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...)



In common language usage, vulnerability is about susceptibility or being open to attack and injury (see the definition in the OED). As a concept vulnerability is applicable to geographic/environmental as well as social settings. A geographic region could be vulnerable to floods or other disasters in which case groups of people could be at risk and vulnerable to death and injuries as well as loss of resources and livelihood (Birckmann 2013). In a social setting, by contrast, people could be susceptible to and at risk of loss of rights, resources, etc. as well as social exclusion due to, for example, their social background, race, gender, citizenship rights, or migration status. In this context, susceptibility implies being at risk, which is measurable at an individual level and which could be mitigated by appropriate social policy of administrative rules and regulations. An individualistic approach to social vulnerability may not negate susceptibility of groups based on their common characteristics of race, gender, or migration status, but it may well underestimate the structural sources of group vulnerability due to, for instance, unequal distribution of assets and economic resources as well as the lack of political and social power, of a public voice, and of social rights of migrants.

⇢ see also Equality, Risk

References and further reading:

Birkmann, Jörn, ed. 2013. Measuring Vulnerability to Natural Hazards: Towards Disaster Resilient Societies. 2nd edition. Tokyo et al.: United Nations University.

OECD. 2007. “Glossary of Statistical Terms.” OECD. URL:

Category: A

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



Welcome culture

The term welcome culture refers to the recognition and appreciation of social and cultural diversity. It implies a positive, welcoming, inclusive, and appreciative attitude toward migrants, which manifests itself in cooperate, neighborly, and administrative everyday practices. Welcome culture is not only directed toward migrants and refugees who count as new arrivals in a country, but it also addresses migrants who have already been living in this country and perhaps even adopted new citizenship. The main objective of practices of welcome culture are to ensure attractive living conditions for every member of society, irrespective of their origin, as well as to establish integration and inclusion as central social duties (Huke 2022, 299).

Media coverage of the long summer of migration in 2015 mainly used the term welcome culture to refer to German solidarity with refugees (Gebauer 2023). When then chancellor Angela Merkel refused to close the country’s borders, allowing an unlimited number of refugees to seek asylum in Germany, an impressively large part of German civil society decided to volunteer in refugee help (Becker 2022, ch. 3; Fleischmann 2020). The humanitarian narrative of German welcome culture which emerged from these events marked an important discursive shift in German debates on migration: Before the European refugee ‘crisis,’ welcome culture had been mainly used as the official term to denote governmental measures of tackling the shortage of skilled workers in Germany, including the improvement of educational and employment opportunities for the population already resident in the country as well as the immigration management of skilled workers from abroad who should cover the need for employable people (Schäfer 2023, 329–331).

⇢ see also Attitudes, beliefs, and values, Conviviality, Diversity, Inclusion, Integration, Solidarity (with migrants)

References and further reading:

Becker, Uwe. 2022. Deutschland und seine Flüchtlinge: Das Wechselbad der Diskurse im langen Sommer der Flucht 2015. Bielefeld: transcript.

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

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.]

Huke, Nikolai. 2022. “Willkommenskultur.” In Begriffe der Gegenwart: Ein Kulturwissenschaftliches Glossar, edited by Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber and Manuel Liebig, 299–304. Wien and Cologne: Böhlau Verlag.

Schäfer, Philipp. 2023. 2023. “Willkommenskultur.” In Umkämpfte Begriffe der Migration: Ein Inventar, edited by Inken Bartels, Isabella Löhr, Christiane Reinecke, Philipp Schäfer, and Laura Stielike, 329–342. Bielefeld: transcript.

Category: A

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