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...)



Polyphony is a musical metaphor which emphasizes similar, but not identical aspects of diversity as multiperspectivity. Russian philosopher and literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin (1981) introduced the metaphor to literary studies, in order to describe forms of narrative discourse that include a wide range of voices and perspectives in representations of fictional worlds. Without using the word, opera singer Placido Domingo, a prominent supporter of the “New Narrative for Europe” initiative by José Manuel Durão Barroso, then President of the European Commission, in 2013, transferred the musical idea of polyphony to his vision of Europe. Domingo compared Europe to a grand opera and symphony, or an orchestra and choir whose members have learned to “listen more carefully” and “adjust to each others’ voices.” The Cross Talk events of the OPPORTUNITIES project seek to introduce polyphony to discourses on migration by making sure that not only narratives on migration (i.e., accounts by politicians or other public figures), but also stories of migration (i.e., testimonials and life stories of migrants and refugees) are heard in debates on immigration and integration.

⇢ see also Agency, Cross Talk, Diversity, Multiperspectivity

References and further reading:

Bakhtin, Mikhail M. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays by M.M Bakhtin, edited by Michael Holquist. Trans. by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin, TX and London: University of Texas Press.

Barroso, José Manuel Durão. 2013. “A New Narrative for Europe.” European Commission. URL:

Domingo, Placido. 2013. “Plácido Domingo Delivers Message to New Narrative for Europe Debate.” Youtube. URL:

Category: A, C

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

[CG / RS]



Inspired by social psychology, positioning approaches in narrative analysis investigate the nexus between processes of identity formation and narrative practices in various relational contexts (Bamberg 1997, 2004; Depperman 2015). In putting emphasis on “storytelling as an interactive activity in contrast to stories or narratives as textual products” (Bamberg and Wipff 2021, 72), the notion of “narrative practices” foregrounds the question of how storytellers and their interlocutors position themselves in relation to one another. Michael Bamberg and Zachary Wipff (2021, 75–76) argue that the process of positioning takes place at three different levels: The level-of-interaction refers to the ways in which storytellers position themselves vis-à-vis their audiences; the level-of-character-construction relates to how narratives position characters in relation to one another within unfolding stories; and the level-of-self-construction addresses the question of how storytellers position themselves vis-à-vis their own selves.

Recent work on the ethical and political functions of narrative has adopted the positioning approach to discuss the uses and misuses of storytelling in political and societal contexts. Samuli Björninen et al. (2020), for example, discuss narrative positioning in political storytelling, including possible “dangers of narrative” (Mäkelä et al. 2021) as well as harmful effects of storytelling (see also Nünning and Nünning 2017; Presser 2018). These approaches prove particularly beneficial when it comes to analyzing how (non-)migrant storytellers position themselves vis-à-vis value-oriented and normative discourses as they share their personal stories of migration, engage in practices of vicarious storytelling, or frame migration by drawing on specific narratives on migration.

⇢ see also Integration, Frames of migration, Narratives on migration, Stories of migration, Vicarious storytelling

References and further reading:

Bamberg, Michael. 1997. “Positioning between Structure and Performance.” Journal of Narrative and Life History 7.1–4: 335–342.

Bamberg, Michael. 2004. “Positioning with Davie Hogan: Stories, Tellings, and Identities.” In Narrative Analysis: Studying the Development of Individuals in Society, edited by Colette Daiute and Cynthia Lightfoot, 135–157. London: Sage.

Bamberg, Michael, and Zachary Wipff. 2021. “Re-Considering Counter-Narratives.” In Routledge Handbook of Counter-Narratives, edited by Klarissa Lueg and Marianne Wolff Lundholt, 70–82. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Björninen Samuli, Mari Hatavara, and Maria Mäkelä. 2020. „Narrative as Social Action: A Narratological Approach to Story, Discourse and Positioning in Political Storytelling.” Internatinal Journal of Social Research Methodoly 23.4: 437–449.

Depperman, Arnulf. 2015. “Positioning.” In The Handbook of Narrative Analysis, edited by Ana de Fina and Alexandra Georgakopoulou, 369–387. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Mäkelä, Maria, Samuli Björninen, Laura Karttunen, Matias Nurminen, Juha Raipola, Tyttu Rantanen. 2021. “Dangers of Narrative: A Critical Approach to Narratives of Personal Experience in Contemporary Story Economy.” Narrative 29.2: 139–159.

Nünning, Ansgar, and Vera Nünning. 2017. “Stories as ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’: George W. Bush’s Narratives of Crisis as Paradigm Examples of Ways of World- and Conflict-Making (and Conflict-Solving?).” In Narrative(s) in Conflict, edited by Wolfgang Müller-Funk and Clemens Ruthner, 187–229. Berlin and Boston, MA: De Gruyter.

