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...)

All   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Illegal entry

A migrant is in a situation of illegal entry into the territory of a country if he or she moves outside the legal conditions set by national regulations. Especially Senegalese media have used this term in recent years following the repatriation of irregular migrants to Spain. It is important to point out that ‘illegal’ does not mean ‘illegitimate.’ An act could be illegal under the law which, however, could be contested in courts or could have mitigating circumstances. For example, killing someone may be illegal under the law but self-defence could be presented as a legitimate reason. Similarly crossing the borders of a country without permission is illegal but a person may cross the border to seek asylum for the legitimate reasons of being persecuted in their country of origin.

⇢ see also: Asylum; Asylum seekerIrregular migrationMigrantRefugee

References and further reading:

Tandian, Aly. 2020. “Profils de Sénégalais candidats à la migration : des obsessions aux désillusions.” In Revue africaine des migrations internationales. 2020: 2–22.

Category: A

Work Package: 3, 5, 6, 7

[AT / MM]



Inclusion is a societal approach that values and appreciates diversity by seeking to create “equal rights and opportunities” for every individual, independent of their national, cultural, ethnic, or religious background (ECRI 2021, n. p.). To achieve this aim, citizens, governments, and local authorities have to work together to create “conditions which enable the full and active participation of every member of society” (ECRI 2021, n. p.). An inclusive society is the prerequisite for successful integration of migrants in destination countries.

⇢ see also: Diversity, IntegrationWelcome culture

References and further reading:

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. 2021. Integration and Inclusion. URL:

Category: A

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




Inequality – the opposite of equality (see the entry on “equality”) – is about differences between people in terms of their legal, social, cultural, and economic rights, as well as their differences in access to and ownership of assets (e.g., land, capital, and housing), that reflect the socio-economic characteristics of a country. Reasons for the unequal treatment of a specific group in a country can be their race, gender, ethnic background, geographic origin, socio-economic background, migrant status, etc.

Discrimination against migrants in employment, pay, allocation of housing, etc. can lead to their lower social and economic status and create a socio-economic gap between citizens and migrants over their lifetime. It is, however, important to note that such discriminations happen to a large degree on account of racial, cultural, and religious differences that migrants share with the native-born population of similar race, culture, and religion (Messkoub 2005). Access to and integration into the labor market is one of the most important paths to the integration of migrants and to reducing the inequality between them and the local population (Federico and Baglioni 2021).

Migration status is also an important ground for differences in social rights in any country. The right to vote and stand for public office in elections are usually reserved for nationals; at the same time, the right to work, attend school, own property, set up a business, etc. varies across countries and depends on each country’s specific laws regarding different types of immigrants in an escalating degree of integration. While residency rights may qualify an immigrant to work and own property and give them the right to vote in local elections, the right to vote in national elections is reserved exclusively for nationals. These rights can also affect the children of immigrants even if they are born in the immigration country, depending on whether the nationality laws are jus sanguinis (i.e., through ‘blood,’ parents, or ancestors) or jus soli (i.e., through ‘land,’ or rather the status of having been born in the country). Citizenship based on jus soli offers the offspring of immigrants a clear and speedy path to equality with other native-born populations.

For further discussion of inequality, see the explanation provided by Social Europe. For a discussion of inequality in different settings (e.g., economic, social, gender), see the information provided by the OECD.

⇢ see also Discrimination, Gender

References and further reading:

Federico, Veronica, and Baglioni, Simone, eds. 2021. Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers’ Integration in European Labour Markets: A Comparative Approach on Legal Barriers and Enablers. Cham: Springer.

Messkoub, Mahmood. 2005. “Migrants in the European Union: Welfare in Old Age.” Public Finance Management 5.2: 269–289.

OECD. 2021. “Inequality.” OECD. URL: Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Social Europe. 2021. “What is inequality?” Social Europe. URL: Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Category: A

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




Without the use of any modifier, integration is a mode of migrant incorporation which requires migrants’ adherence to the legal and political framework of the host community and their identification with the common culture of citizenship. Ethnic and/or cultural differences are relegated to the private realm. It differs from assimilation in that migrants are not required to renounce their particular national, ethnic, religious or cultural identities and to conform to the culture of the majority community in order to belong. Given that both assimilation and integration focus on the individual, they do not facilitate the recognition of groups and the importance of diversity and cultural pluralism in society. Accordingly, integration policies, and the demands made by states for (better) integration of migrants, often fall short of treating migrants as full members of, and equal participants, in the community.

