Structure and Objectives of the Glossary

Towards a "Level Telling Field on Migration and a New Narrative of Successful Integration" brings together the worlds of NGO work, scholarship and science, advocacy and art. Our goal is to overcome the rhetoric of crisis in current migration discourses and to establish a new narrative on migration and successful integration.

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.

We believe that interdisciplinarity works best when all contributors agree on key concepts. While the terms and definitions provided here establish common ground across disciplines, the cross-references create a conceptual geometry which challenges traditional boundaries between theory and practice, the social sciences and the humanities, research and field work. In doing so, it launches the fruitful dialogue we seek to initiate on local, national, and transnational levels.

The following list includes key terms from discourses on migration, integration, narrative, and media representation that will be used frequently in OPPORTUNITIES. In addition to these thematic areas, the glossary provides relevant terminology from corpus linguistics, quantitative media studies, and narrative theory. This wide semantic field gives shape to our two core concepts, the Cross Talk and the Level Telling Field. The glossary not only provides definitions of these terms, but also discusses their origins and briefly sketches their historical development, citing the relevant literature and sources. It thus also functions as a cross-disciplinary literature survey, making scientific and scholarly knowledge available in an easily accessible format. A complete list of references to narrative theory, cultural studies, migration and mobility studies, quantitative media studies and corpus linguistics can be found in the select bibliography, which is a foundation for our work in OPPORTUNITIES.

The entries in the glossary are divided into different categories, depending on the type of term and its relevance to the OPPORTUNITIES project. The glossary distinguishes five categories:

  • Category A: Standard definitions of technical terms routinely used in research.
  • Category B: Reconceptualizations of existing scholarly terms and concepts that will be developed or redefined in the OPPORTUNITIES project.
  • Category C: New concepts, often based on conceptual transfer or analogies. Terms in category B and C represent significant theoretical, conceptual, or methodological advances.
  • Category D: Established legal terms, often with alternative definitions.
  • Category E: Humanitarian definitions of key concepts, which may deviate from the usage of identical terms in category D.

Some terms may belong to more than one category. Entries on migration and refugees, for example, juxtapose legal and humanitarian definitions, highlighting the project’s differentiated understanding of these terms, which seeks to integrate African as well as European perspectives.

Each entry in the glossary gives the name(s) of its author(s) at the end. The authors’ names are abbreviated as follows: