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.

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The easiest way to think about “scale” is through visual representations such as maps. The scale of a map is the degree to which it compresses real-world space: for example, 1 cm on the map represents 1 km in the real world. Maps can represent the world at multiple scales, from the street level to an entire continent – or even the whole planet. However, the concept of scale is not limited to the domain of spatial representation: it can be used to refer to temporal duration, or to different levels of abstraction in the understanding of a certain phenomenon.

It is in this last sense that the idea of scale can be usefully applied to migration. Migration involves individuals, with their motivations for migrating, their aspirations and hopes, their unique background and experiences (personal scale). But migration is also a global trend that can be linked to war, political oppression, structural inequalities leading to extreme poverty, and climate change (planetary scale). Migration is further influenced by local attitudes and cultural biases (local scale); even more significantly, it is shaped by policies and legislation on national and regional (e.g., EU-level) scales. Migration is thus a complex phenomenon that spans multiple scales.

Scale is also an important factor in narratives of and on migration, and combining multiple scales in stories can be seen as a form of multiperspectivity. It is widely recognized in narrative theory that narrative has an “anthropomorphic bias,” in Monika Fludernik’s (1996, 13) words: that is, it tends to foreground human or human-like protagonists and their embodied experience. This entails that narrative as a practice favors the personal scale. Typically, the protagonist of a story will be the main focus of the audience’s attention, eliciting responses such as empathy and sympathy. This bias towards the individual is an asset for narrative, but it is also a limitation when it comes to representing phenomena, such as migration, that go beyond individual experience. How can stories convey not only the experience of a single migrant (or group of migrants), but also the larger local, regional, and global processes that bear on their experience? Put otherwise, how can narrative capture interactions as well as discontinuities across scalar levels (see Woods 2014 for more on these discontinuities)? These questions point to the problem of multiscalarity (see Caracciolo 2021, 43-46) – that is, of integrating multiple scalar levels in a narrative context. Multiscalarity calls for different approaches depending on a narrative’s broader pragmatic context and goals: for instance, novelistic strategies for imagining migration as a multiscalar phenomenon may not translate easily into the context and vocabulary of journalism (see Adinolfi and Caracciolo 2023). Nevertheless, more exchanges between artistic and media practices revolving around migration are certainly desirable and may help address biases inherent in these discourses. Creating awareness of multiscalarity remains a priority for narrative-based approaches to migration.

⇢ see also Experiential storytelling, Life story, Multiperspectivity, Narrative, Narratives on migration, Representation of migration, Stories of migration

References and further reading:

Adinolfi, Simona, and Marco Caracciolo. 2023. “Narrative, Scale, and Two Refugee Crises in Comparison in Italian Media.” Ghent University. [Working paper of the OPPORTUNITIES project 101004945 – H2020.]

Caracciolo, Marco. 2021. Narrating the Mesh: Form and Story in the Anthropocene. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.

DiCaglio, Joshua. 2021. Scale Theory: A Nondisciplinary Inquiry. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Fludernik, Monika. 1996. Towards a “Natural” Narratology. London: Routledge.

Woods, Derek. 2014. “Scale Critique for the Anthropocene.” Minnesota Review 83: 133–42.

Category: A

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



Segmentation analysis

In a research report of which Leen d’Haenens, promoter for IMS in the OPPORTUNITIES project, is co-author (see Verhoest et al. 2019), the phenomenon of segmentation is synthesized as follows: “Segments are population groups with similar consumption patterns that can be identified on the basis of common characteristics. In the context of news consumption, such characteristics may include political attitudes, psychological dispositions, socio-economic profiles, or any other shared properties that explain observable consumption patterns.” (Verhoest et al. 2019, 4–5) Segmentation analysis is possible on both primary and secondary data (see “Survey analysis”).

⇢ see also Survey analysis

References and further reading:

Verhoest, Pascal, Arno Slaets, Leen d’Haenens, Joeri Minnen, and Ignace Glorieux. 2019. Fragmentation, Homogenization or Segmentation: A Diary Survey into the Diversity of News Consumption in a High-Choice Media Environment. DIAMOND report. URL: Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]


Social network analysis

Social Network Analysis involves the representation of individuals and how they relate to each other. Preceding the age of the Internet, this involved the use of sociograms, whereby the application of methods like in-depth interviews were used to identify ties between individuals. Social network analysis involves a methodological challenge. A method needs to be found to identify relationships between individuals. This methodological challenge has disappeared in the use of Twitter data, as foreseen OPPORTUNITIES, because Twitter data contain information on who follows whom and who retweets messages from others. Hence the nodes of activity will be identified and potential filter bubbles can be identified, especially when there is a large amount of tweeting and retweeting going on between certain individuals.