Presser, Lois: Inside Story: How Narratives Drive Mass Harm. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Category: A

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




According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, poverty refers to “[t]he state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. Poverty is said to exist when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs. In this context, the identification of poor people first requires a determination of what constitutes basic needs. These may be defined as narrowly as ‘those necessary for survival’ [this is considered a state of absolute poverty] or as broadly as ‘those reflecting the prevailing standard of living in the community [this is considered a state of relative poverty].’” In low and middle income countries it is the absolute level of poverty, expressed in per capita income or its purchasing power parity in US dollars (e.g., $2,15 per day, see World Bank 2023), which is used as an indicator of poverty. OECD countries and many high-income countries use a concept of relative poverty to define what or whom counts as a poor household or person. For example, if a household’s income is less than half the median income of a country, it is considered to be relatively poor.

Poverty statistics of the EU as well as academic studies of poverty among migrants (see, e.g., Eurostat 2022, European Anti-Poverty Network 2015, and Eroğlu 2022) show that discrimination against migrants and their unequal treatment in employment and access to and ownership of assets (e.g., land, capital, and housing) increase their risk of poverty and social exclusion, not only over the lifetime of migrants but also over that of their children. Urgent actions are needed to improve access to the labor market for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; the integration of these groups into the labor market needs to be facilitated not only through voluntary/civil society (‘third sector’) and organizations, but also through more direct actions by state organizations at national and local levels (Bontenbal et al. 2023, Calò et al. 2022).

⇢ see also Politics of mobility, Vulnerability

References and further reading:

Bontenbal , Ilona, Francesca Calò, Tom Montgomery, and Simone Baglioni. 2023. “Rethinking the Role of Volunteering in the Labor Market Inclusion of Migrants.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 0: 1–20. DOI:

Calò, Francesca, Tom Montgomery, and Simone Baglioni. 2022. “Marginal Players? The Third Sector and Employability Services for Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the UK.” Voluntas 33: 872–885. DOI:

Eroğlu, Şebnem. 2022. Poverty and International Migration: A Multi-Site and Intergenerational Perspective. Bristol: Bristol University Press.

European Anti-Poverty Network. 2015. “Migrants in Europe’s Age of Austerity.” Brussels. [Report of the EAPN Task Force on Migration.] URL:​EAPN-2015-EAPN-migration-report-899.pdf.

Eurostat. 2022. “Migrant Integration Statistics – At Risk of Poverty and Social Exclusion.” Eurostat. URL:​statistics_-_at_risk_of_poverty_and_social_exclusion.

OECD. 2014. “The Measure of Poverty.” OECD Insights. URL:

The World Bank Group. 2021. “Poverty.” The World Bank. URL:

Category: A

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



Quantitative media studies

Complementary to the qualitative analysis of narratives in the OPPORTUNITIES project, there will be four strands of quantitative analysis.

The first instance of quantitative analysis is a secondary study of data gathered in the European Social Survey. This secondary analysis uses the landmark ESS survey data to trace the evolution of immigration attitudes across different subgroups of the European population.

The second one is a survey analysis (see also “Survey analysis”), where the immigration attitudes of the population in four European countries will be studied (Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy). Complementary insights will be gained by data in the Horizon 2020 project HumMingBird (see For both projects, the same questionnaire is used. Data have been gathered mid2021 in the four OPPORTUNITIES countries and additionally in Belgium, Spain, and Sweden.

A third application of a quantitative method is the corpus analytical study of tweets by politicians. The words used in tweets by politicians in the four countries will be compared, searching for news frames (see “News frames”).

The fourth application of quantitative analysis will be a social network analysis (see “Social network analysis”). Whereas a corpus analysis provides insights into the word usage of politicians (see “Content analysis and corpus linguistics”), the social network analysis provides insights into who follows whom, and who retweets messages from whom. Next to the focus on content (in the corpus analytical research), there will be a focus on the interaction structures among tweets by politicians.

⇢ see also Content analysis and corpus linguistics, News frame, Social network analysisSurvey analysis

Category: A

Work Package: 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]



In the English language, the concept of ‘race’ has changed throughout history. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term race (a derivate from the French and Italian terms race and razza, respectively) enters the English language in the 16th century, describing “a group of people, animals, or plants, connected by common descent or origin.” There is no reference to biological or other differences such as colour of skin in this definition. By the late 18th century, race becomes “any of the (putative) major groupings of humankind, usually defined in terms of distinct physical features or shared ethnicity, and sometimes (more controversially) considered to encompass common biological or genetic characteristics.” The latter reflects, albeit in a destructive way, the influence of scientific methods of observation and categorisation of enlightenment and modernism. The early ‘scientific’ and superficial categorisation of humankind by physical markers of colour of skin and other physical features have been debunked by genetics and the fact that humankind share the same genetic make-up. ‘Race’ should therefore be treated as a social construct and as such has often been used as a basis for division of people into hierarchies of different categories and groups, justifying practices of othering and discrimination (see also the entries on “othering” and “discrimination,” respectively), or as “technique of power” (Titley 2020, 45).

