes occur in the Mediterranean. Recurring patterns of modeling such events include contradicting claims or counter-narratives: Frontex has been accused of carrying out dangerous maneuvers causing migrant boats to sink, while it insists their ships were in fact offering assistance. Narratives on migration further engage in event modeling by framing the arrival of refugees as a crisis, a security threat, or an opportunity. The narrative dynamics perspective established in OPPORTUNITIES focuses on the strategic goals, rhetorical uses, and political effects of representing events – and on narratives as steering devices which possess considerable manipulative power.

⇢ see also Counter-(master-)narrative dynamics, Narratives on migration, Narrative dynamics, Frames of migration

References and further reading:

Brooks, Peter. 2006. “Narrative Transactions – Does the Law Need a Narratology?” Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 18.1: 1 –28 .

Hühn, Peter. 2013. “Event and Eventfulness.” In The Living Handbook of Narratology, edited by Peter Hühn, Jan Christoph Meister, John Pier, and Wolf Schmid. Hamburg: Hamburg University. URL: Accessed August 16, 2023.

Nünning, Ansgar. 2010. “Making Events – Making Stories – Making Worlds: Ways of Worldmaking from a Narratological Point of View.” In Cultural Ways of Worldmaking: Media and Narratives, edited by Vera Nünning, Ansgar Nünning, and Birgit Neumann, 189–214. Berlin and New York, NY: De Gruyter.

Nünning, Ansgar. 2012. “With the Benefit of Hindsight: Features and Functions of Turning Points as a Narratological Concept and as a Way of Self-Making.” In Turning Points: Concepts and Narratives of Change in Literature and Other Media, edited by Ansgar Nünning and Kai Marcel Sicks, 31–58. Berlin and Boston, MA: De Gruyter:

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

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5




According to the Oxford English Dictionary an expatriate is “a person living in a country that is not their own.” The word originates in “mid 18th cent. (as a verb): from medieval Latin expatriat- ‘gone out from one’s country’, from the verb expatriare, from ex- ‘out’ + patria ‘native country.’’’ As a verb expatriate means (1) “to drive (a person) away from (his) native country” or (2) “to withdraw from one’s native country” (see the first two definitions provided in the Oxford English Dictionary). It is the second definition that informs our understanding of expatriate in modern migration studies, i.e. someone who has left his or her country or someone who lives in a country that is not his or her place of birth. In this sense all expatriates are emigrants, but emigration in this context is associated with notions of ‘life style’ migration or ‘privileged migration.’ Expatriation, then, refers to voluntary mobility and migration of the well-off and highly skilled rather than mobility and migration of poor and low skilled workers. Narratives on/of migration serve to illustrate the difference between the terms migrant and expatriate. While migrant is the general term for someone who moves his or her usual place of residence, an expatriate, or expat for short, is a specific type of migrant who has moved from his or her country of birth or nationality usually for professional or educational reasons. The term expat is also used to refer the large number of retired people (and their dependents) of high income countries who live outside their country of birth. The privileged position of expats is starkly demonstrated in countries like Singapore or rich Arab oil exporting states which rely heavily on highly skilled as well as low-skilled immigrant labor. A similar privileged attribution of the term expat is granted to highly skilled migrants in some European countries like the Netherlands. European, American, and other ‘white’ migrants in Africa, Latin America, and Asia – basically all those coming from the global ‘North’ – are often referred to as expats to distinguish them from other poorer and low-skilled migrants coming from the global ‘South.’

⇢ see also: Highly skilled migrantMigrantMigrationMigration and identityNarratives on migration

References and further reading:

BBC. 2016. The Difference between an Expat and an Immigrant? Semantics. BBC. URL:,their%20stay%2C%E2%80%9D%20he%20says.

Green, Nancy L. 2009. “Expatriation, Expatriates, and Expats: The American Transformation of a Concept.” In American Historical Review. 114.2: 307–328.

Kunz, Sarah. 2019. Expatriate or Migrant? The Racialised Politics of Migration Categories and the ‘Space inbetween. Discover Society. URL:

Kunz, Sarah. 2020. “Expatriate, Migrant? The Social Life of Migration Categories and the Polyvalent Mobility of Race.” In Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 46.11: 2145–2162.

Nowek, Adam. 2020. The Difference between Expats and Immigrants. Expatica. URL:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5, 8




 In a broad sense, the word experience refers to any mental state of which one is aware. Perception, bodily sensations, memory, and the imagination involve experience insofar as these mental activities emerge in conscious awareness. That is the sense in which the word is employed in fields such as the philosophy of mind, phenomenology, and cognitive psychology. A more specific use of the term experience, which also overlaps with everyday language, denotes any event that leaves a mark on an individual’s identity and sense of self. When something happens that brings into play an individual’s or a group’s worldview at a deep level, and potentially reshapes their personal and collective identity, it becomes an experience. Because of their experiential impact, these events are likely to display a high degree of tellability.

⇢ see also: Experiential storytellingLife storyNarrative identityTellability

References and further reading:

Pollio, Howard R.; Henley, Tracy B. and Thompson, Craig J. 1997. The Phenomenology of Everyday Life: Empirical Investigations of Human Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Category: A

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



Experiential storytelling

Experiential storytelling is sharing individual experiences with others by telling stories about these experiences, for instance in interviews, informal conversations between migrants and activists, or organized events like Cross Talks. When it comes to analyzing the experientiality (Fludernik 1996; Caracciolo 2014) of such practices of storytelling, ethical problems often need to be considered: e.g., issues related to tellability, culture-specific taboos, legal constraints, the age of storytellers, and the safety of everyone involved.

⇢ see also: Cross TalkExperienceMigrant narrative

References and further reading:

Caracciolo, Marco. 2014. The Experientiality of Narrative: An Enactivist Approach. Berlin and Boston, MA: De Gruyter.

Fludernik, Monika. 1996. Towards a ‘Natural’ Narratology. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Category: C

Work Package: 3, 6, 7

[CG / RS]