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...)


Cultivation theory

Research on the cultivation theory established by George Gerbner and Larry Gross (1976) proves that repeated exposure to media ‘cultivates’ or shapes individuals’ attitudes. A classic example of the theory of Gerbner is the “Mean World Syndrome.” Heavy television viewers see a lot of killings on television, hence they overestimate the amount of killings in the real world. In Page 16 the OPPORTUNITIES survey, we measure how often people watch television (and other media), and how positive or negative their views on immigration are. The hypothesis is that people who watch more television hold more negative attitudes towards immigration, since television representations of immigration tend to be negative (see Van der Linden and Jacobs 2017).

⇢ see also: Quantitative media studiesRepresentation of migrationSurvey analysis

References and further reading:

Gerbner, George, and Larry Gross. 1976. “The Scary World of TV’s Heavy Viewer.” In Psychology Today. 9.11: 41–45.

Van der Linden, Meta, and Laura Jacobs. 2017. “The Impact of Cultural, Economic, and Safety Issues in Flemish Television News Coverage (2003–13) of North African Immigrants on Perceptions of Intergroup Threat.” In Ethnic and Racial Studies. 40.15: 2823–2841.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4

[DC / LH / SM]



Data is a piece of information which can be in numerical or other forms. In order to know how many migrants (defined as those who were born in a different place) live in a city, researchers ask the residents of this city (i.e. the subjects of study) about their ‘place of birth.’ If data is collected from a subject without identifying him or her, it is called anonymous data; otherwise the data is called personal data. All personal data contain sensitive information that people may not wish to share with others and therefore data protection measures such as the removal of any references to names, addresses, and the like must be put in place in order to protect peoples’ information and privacy. This process is called anonymization of data. Researchers distinguish between primary and secondary data collection. Primary data collection refers to ‘original’ collection of data – the researcher collects data directly from a person (e.g. by asking people directly about their place of birth) or indirectly (e.g. by asking a family member about the place of birth of all family members). Secondary data collection refers to the collection of data from an agency/entity that has previously collected this data directly from subjects of study and is now in possession of this data. One of the most commonly used sources of secondary data is a census.

⇢ see also: Data mining

References and further reading:

Makkonen, Timo. 2007. Measuring Discrimination: Data Collection and EU Equality Law. Luxembourg: European Communities. URL:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5



Data mining

Data mining refers to the process of using statistics, computer science, and computing technology to detect or discover some connection among variables in a data set. It is concerned with the secondary analysis of large databases. Data mining is also referred to as “knowledge discovery in databases” (Analytics Software and Solutions 2021). For more information, see the explanation provided by Analytics Software and Solutions.

⇢ see also Data

References and further reading:

Analytics Software and Solutions. 2021. Data Mining: What It Is and Why It Matters. SAS. URL:

Hand, David J. 1998. “Data Mining: Statistics and More?” In The American Statistician. 52.2: 112–118.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5



Demographics of migration

We need to pay attention to the demographics of migration in order to be able to understand migration statistics which are the foundation of official rhetoric on migration. When using national or international statistics on migration, it is important to refer to and include the official definition of the term migration in any analysis of the data. In demographic terms, the concept of migration has two dimensions: a temporal and a spatial one. Migration is usually defined as the movement of individuals, households, or other groups of people from one geographic area to another (spatial dimension) that results in a change of residence either immediately or over a period of time (temporal dimension). According to the first revision of the UN’s Recommendations on Statistics of International Migration (1998) “an international migrant is defined as any person who changes his or her place of usual residence. A person’s country of usual residence is that in which a person lives, that is to say, a country in which a person has a place to live where he or she spends the daily period of rest […]. Note that temporary travel abroad for the purposes of recreation, business, medical treatment, etc., does not entail a change in the country of usual residence.” (9, §32) The ‘change of residence’ criterion applies to both internal and international migration. In national censuses the place of usual residence is used to mean the geographical place where the enumerated person usually resides.

⇢ see also DataData miningMigration

References and further reading:

United Nations. 1998. Recommendations on Statistics of International Migration – Revision 1. New York, NY: Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Statistics Division.