⇢ see also antiracism, Discrimination, Epistemic injustice, Inequality, Othering, Politics of mobility, racism

References and further reading:

Gilroy. Paul. 2000. Between Camps: Nations, Cultures and the Allure of Race. London, UK: Routledge.

Penket, Laura. 2006. “Racism and Social Policy.’ In Social Policy: Theories, Concepts and Issues, edited by Michael Lavalette and Alan Pratt, 87–104. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

Titley, Gavan. 2020. Is Free Speech Racist? Cambridge: Polity Press.

Category: A

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




Racism is a key term in migration discourses, where it usually takes the form of narratives on racism, including second-order observations of institutional or endemic racism. Notable exceptions are interventions backed up by narratives of personal experience (see, e.g., Eddo-Lodge 2017). Notoriously difficult to define from a theoretical (etic) perspective, racism is easily identified when experienced first-hand (emic perspective).

This programmatic perspective shift from an approach to racism which focuses on in-groups rather than out-groups is in line with the core concern of OPPORTUNITIES, the notion of level telling fields (see the entry on “Level Telling Field”). From this point of view, an out-group-oriented definition challenges both political complacency – i.e., the argument that racism has long been overcome in Western liberal democracies – and the right-wing backlash against anti-racism, which initiates pseudo-debates on cultural appropriation and restitution, designed to re-introducing racism through the back door. OPPORTUNITIES therefore advocates defining racism not merely as an ideology, a mindset or attitude, a set of discriminatory practices (e.g., stereotypes, hate speech, or verbal abuse), or (the threat of) physical violence, but also in terms of the effects of such ideologies and practices on those concerned. This is more than a rhetorical maneuver or an academic exercise in perspective-taking: it is the core of a new strategic anti-racist narrative.

This strategic narrative, which understands racism as a certain type of experience, empowers, first, the ‘experiencers,’ in narratological terms, i.e., those who are confronted with and forced to endure racism. It foregrounds, secondly, the alertness and vigilance as well as anxiety and fear felt by people who experience racism. It uses the concept of terror, thirdly, to describe such effects in a systematic manner. And it draws an analogy between the experience of racist terror and other experiences of terrorism. The implications are clear: if “racism is terrorism” (Diallo and Sommer, forthcoming), it should be taken as seriously as, and be prosecuted like, other kinds of politically, ideologically, ethnically, or religiously motivated terrorism.

⇢ see also Anti-racismNarratives on migration, Othering, Refugee archetype, Stories of migration, Terrorism

References and further reading:

Diallo, Moustapha M., and Roy Sommer. Forthcoming. Racism Is Terrorism: A Manifesto.

Eddo-Lodge, Reni. 2017. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. London: Bloomsbury.

Titley, Gavan. 2020. Is Free Speech Racist? Cambridge: Polity Press.

Category: C

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




In the OPPORTUNITIES project, re-enactment refers to the process of retelling migrant narratives. During Cross Talk events, NGOs and citizens re-tell testimonials of migrants and refugees to establish a connection between in-groups and out-groups. Re-enactment requires both empathy, i.e., each participant’s willingness to listen to the others’ stories and to take their perspectives; and political listening to understand the other’s situation (e.g., an individual’s motivation and reasons for migration). It is through such means of recognition that the process of re-enactment enables migrants and refugees to assume agency in the public sphere.

⇢ see also Agency, Cross Talk, Empathy, Empowerment

Category: C

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

[CG / MD]



According to the 1951 Convention and Protocol relating to the status of refugees provided by the United Nations, “[a] refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence” and who “has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group” (see also UNHCR 2021b). Such forcefully displaced migrants “are defined and protected in international law and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk” (UNHCR 2021, n. p.). Refugees do not leave their home country of their own accord but because they have no other choice (Goubin et al. 2022, 7).

⇢ see also Asylum; Asylum seeker, Expatriate, Forced migration or displacement, Labor migration, Migrant

References and further reading:

Goubin, Silke, Anna Ruelens, and Ides Nicaise. 2022. “Trends in Attitudes towards Migration in Europe: A Comparative Analysis.” KU Leuven, HIVA – Research Institute for Work and Society. [Working paper of the OPPORTUNITIES project 101004945 – H2020].

