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...)


Family reunification

Family reunification is a procedure allowing for the durable settlement of family members (spouse and child) who have come to join a third country whose nationality they do not possess. For example, the first migrations of Senegalese women to France, Spain, and Italy were strongly marked by family reunification.

⇢ see also: Migration

References and further reading:

Tandian, Aly. 2008. “Les migrants sénégalais en Italie. Entre regrets et resignation.” In Le Sénégal des migrations : mobilités, identités et sociétés, edited by MomarCoumba Diop, 368–389. Paris: Editions Khartala.

Category: A

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



Fictions of migration

In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (2021 [1989/1962]), arguably – in the second half of the twentieth century – the most influential sociological account of the “bourgeois” public sphere, Jürgen Habermas emphasizes the literary character of his liberal model of civil society. The relevance of the writer as a public intellectual in Noam Chomsky’s (2017) sense is particularly obvious in conversations on racism, diversity, and migration. As Roy Sommer (2001) has argued, fictions of migration therefore occupy a special place among stories of migration, exploiting, and relying on what British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak (2020) has recently called “the transformative power of stories to bring people together, expand our cognitive horizons, and gently unlock our true potential for empathy and wisdom” (88). Fictions of migration can take many forms, including autobiographical novels, coming-of-age stories, the classical bildungsroman, revisionist historical fiction, and transcultural novels which challenge essentialist notions of race, culture, and gender.

⇢ see also:  Figure of the migrantMigrantRepresentation of migration

References and further reading:

Chomsky, Noam. 2017. Who Rules the World? London: Penguin.

Habermas, Jürgen. 2021. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Shafak, Elif. 2020. How to Stay Sane in an Age of Division. London: Profile Books.

Sommer, Roy. 2001. Fictions of Migration: Ein Beitrag zur Theorie und Gattungstypologie des zeitgenössischen interkulturellen Romans in Großbritannien. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.

Category: B

Work Package: 2, 5



Figure of the migrant

Unlike the term migrant, the term figure of the migrant refers not to individuals, but to narrative representations of migrants in fictional and nonfictional discourses. Since the 1950s and 1960s, when several European countries first signed bilateral labor migration agreements, migration to Europe has changed significantly with respect to countries of origin and migrants’ motivations (for a comprehensive overview of the history of European migration since the midtwentieth century, see Bade 2003, Ch. 4–5; De Haas 2018, 5–12; Van Mol and De Valk 2016). These changes are also reflected in narrative representations of the figure of the migrant, with themes of fictions of migration ranging from earlier fictions of assimilation such as Joan Riley’s The Unbelonging (1985) to more recent works like Dina Nayeri’s The Ungrateful Refugee (2019).

⇢ see also: Fictions of migrationMigrantRepresentation of migration

References and further reading:

Bade, Klaus J. 2003. Migration in European History. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

De Haas, Hein. 2018. European Migrations: Dynamics, Drivers, and the Role of Policies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. URL:

Fassmann, Heinz. 2009. “European Migration: Historical Overview and Statistical Problems.” In Statistics and Reality: Concepts and Measurements of Migration in Europe. 21–44. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Van Mol, Christof, and de Valk, Helga. 2016. "Migration and Immigrants in Europe: A Historical and Demographic Perspective." In Integration Processes and Policies in Europe: Contexts, Levels and Actors. 31–55. Cham: Springer.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5, 8



Filter bubble

Stefan Mertens, Leen d’Haenens and Rozane De Cock (2019, 142-143) observed that “[p]roponents of the filter bubble theory stress that within non-diverse, closed online groups where there is no room for alternative voices, opinions tend to ‘echo’, which locks users into their own – possibly false, but certainly limited – beliefs.” Eli Pariser (2011) similarly warns against the rise of online ‘micro-universes’ of personalized information – bubbles that filter out any contradicting information, letting in only what we want to hear. The term filter bubble is most notoriously used by Eli Pariser (2011) but other terms referring to the same phenomenon circulate as well such as “echo chambers” (Garrett 2009) or “partial information blindness” (Haim et al. 2018). Mertens et al. (2019) found that attitudes about immigration tend to be either far more positive or far more negative among frequent consumers of online news when they are compared with people who mostly get their news from legacy media (see also the entry on “legacy media”). Recently the concept of the filter bubble has been criticized as being used too frequently and hence the assumption of its reality overshadows the evidence of its existence (Bruns 2019).

⇢ see also: Attitudes, beliefs, and valuesLegacy media

References and further reading:

Bruns, Axel. 2019. “Filter Bubble.” Internet Policy Review 8.4: 2–14. URL: Date of access: August 4, 2020.

Eisele, Olga, Tobias Heidenreich, Olga Litvyak, and Hajo G. Boomgaarden. 2023. “Capturing a News Frame – Comparing Machine-Learning Approaches to Frame Analysis with Different Degrees of Supervision” In Communication Methods and Measures 17.3: 205–226.

Garrett, R. Kelly. 2009. “Echo Chambers Online? Politically Motivated, Selective Exposure among Internet News Users.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 14.2: 265–285.

