Narrative Publications

Michael Collyer and Russell King, Narrating Europe’s migration and refugee ‘crisis'

Narrating Europe’s migration and refugee 'crisis'

Abstract

It is very clear – as many journalists covering the unfolding migration and refugee crisis have pointed out – that geography lies at the heart of the events taking place in Europe and the Mediterranean. It is a story of borders and routes, of distance and proximity, and of location and accessibility. The role of (re-)bordering has been fundamental in states’ attempts to ‘manage’ and ‘control’ the refugee and migrant flows and, in this respect, we observe a return to the more traditional practices of bordering – physical barriers and personnel-heavy security controls – rather than the previous processes of ‘externalizing’ and ‘internalizing’ border management. In the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans the external border of the European ‘fortress’ has been prised open, whilst the free-movement ethos of the Schengen area has been compromized by EU states’ reactions to the large-scale movement of migrants and refugees and recent acts of terrorism. In this introductory paper we bring a critical geopolitical lens into play in order to understand the European, regional and global power geometries at work, and we critically examine the political and media rhetoric around the various discursive constructions of the migrant/refugee ‘crisis’, including both the negative and the Islamophobic utterances of some European leaders and the game-changing iconicity of certain media images.

Narrating Europe’s migration and refugee ‘crisis'
Nick Dines, Nicola Montagna and Elena Vacchelli, Beyond crisis talk: Interrogating migration and crises in Europe

Beyond crisis talk: Interrogating migration and crises in Europe

Abstract

Commencing with some recent examples drawn from Anglophone media, this introductory article reflects on the multiple ways in which crisis and migration have been interconnected over the last decade in public discourse, political debates and academic research. It underlines how crisis has not simply become a key descriptor of specific events, but continues to operate as a powerful narrative device that structures knowledge of migration and shapes policy decisions and governance structures. It explains the rationale for choosing Europe as a multidimensional setting for investigating the diverse links between migration and crisis. It ends with a summary of the contributions that are divided into four thematic strands: relationships between the economic crisis and migrant workers and their families; the Mediterranean in crisis; political and public discourses about the post-2015 ‘migration crisis’; and ethnographies of everyday experiences of the ‘refugee crisis’ on the part of migrants, activists and local people.

Beyond crisis talk: Interrogating migration and crises in Europe
Jessica Hagen-Zanker and Richard Mallett, ODI, Journeys to Europe: The role of policy in migrant decision-making

Journeys to Europe: The role of policy in migrant decision-making

"This policy brief provides an overview of research by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) to increase understanding of the journeys made by migrants. Based on in-depth interviews with more than 50 migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who have recently arrived in four European cities (Berlin, London, Madrid and Manchester), it explores: the journeys migrants take; the factors that drive them; and the capacity of destination country migration policies to influence people’s decisions, both before their journey begins and along the way.
Based on these findings, we make three key policy recommendations that could lead to the better management of, and a more effective and positive response to, the current migration crisis in Europe.
1. Make journeys safer: Act now to minimise the appalling humanitarian and economic consequences of policies that aim to deter migration.
2. Create a faster, fairer European Union (EU) asylum system: Build an effective regional response by investing in a better functioning, EU-wide asylum processing system; strengthening the EU’s arbitration role; and reforming the Dublin Regulation.
3. Make the most of migration. Capitalise on the positive impacts of migration by: publicly communicating its social and economic benefits; encouraging circular migration; and investing in economic integration programmes for new arrivals."

Journeys to Europe: The role of policy in migrant decision-making
Vision Europe Summit, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Improving the Responses to the Migration and Refugee Crisis in Europe

Improving the Responses to the Migration and Refugee Crisis in Europe

Executive summary

Over the last decade and more particularly the last couple of months, the EU has faced the development of increasing conflicts on migration related issues. The situation has raised such a level of struggles that bringing back equilibrium in such a conflicting environment will be a hard task for all players and at all stages. However, if EU leaders are unable to take the appropriate political decisions and actions, the EU integration process will simply be at risk.
In its first part, the paper tries to sketch the picture of the breadth of creeping conflicts currently taking place within the EU. While current tensions occurring at political level highlight the existence of conflicts between the EU member states, another conflict—more worrying—is taking place and concerns the widening distance or distrust between citizens and the EU project. In this situation of developing conflicts, the role of the media deserves also to be questioned.
On this basis, the second part of the paper argues there is still space to regain consensus and bring back the EU as a source of prosperity rather than a nest of problems. However, the paper takes the view that a European Council/“top-down” type of approach cannot suffice and will not work out. It is necessary to relaunch a pedagogical approach so as to rebuilt citizens’ understanding and trust in the EU’s actions and project. This implies two set actions:
• In the short run, all players at EU and national levels have to deliver on their promises to show that decisions taken are implemented and produce effects.
• In the medium run, the same players have to kickstart a strategic process to understand, prepare and adopt appropriate answers to the migration phenomenon for the long-term future.