United Nations. 1951. Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Date of access: September 10, 2023.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 2021a. “Refugees.” UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency. URL: Date of access: August 24, 2021.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 2021b. “What Is a Refugee?” UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency. URL: Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Category: D, E

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

[SG / SM]


Refugee archetype

The term refugee archetype refers to a set of stereotypical notions of refugees and displaced people that is typically evoked through the ways in which these groups are framed in the media. Marta Szczepanik (2016, 32) argues that mass media distribute a “[publicly] imagined ‘refugee ideal,’” which is based on a “universal set of normative characteristics (such as poverty, passivity or helplessness, [and] gender-related behaviour patterns).” This set then generates a “normative ‘refugee archetype’” (24) that underlies debates on whether migrants, and especially asylum seekers, are “legitimate” and hence “deserving” refugees or not (De Coninck 2020).

The archetype of a “deserving refugee” is characterized by a strong bias concerning various dimensions of a migrant’s identity, including their gender, race, ethnicity, and origin. According to Szczepanik (2016), women refugees and displaced children are typically depicted as vulnerable, passive victims, who are in urgent need of help and protection, whereas male migrants are “repeatedly portrayed as [a] dangerous, barbaric collective” (24), who mainly seek to abuse social welfare systems (26). Research on media coverage of migration, moreover, reveals that European mass media tend to present refugees from non-European countries as potentially endangering Western values or the European way of life (Arcimaviciene and Hamza Baglama 2018; Schröter 2023, 28–29). By reproducing and perpetuating refugee archetypes, mass media can contribute to endorsing the (problematic) view that a “good refugee” is “female, poor, helpless, and from a specific country,” while “bad refugees” are “people who intend to abuse the social welfare system of welcoming European countries, and who lack all the attributes of good refugees” (De Cock et al. 2018, 306).

⇢ see also Frame analysis (aka framing analysis), Frames of migration, Gender, Othering, Race and racism, Victimization

References and further reading:

Arcimaviciene, Liudmila, and Sercan Hamza Baglama. 2018. “Migration, Metaphor and Myth in Media Representations: The Ideological Dichotomy of ‘Them’ and ‘Us.’” SAGE Open April-June 2018: 1–13.

De Cock, Rozane, Stefan Mertens, Ebba Sundin, Lutgard Lams, Valeriane Mistiaen, Willem Joris, and Leen d’Haenens. 2018. “Refugees in the News: Comparing Belgian and Swedish Newspaper Coverage of the European Refugee Situation During Summer 2015.” Communications 43.3: 301–323.

De Coninck, David. 2020. “Migrant Categorizations and European Public Opinion: Diverging Attitudes Towards Immigrants and Refugees.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 46.9: 1667–1686.

Schröter, Juliane. 2023. “The Austrian Press Discourse on Refugees, Migrants, and Migration: A Corpus Linguistic Approach.” In: The Representation of REFUGEES and MIGRANTS in European National Media Discourses from 2015 to 2017: A Contrastive Approach (Corpus Linguistics), edited by Annamária Fábián, 23–66. Berlin: Springer Nature.

Szczepanik, Marta. 2016. “The ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Refugees? Imagined Refugeehood(s) in the Media Coverage of the Migration Crisis.” Journal of Identity and Migration Studies 10.2: 23–33.

Category: B

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[BBK / CG]


Refugee camp

A camp is usually referred to as an enclosed outdoor space for transitory, spontaneous settlement. In dictionaries, the notion of the camp is, first of all, associated with the military lexicon: it refers to the site of battle or the place where an army settles before battle. However, camp qualifies as an indoor space when it indicates a site of detention, a prison where people are kept unwillingly. Since World War II, the camp is also associated with the idea of concentration camp and labor camp as mass murder sites.

A refugee camp designates the organized facilities where refugees and asylum seekers reside and are provided with basic needs – food, shelter and medical assistance – while waiting to be granted asylum or a visa. The refugee camp is the first safe space where refugees who cross a border – whether via sea or land – are welcomed and assisted. Refugee camps should be places of temporary and transitory passage but they often become a limbo for displaced migrants; see also The UN RefugeeAgency definition of the term. The OPPORTUNITIES project aims at acknowledging the complex and multifaceted notions of the camp by highlighting its temporary nature but also its importance as a space where narratives of and on migration begin to develop and be shared.

⇢ see also Asylum; Asylum seekerMigrantRefugee

References and further reading:

Braidotti, Rosi, and Hlavajova, Maria. 2018. Posthuman Glossary. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Nail, Thomas. 2015. The Figure of the Migrant. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 2021. Refugee Camps. UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency.

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