⇢ see also Filter bubble

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]


Solidarity (with migrants)

The Oxford English Dictionary defines solidarity as “the fact or quality, on the part of communities, etc., of being perfectly united or at one in some respect, esp. in interests, sympathies, or aspirations.” In the context of migration, solidarity is often equated with migrant support and refugee help: i.e. migrant solidarity refers to the idea of citizens assisting and encouraging migrants and refugees in their attempt to participate in communal and societal life on various levels (e.g., social, political, cultural, etc.). While refugee support can have different motives, ranging from a (seemingly altruistic) moral and humanitarian urge to help to political activism, recent studies in the field of solidarity research have argued that such practices of solidarity always represent some form of political action and resistance (Fleischmann 2020; Fleischmann and Steinhilper 2017; García Augustín and Jørgensen 2019). The political dimension of practices of migrant solidarity can, for example, be seen in various movements that arose from different political situations such as the phenomenon of (German) welcome culture during the long summer of migration in 2015 as well as the global movement #StandwithUkraine, including the numerous peace demonstrations organized worldwide, which immediately followed Russia’s attack of Ukraine in February 2022.

⇢ see also Agency, Attitudes, beliefs, and values, Conviviality, Empowerment, Integration, Narratives on migration, Stories of migration, Welcome culture

References and further reading:

Bachmann-Medick, Doris, and Jens Kugele. 2018. “Introduction: Migration – Frames, Regimes, Concepts.” In Migration: Changing Concepts, Critical Approaches, edited by Doris Bachmann-Medick and Jens Kugele, 1–18. Berlin and Boston, MA: De Gruyter.

Fleischmann, Larissa. 2020. Contested Solidarity: Practices of Refugee Support between Humanitarian Help and Political Activism. Bielefeld: transcript.

Fleischmann, Larissa, and Elias Steinhilper. 2017. “The Myth of Apolitical volunteering for Refugees: German Welcome Culture and a New Dispositif of Helping.” Social Inclusion 5.3: 17–27.

García Augustín, Oscár, and Martin Bak Jørgensen. 2019. Solidarity and the ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Europe. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5



Stories of migration

Stories of migration are oral, visual or verbal accounts of migrants’ experiences, told by themselves or observers close to them, from an inside (“emic”) perspective. Such life stories, which take the form of conversational storytelling, life writing, or narrative fiction, aim at sharing experiences and fostering empathy, but may also serve to claim human rights, justice and solidarity, or to challenge existing stereotypes and clichés. Within a broader framework of narrative ecology, stories of migration can be classified as bottom-up narratives or storytelling from below, as opposed to top-down narratives on migration.

⇢ see also Narrative dynamics, Life story, Migrant narrativeNarratives on migration, Politics of mobility, Positioning, Solidarity (with migrants), 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: https://open-research-europe.​ Date of access: July 30, 2023.

Category: C

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 8



Survey analysis

Interviews with large amounts of individuals using a standardized questionnaire and allowing for subsequent statistical analyses on the gathered material are the usual basic ingredients of survey analysis. Two basic types of survey analysis can be distinguished: A first approach is to gather new data within a research project. A second approach is to analyze existing data, because many reputable international databases contain material that has already been gathered. In the OPPORTUNITIES project both approaches are combined. Secondary analysis of different waves of the European Social Survey will be combined with new data within the four OPPORTUNITIES countries (n = 1.500 in each of the four countries, i.e., Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy, resulting in total n = 6.000).

⇢ see also data, data set, data mining

References and further reading:

De Coninck, David, Stefan Mertens, and Leen d’Haenens. 2021. “Cross-Country Comparison of Media Selection and Attitudes Towards Narratives of Migration.” KU Leuven. [Working paper of the OPPORTUNITIES project 101004945 – H2020.]

Gideon, Lior, eds. 2012. Handbook of Survey Methodology for the Social Sciences. New York, NY: Springer.

Wolf, Christof, Dominique Joye, Tom W. Smith, and Fu Yang Chi, eds. 2016. The SAGE Handbook of survey Methodology. London et al.: SAGE Publications Ltd. DOI:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

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