⇢ see also: Inclusion, Solidarity (with migrants), Welcome culture

References and further reading:

Castles, Stephen and Davidson, Alastair. 2000. Citizenship and Migration: Globalisation and the Politics of Belonging. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press.

Kostakopoulou, Dora. 2010. "The Anatomy of Civic Integration." In Modern Law Review. 7.36: 933–958

Kostakopoulou, Dora. 2002. “Integrating’ Non-EU Migrants in the European Union: Ambivalent Legacies and Mutating Paradigms.” In Columbia Journal of European Law. 8.2: 1–21.

Category: A

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



Intercultural understanding

Intercultural understanding is a philosophical concept grounded in hermeneutics. It refers to a person’s ability and willingness to acknowledge, appreciate, and overcome cultural differences in cross-cultural encounters. The prerequisite for intercultural understanding is an “‘intercultural mind” (Sommer 2013), i.e., a mindset which challenges racism, ethnocentric worldviews, and stereotypical representations. Based on the principles of empathy, perspective taking, and recognition, intercultural understanding advocates intercultural dialogue and multiperspectivity in contact zones, multicultural contexts, or other cross-cultural encounters.

⇢ see also: Empathy, MultiperspectivityPerspective takingRecognition

References and further reading:

European Commission. 2020. "Intercultural Dialogue." European Migration Network Glossary. URL:

Sommer, Roy. 2013. “Other Stories, Other Minds: The Intercultural Potential of Cognitive Approaches to Narrative.” In Stories and Minds: Cognitive Approaches to Literary Narrative, edited by Lars Bernaerts, Dirk De Geest, Luc Herman, and Bart Vervaeck, 155–174. Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press.

Category: A

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

[CG / RS]


Intermedia agenda setting

Intermedia agenda setting is a term that historically refers to the extent to which certain media determine the topics about which other media publish. These media are then the opinion leaders. The media that follow other media do so for economic reasons, because it is too expensive for them to track down the news themselves, or for socio-psychological reasons, because certain media perceive other media as guiding them. For example, Raymond Harder, Julie Sevenans, and Peter Van Aelst (2017) point out that, historically, newspapers such as The New York Times or The Washington Post from America had this guiding role. In today’s media landscape with 24/7 news, the patterns through which media influence each other become more complex and intermedia agenda setting is more difficult to trace.

⇢ see also Frame analysis (aka framing analysis)

References and further reading:

Budak, Ceren, Nathalie Jomini Stroud, Ashley Muddiman, Caroline Murray, and Yuyin Kim. 2023. “The Stability of Cable and Broadcast News Intermedia Agenda Setting Across the COVID-19 Issue Attention Cycle.” In Political Communication: 1–21. DOI: 10.1080/10584609.2023.2222382. Date of access: September 8, 2023.

Harder, Raymond, Julie Sevenans, and Peter van Aelst. 2017. “Intermedia Agenda-Setting in the Social Media Age: How Traditional Players Dominate the News Agenda in Election Times.” In International Journal of Press/Politics 22: 275–293.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]


Irregular migration

According to the European Migration Network (EMN) Glossary the term irregular migration refers to the “movement of persons to a new place of residence or transit that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries.” It is important to note, however, that there is no common understanding of the term; rather, the meaning of “irregular” depends strongly on contextual factors such as the different perspectives of destination and sending countries. In a Senegalese context, for example, potential candidates for irregular migration are often impoverished members of the rural population who move to urban centers, where they first work in the informal sector and then try to escape to Europe (Tandian and Tall 2010).

⇢ see also: Illegal entryMigration

References and further reading:

European Commission. 2020. European Migration Network (EMN) Glossary. URL:

Tandian, Aly, and Serigne Mansour Tall. 2010. Regards sur la migration irrégulière des Sénégalais : vouloir faire fortune en Europe avec des pirogues de fortune [Technical Report, Migration Policy Centre]. CARIM Analytic and Synthetic Notes 2010/50. URL:

Category: D

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

[CG / RS]