Haim, Mario, Andras Graefe, and Hans-Bernd Brosius. 2018. “Burst of the Filter Bubble?” Digital Journalism 6.3: 330–343.

Mertens, Stefan, Leen d’Haenens, Rozane De Cock. 2019. “Online News Consumption and Public Sentiment towards Refugees: Is There a Filter Bubble at Play? Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Sweden: A Comparison.” In Images of Immigrants and Refugees in Western Europe: Media Representations, Public Opinion and Refugees’ Experiences, edited by Leen d’Haenens, Willem Joris, and François Heinderyckx, 141–157. Leuven: Leuven University Press. URL: Date of access: September 8, 2023.

Pariser, Eli. 2011. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. London: Penguin.

Turcotte, Jason, Lauren Furey, J. Omar Garcia-Ortega, Nicolas Hernandez; Carrissa Siccion, and Emily Stephenson. 2021. “The Novelty News Frame: How Social Identity Influences Policy Attention of Minority Presidential Candidates.” In Newspaper Research Journal 42.1: 95–110.

Category: A

Work Package: 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]


Focus group

In the context of OPPORTUNITIES, the term focus group refers to the participants in Cross Talk events. The project conceives of focus groups as experimental research communities.

⇢ see also: Cross Talk

Category: E

Work Package: 3, 6, 7



Forced migration or displacement

The term forced migration – or forced displacement – refers to those who had to leave their place of usual residence under duress of war, conflict, natural or environmental disasters. For more details, see the entry on the term in the Migration Data Portal.

⇢ see also: Asylum; Asylum seekerMigrantMigration

References and further reading:

The International Organization for Migration. 2021. “Forced Migration or Displacement.” Migration Data Portal. URL:

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



Frame analysis (aka framing analysis)

Kirk Hallahan (1999) points out that the origins of the use of the concept of framing can be traced to the early seventies, with the seminal contributions by Gregory Bateson (1972) and Erving Goffman (1974). These scholars already acknowledged that reality as such is too overwhelming and that people need shortcuts to make sense of this reality, hence the need for so-called frames. The most frequently quoted definition of “framing” in media and communication studies, however, was provided by Robert Entman. He suggested that frames “select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described” (Entman 1993, 53) Sunday Olasunkanmi Arowolo aptly describes what the application of the framing cocontemporary media and communication studies means: “Framing theory suggests that how something is presented to the audience (called “the frame”) influences the choices people make about how to process that information. Frames are abstractions that work to organize or structure message meaning. The most common use of frames is in terms of the frame the news or media place on the information they convey. Framing theory explains that the media create this frame by introducing news items with predefined and narrow contextualisation. Frames can be designed to enhance understanding or are used as cognitive shortcuts to link stories to the bigger picture.” (Arowolo 2017, 1)

⇢ see also: Filter bubble, Frames of migration

References and further reading:

Arowolo, Sunday Olasunkanmi. 2017. Understanding Framing Theory. Lagos: State University of Lagos Press.

Bateson, Gregory. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays. In Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. Northvale, NJ and London: Jason Aronson Inc.

Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Entman, Robert. 1993. “Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm.” In Journal of Communication. 43.4: 51–58.

Hallahan, Kirk. 1999. “Seven Models of Framing: Implications for Public Relations.” In Journal of Public Relations Research. 11.3: 205–242.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]


Frames of migration

Narrative framing has a big impact on how we perceive migration, flight, and forced displacement as well as other forms of transnational mobility. Drawing on Erving Goffman’s (1986, 21) understanding of frames as “schemata of interpretation” that influence how we make sense of and come to terms with events and phenomena, Doris Bachmann-Medick and Jens Kugele (2018, 3) argue that “contemporary frames and framings of discourses on migration” not only “constitute methodologically and epistemologically self-reflexive approaches to the complex field of migration, but they are also effective in shaping the field of socio-political experience and behavior that directly impacts the lives of migrants.” Media coverage plays a crucial role in such processes of framing, for mass and mainstream media are constantly producing numerous migration narratives that have a major influence on public opinion and attitudes toward migration.

There are two main types of framing that mass media resort to when depicting migration and related phenomena: generic or ‘broad’ framing and issue-specific framing (Helbling 2014, 22-23; see also Bahtić-Kunrath and Gebauer 2023, 9). While the former focuses primarily on the overall context of migration discourses, dealing with abstract notions such as positivity and negativity, the latter thematizes clearly defined issues and concerns related to the topic such as security, terrorism, economy, politics, pragmatism, othering, deservingness, and humanitarianism (Bahtić-Kunrath and Gebauer 2023, 17). Previous research on representations of migration in European mass media suggests that generic or broad frames of migration with negative connotations tend to outweigh those with positive connotations (Eberl et al. 2018; Schrover and Schinkel 2013), which, in turn, has a negative impact on public discourses and attitudes toward migration (De Coninck et al. 2021; Eberl et al. 2018; Heidenreich et al. 2019; Gottlob and Boomgaarden 2020). Issue-specific framing of migration, on the other hand, can take both a negative and a positive stance on migration, often depending on context. An economic framing of migration, for example, can stress either the advantage of immigration as a means to address the lack of skilled workers or the disadvantage of immigration if the economic burden of refugee assistance is foregrounded. A humanitarian framing can either focus on the moral obligation to help refugees (positive framing) or contribute to discursive practices of presenting migrants as victims lacking individual agency (negative framing).

