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...)


Narrative technique

A narrative technique is a particular way of telling a story. For instance, sociolinguist William Labov (1972) uses the word coda to refer to the final section of an oral narrative, in which the narrative’s “point” and relevance to the speaker and interlocutors are made explicit. Including such a coda is an example of narrative technique. Flashbacks and flashforwards, a relatively common device in literary and film narratives, are also narrative techniques. Importantly, a technique is not merely a device for conveying a pre-existing narrative meaning, but a form that actively influences meaning construction on the part of both the storytellers and their audience. In other words, narrative techniques are never ‘neutral’ but always echo a certain ideological or evaluative position expressed by the story, even if this position is never made explicit.

⇢ see also Narrative, Narrative analysis, Metaphor, Multiperspectivity, Perspective (first, second, third)Polyphony

References and further reading:

Labov, William. 1972. Language in the Inner City: Studies in the Black English Vernacular. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5



Narratives on migration

Narratives on migration emerge through the strategic framing of migration, usually in terms of humanitarian principles, moral obligations, crises, security threats or, from a right-wing perspective, assaults on national sovereignty and cultural identity. Such top-down narratives adopt an outside (“etic”) perspective on migration, focusing on political, economic, legal, social and cultural issues rather than lived experience. They compete to win broad support, influence public opinion or to gain votes in elections. Digital media facilitate the emergence of new forms of hate speech, the rise of conspiracy theories and the circulation of fake news. They challenge the hegemony of established practices and procedures by providing users with new channels to frame and disseminate information. The concepts of narrative dynamics and the narrative market acknowledge the complex relationships and interdependencies between bottom-up and top-down narratives in the public sphere, while the metaphor of narrative ecologies focuses on how recipients process and negotiate competing narratives.

⇢ see also Crisis, Frames of migration, Narrative dynamics, Narrative ecologyNarrative market, 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, 5, 8



News frame

In the context of his wider analysis of the phenomenon of news framing and the news frames that are the product of these framing processes, David Tewksbury (2015, n. p.) writes: “At their core, most definitions state that a news frame is the verbal and visual information in an article that directly or implicitly suggests what the problem is about, how it can be addressed, and who is responsible for creating and solving it.” News frames are mostly attributed as tools used by journalists, but in fact these news frames resonate among other key actors in the process of political communication as well, such as experts and politicians. In the OPPORTUNITIES project, especially the use of frames by politicians in tweets will be studied. We will study tweets from politicians in four countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy.

⇢ see also Content analysis and corpus linguistics, Quantitative media studies, Survey analysis

References and further reading:

Tewksbury, David. 2015. “News Framing.” Oxford Bibliographies. URL: Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]


News media bias

News media bias occurs when journalists or news organizations allow their own opinions to affect the news that they report and the way that they report it (Metropolitan Community College 2023). Different sources of bias can occur. Bias might be a consequence of a political belief by a journalist (Soontjens et al. 2023), but it can also be the consequence of stereotyping of certain social and cultural groups (Fiske 1998). The media are alleged to increasingly subvert to news bias, as public opinion becomes increasingly polarized on important social issues such as immigration.

⇢ see also Frame analysis (aka framing analysis), Frames of migration, Intermedia agenda setting

References and further reading:

Fiske, Susan. 1998. “Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination.” In The Handbook of Social Psychology, edited by Daniel Gilbert, Susan Fiske, and Gardner Lindzey, 357–411. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Interactive Media Bias Chart. 2018. Date of access: September 8, 2023.

Metropolitan Community College. 2023. “Media Bias.” Metropolitan Community College. URL: Date of access: September 8, 2023.