Category: A, D

Work Package: 2, 4, 5, 8




Diaspora is a term whose initial usage dates back to the Greek translation of the Bible. In its classical usage diaspora refers to the dispersion of Jews throughout the world in the aftermath of slavery in ancient Egypt and the destruction of Solomon’s temple in the Mesopotamian Empire. This classical definition of diaspora has been used to describe communities that have moved and settled in other ‘lands’ in the aftermath of preceding traumatic events. The Armenian diaspora, the Irish diaspora and the ‘old’ African diaspora are examples of classical diasporas. Since the 1990s, the term diaspora has undergone a paradigmatic shift, that is, its meaning has transcended its classical usage. Constructivist approaches situate diaspora within discourses of multiculturalism, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism. Rather than attempt to confine diaspora to its classical definition, proponents of constructivism suggest a new operationalization of the term in light of increasingly mixed global flows of migration (see Cohen and Fischer 2020). Hence diaspora can be considered a theoretical concept that shares a semantic domain with related terms such as migrant, expatriate, refugee (see Brubaker 2005). In the age of cyberspace, diaspora can be re-created via memory through shared cultural artefacts and a shared imagination (see Cohen 1997, Georgiou 2010).

⇢ see also ExpatriateMigrantRefugee

References and further reading:

Brubaker, Rogers. 2005. “The ‘Diaspora’ Diaspora.” In Ethnic and Racial Studies 28.1: 1–19.

Cohen, Robin. 1997. Global Diasporas: An Introduction. London: UCL Press.

Cohen, Robin, and Carolin Fischer. 2020. “Diaspora Studies: An Introduction.” In Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies. 1–19. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Georgiou, Myria. 2010. “Identity, Space and the Media: Thinking through Diaspora.” In Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales. 26.1: 17–35.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5



Discourse analysis

Simply put, discourse is language in context. Linguists taking their cue from Ferdinand de Saussure’s seminal work have privileged the analysis of simplified or idealized linguistic expressions that are uncoupled from a specific communicative context. Discourse – that is, concrete instances of language use – was deemed too complex to be approached from the “structuralist” perspective pioneered by de Saussure. Discourse analysis refers to a wide range of methods in the humanities and social sciences that oppose this structuralist paradigm and aim to integrate context as a key focus for the study of language. Context should be understood broadly: in the analysis of oral discourse, it refers to the communicative situation in which language is embedded (who is speaking, to whom, and within what kind of practice); more generally, context involves the social practices and institutions, as well as the culturally transmitted values and views, that are referenced by the speaker or writer. Discourse analysis thus denotes the study of how meaning emerges as language users position themselves within (but also, potentially, distance themselves from) cultural assumptions and expectations that are informed by the communicative context. Identity, both personal and collective, is a typical focus of discourse analysis, and so is the political relevance of language use. Narrative analysis as the OPPORTUNITIES project practices it can be understood as a particular instance of discourse analysis applied to narrative texts or utterances.

⇢ see also Frames of migration, NarrativeNarrative analysisNarrative technique

References and further reading:

De Saussure, Ferdinand. 2010. Cours de linguistique générale. Paris: Payot.

Georgakopoulou, Alexandra, and Goutsos, Dionysis. 2004. Discourse Analysis: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Tannen, Deborah; Hamilton, Heidi E. and Schiffrin, Debora. 2018. The Handbook of Discourse Analysis: Second Edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Category: A

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




The term discrimination refers to any distinction, exclusion, or preference on the basis of any personal, legal, or other characteristics. According to Article 1.1.(a) of the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958, No. 111 by the International Labour Organization, the term discrimination includes “any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.” One may add migration and residency status to the list of grounds for discrimination.

⇢ see also: Epistemic injusticeGender, InequalityMigration, Politics of mobility, Race

References and further reading:

International Labour Office. 1958. Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958, No. 111. URL:

Category: A

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




According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term diversity refers to “[t]he condition or quality of being diverse, different, or varied.” This is frequently associated with multicultural or multiethnic societies (see, e.g., Parekh 2006, Vertovec 2015). However, the term is not restricted to cultural or ethnic diversity, but may also involve differences related to age, class, gender, sexual identity and orientation, ideology, and other factors that influence a person’s identity. Diversity approaches in cultural studies and the social sciences construct diversity as chances or opportunities rather than risks or dangers (Gregull 2018). Adopting this point of view, the OPPORTUNITIES project envisions Europe as a union of diverse multicultural societies.

⇢ see also: EqualityGenderNarrative identity, Othering, Diversity

References and further reading:

Gregull, Elisabeth. 2018. Dossier Migration: Migration und Diversity. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. URL:

Parekh, Bhikhu. 2006. Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Vertovec, Steven. 2015. Diversities Old and New: Migration and Socio-Spatial Patterns in New York, Singapore and Johannesburg. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8




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]