⇢ see also Content analysis and corpus linguistics, Discourse analysis, Frame analysis (aka framing analysis), Narratives on migration, Media bias, Othering, Positioning, Quantitative media studies, Refugee archetype

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.

Bahtić-Kunrath, Birgit, and Carolin Gebauer. 2023. “Narratives of Crisis vs. Narratives of Solidarity: Analyzing Discursive Shifts in Austrian Media Coverage of Refugee Movements from Middle Eastern Countries (2015) and Ukraine (2022) from an Interdisciplinary Perspective.” University of Wuppertal. [Working paper of the OPPORTUNITIES project 101004945 – H2020.]

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.]

Eberl, Jakob-Moritz, Christine E. Meltzer, Tobias Heidenreich, Beatriz Herrero, Nora Theorin, Fabienne Lind, Rosa Berganza, Hajo G. Boomgaarden, Christian Schemer, and Jesper Strömbäck. 2018. “The European Media Discourse on Immigration and Its Effects: A Literature Review.” Annals of the International Communication Association 42.3: 207–223.

Gottlob, Anita, and Hajo Boomgaarden. 2020. “The 2015 Refugee Crisis, Uncertainty and the Media: Representations of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants in Austrian and French Media.” Communications 45.1: 841–863.

Heidenreich, Tobias, Fabienne Lind, Jakob-Morith Eberl, and Hajo G. Boomgaarden. 2019. “Media Framing Dynamics of the ‘European Refugee Crisis’: A Comparative Topic Modelling Approach.” Journal of Refugee Studies 32: 172–182.

Helbling, Marc. 2014. “Framing Immigration in Western Europe.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 40.1: 21–41.

Schrover, Marlou, and Willem Schinkel. 2013. “Introduction: the Language of Inclusion and Exclusion in the Context of Immigration and Integration.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36.7: 1123–1141.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[BBK / CG]


Freedom of movement

 In international migration literature, freedom of movement refers to an individual’s right to freely leave (and return to) a country and enter another country under some kind of bilateral or multilateral agreement (as in the ECOWAS or the EU). According to Article 2(5) of the Schengen Borders Code, EU citizens and legally resident third-country nationals – i.e., nationals of a country which is not a member state of the EU (see the EMN Glossary; entry on “third country”) – enjoy the right to move freely across boundaries of European Member States and to reside in other EU Member States than their home country or country of legal residence (see also the EMN Glossary; entry on “right to free movement”). In the framework of the ECOWAS Protocol, freedom of movement refers to a person’s ability to move within a specific territory as he or she has the right to leave a country while maintaining the right to return to this country. Senegalese migrants, for example, often travel to Libya via Niger, an ECOWAS member country, hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.

⇢ see also: MigrationMobility

References and further reading:

Journal Officiel de la CEDEAO. 1979. Protocole sur la libre circulation, le droit de résidence et d’établissement, zone Cedeao. URL: RG-39769.pdf

European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. 2016. “Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the Rules Governing the Movement of Persons across Borders (Schengen Borders Code) (Codification).” In Official Journal of the European Union L77/11. URL:

Category: D

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

[AT / MM]



The term gender refers to “the socially constructed attributes, roles, activities, responsibilities and needs predominantly connected to being male or female in given societies or communities at a given time” (European Migration Network [EMN] Glossary; entry on “gender”). The International Organization for Migration highlights that a person’s gender and gender identity, as well as their sex and sexual orientation, can have a significant bearing on migration experiences or mobility experiences. Female refugees or marginalized groups (e.g., members of the LGBTQ community), for instance, may be more vulnerable or face more problems and risks than male migrants. Power relations prevailing in a specific society or culture may influence the significance of migration and mobility in different ways for men, women, and transgender persons (see Güell and Parella 2021, Jolly and Reeves 2005). Acknowledging that gender awareness should play a vital role in fair and inclusive discourses of migration, OPPORTUNITIES seeks to promote stories of migration that work towards gender equality.

⇢ see also: EqualityDiversityMigrationMobility, Politics of mobility, Refugee archetype, Risk, Victimization, Vulnerability

References and further reading:

European Commission. 2020. European Migration Network (EMN) Glossary. URL: Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Güell, Berta, and Parella, Sònia. 2021. Guidelines on How to Include the Gender Perspective in the Analysis of Migration Narratives. [Publication by the Horizon 2020 project BRIDGES: Assessing the Production and Impact of Migrant Narratives.] Barcelona: Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. URL:

Jolly, Susie, and Reeves, Hazel. 2005. Gender and Migration: Overview Report. Brighton, UK: BRIDGE: Development – Gender / Institute of Development Studies. URL:

The International Organization for Migration. 2021. Gender and Migration. IOM: UN Migration. URL:

Category: A

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