Soontjens, Karolin, Kathleen Beckers, Stefaan Walgrave, Emma van der Goot, and Toni G. L. A. van der Meer. 2023. “Not All Parties are Treated Equally: Journalist Perceptions of Partisan News Bias.” Journalism Studies 24.9: 1194–1213. DOI:

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]


News values

News values are all about what gets selected as being “news” and which other parts of reality are not deemed newsworthy. Reza Kheirabadi and Ferdows Aghaglozadeh aptly summarize this research theme as follows: “The criteria on which journalists and news editors judge about newsworthiness of an event or news story are called ‘news values’. The most prominent and widely studied list of news values (also called news criteria or news factors) was proposed by Galtung and Ruge in 1965 in which twelve selection criteria such as frequency, threshold, unambiguity and meaningfulness were pinned down as the factors by which gatekeepers make decisions about newsworthiness of a news item.” (Kheirabadi and Aghagolzadeh 2012, 989).

⇢ see also Filter bubble

References and further reading:

Galtung, Johan, and Marie Holmboe Ruge. 1965. “The Structure of Foreign News.” Journal of Peace Research 2.1: 64–91.

Kheirabadi, Reza and Ferdows Aghagolzadeh. 2012. “A Discursive Review of Galtung, and Ruge’s News Factors in Iranian Newspapers.” Theory and Practice in Language Studies 2.5: 989–994.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[DC / LH / SM]



The concept of ‘othering’ originates from postcolonial theory, where it is often used to describe the ways in which Western colonizing countries have been imagining the foreign places, people, and cultures of (formerly) colonized countries since the beginning of European imperialism (Said 1994 [1978]). Until today, ‘othering’ has been a representational strategy frequently used in discursive practices of depicting people from foreign countries as well as their cultures and traditions. This also holds for European media coverage of migration which tends to draw on, and perpetuate, strategies of ‘othering,’ for example the polarizing division between ‘us’ and ‘them’ in representations of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced people. Media representations may thus contribute to strengthening and perpetuating Eurocentric conceptualizations of migrants as the foreign ‘other’ which run counter to notions of diversity, equal participation, and conviviality, as well as inclusion and integration (Martikainen and Sakki 2021; Müller 2018; see also the contributions in Siouti et al. 2022).

⇢ see also Frame analysis (aka framing analysis), Conviviality, Diversity, Frames of migration, Inclusion, Integration, Frames of migration, RaceRacism, Victimization

References and further reading:

Martikainen, Jari, and Inari Sakki. 2021. “Visual (De)Humanization: Construction of Otherness in Newspaper Photographs of the Refugee Crisis.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 44.16: 236–266.

Müller, Tobias. 2018. “Constructing Cultural Borders: Depictions of Muslim Refugees in British and German Media.” Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft 12: 263–277.

Said, Edward W. 1994 [1978]. Orientalism. 25th Anniversary Edition with a New Preface by the Author. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Siouti, Irini, Tina Spie, Elisabeth Tuider, Hella von Unger, and Erol Yildiz (eds.). 2022. Othering in der postmigrantischen Gesellschaft: Herausforderungen und Konsequenzen für die Forschungspraxis. Bielefeld: transcript.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[BBK / CG]


Perspective (first, second, third)

The concept of perspective is an important tool to understand the different approaches to reality and the different standpoints persons inhabit and develop. A simple, but deep reaching distinction of different perspectives is the suggestion to distinguish between first-person, second-person, and third-person perspectives (see Sedmak 2013): (a) the first-person perspective is the subjective perspective that is based on “knowledge by acquaintance” and that allows for statements in the first person singular; (b) the second-person perspective is the dynamic standpoint that emerges out of dialogical situations in an encounter with another person; (c) the third-person perspective is the outsider’s view on objects or situations that can claim impartiality and distance.

In the context of the OPPORTUNITIES project, the question of perspective is central to the distinction between stories of and narratives on migration (i.e., a first-person vs. third-person perspective or an inside vs. outside perspective); it is also a key element of the Cross Talk methodology, as Cross Talk events seek to establish a dialogue between migrants, citizens, and stakeholders, thus transforming first-person perspectives into second-person and ideally even new shared first-person perspectives (“my story becomes your story, which then becomes our story”).

⇢ see also Cross Talk, Stories of migrationNarratives on migration

References and further reading:

Sedmak, Clemens. 2013. “‘Sollen sie doch Kuchen essen’: Wissen von Armut.” In Armut und Wissen, edited by Helmut P. Gaisbauer, Elisabeth Kapferer, Andreas Koch, and Clemens Sedmak, 177–197. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien.

Category: A, B

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

[BBK / CS / FK]


Perspective taking

Perspective taking is the ability to understand another person by putting oneself in their shoes. There are two kinds of perspective taking: the imagine-self perspective and the imagine-other perspective. While the imagine-self perspective tends to induce egocentric behaviour, the imagine-other perspective can foster altruistic and selfless behaviour (Nünning 2014, 237). Migrant stories may stimulate their readers and listeners to try on the perspective of migrants and refugees, thus encouraging them to empathize with migrant and refugee experiences.

⇢ see also Empathy, Multiperspectivity, Migrant narrativePolyphony, Vicarious storytelling

References and further reading:

Nünning, Vera. 2014. Reading Fictions, Changing Minds: The Cognitive Value of Fiction. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter.

Category: B

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



Political listening

The concept of political listening as proposed by Susan Bickford (1996) moves beyond notions of listening as a “caring or amicable practice” (3), acknowledging the conflictual and contentious character of politics (2). Such listening creates a riskiness, a riskiness that “comes partly from the possibility that what we hear will require change from us” (Bickford 1996, 149).

Political listening accepts this risk and the vulnerability that both speakers and listeners incur when “narratives of difference” are shared. Such a listening stance is not merely empathetic or tolerant, but it is also oriented towards taking action. When we listen in this sense, we recognize the other as a peer, as someone who has aspirations and ideas about a good life and well-being. We are open to hearing their story, arguments, and thoughts, and open to confronting these with our own story, thoughts, and arguments. Listening doesn’t erase differences in thoughts and views but involves a willingness to consider someone else’s ideas. This willingness is a starting point for political action.

⇢ see also Ethics of listening, Multiperspectivity, Perspective taking, RecognitionPolyphony

References and further reading:

Bickford, Susan. 1996. The Dissonance of Democracy: Listening, Conflict, and Citizenship. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Category: A, B

Work Package: 3, 6, 7



Politics of mobility

Responding to voices that define the twenty-first century as the age of migration (De Haas et al. 2020; Khanna 2020), mobilities scholars have recently called for the implementation of a politics of mobility in research on migration and transnational mobility (see Cresswell 2006, 2010; Sheller 2018, 2020). According to cultural geographer Tim Cresswell (2010), mobility is best construed as an interlacing of movement, representation, and practice, which varies over time and in different contexts: “At any one time,” he argues, “there are pervading constellations of mobility – particular patterns of movement, representations of movement, and ways of practicing movement that make sense together” (18; italics original). In Cresswell’s understanding, then, the physical reality of mobility is also encoded socially and culturally and concretely experienced (20). Thanks to this social and cultural embedment, constellations of mobility are “implicated in the production of power and relations of domination,” which, in turn, renders them political (20). The power relations underlying constellations of mobility are not restricted to the social, political, economic, and cultural spheres of the human world, though, but they also include the ecological sphere, thus involving the more-than-human world as well (Sheller 2018, 2020).

⇢ see also Anti-racism, Gender, Integration, Mobility studies, Narratives on migration, Race, Racism, Representation of migration, Stories of migration

References and further reading:

Cresswell, Tim. 2006. On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World. London and New York, NY: Routledge, 2006.

Cresswell, Tim. 2010. “Towards a Politics of Mobility.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28.1: 17–31.

De Haas, Hein, Stephen Castles, and Mark J. Miller, eds. 2020. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. 6th edition. New York, NY and London: The Guiford Press.

Khanna, Parag. 2020. Move: How Mass Migration Will Reshape the World and What It Means for You. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Sheller, Mimi. 2018. Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes. London and Brooklyn, NY: Verso.

Sheller, Mimi. 2021. Advanced Introduction to Mobilities. Cheltenham and Northhampton, MA: Edgar Elgar Publishing.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5