Improving the Responses to the Migration and Refugee Crisis in Europe
Reminder project, European Media Migration Report: How Media Cover Migration and Intra-EU Mobility in Terms of Salience, Sentiment and Framing

European Media Migration Report: How Media Cover Migration and Intra-EU Mobility in Terms of Salience, Sentiment and Framing

Executive summary

The aim of this report is to offer a broad overview of migration (both immigration and emigration) discourses in European media for researchers in comparative media and migration studies in the coming years. It also aims at those involved in journalistic news production as well as policy decisions related to European migration in general, and intra-European migration and mobility in particular. We focus on the concepts of salience, sentiment and framing to qualify dynamics in media discourses in seven European countries – Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Romania – using semi-automated approaches to computational media analysis.
In our report, we tackle three main gaps in the existing work: (i) a lack of comparative studies dealing with European migration media discourses of the last decade(s); (ii) insufficient attention to the intricacies of multilingual text analysis in computational text analysis; (iii) insufficient evidence on country-specific differences in discourses about intra-European mobility and migration compared to migration discourses more generally.
Based on our key findings on patterns in media coverage dynamics between countries in general and the differences in overall migration coverage, as well as intra-European migration coverage between sending and receiving countries in Europe, we urge future research to continue in this large-scale, comparative and multilingual avenue, to allow for the detection of further patterns within as well as between countries and contexts.

European Media Migration Report: How Media Cover Migration and Intra-EU Mobility in Terms of Salience, Sentiment and Framing
Moa Nalepa, EU migration policy changes in times of crisis. Discourses surrounding EU migration policies during the ‘refugee crisis’ – A discursive institutionalist analysis

EU migration policy changes in times of crisis. Discourses surrounding EU migration policies during the ‘refugee crisis’ – A discursive institutionalist analysis

Abstract

This thesis examines the migration policy changes adopted by the EU during the ‘refugee crisis’ and problematises discourses that were deployed by EU policy makers. The method and theoretical framework are built around Schmidt’s discursive institutionalism and complements it with constructivist conceptual theories around discourses that are identified through the researched empirical material. The thesis concludes that there has been a continuation and normalisation of the securitisation of migration during the ‘refugee crisis’. Regarding the communicative and coordinative skills of the EU actors, the former is still problematic, whilst the coordinative discourses have increased the cooperation within the EU institutions.

EU migration policy changes in times of crisis. Discourses surrounding EU migration policies during the ‘refugee crisis’...
Alice Szczepanikova and Tine Van Criekinge, EU policy lab, THE FUTURE OF MIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: Future scenarios and tools to stimulate forward-looking discussions

THE FUTURE OF MIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: Future scenarios and tools to stimulate forward-looking discussions

Executive Summary

This report is the outcome of a year-long interactive and participatory process led by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on the Future of Migration in the European Union (EU). The project responded to the growing demand from European Commission services for foresight and anticipatory knowledge around future migration patterns. Based on a set of four future migration scenarios, the project engaged several stakeholders in exploring and reflecting upon the needs of EU policymaking and EU responses around future migration challenges and opportunities.
Predicting future migration trends is difficult because forecasting models are unable to capture the plethora of social, political, demographic, economic, environmental and technological drivers that fundamentally underpin and shape migration processes. A foresight approach focuses on plausibility and offers visions and narratives as to what alternative futures could look like. It produces scenarios built around variables that are both relatively certain and uncertain and is most useful when applied to mid to longer-term futures. When used as a starting point for debate and engagement with diverse stakeholders, narrative scenarios enhance a systemic and nuanced understanding of a policy issue and can help stimulate cooperation among various actors. This is particularly important when tackling complex and politicised policy issues such as migration.
In this report, we briefly present four foresight scenarios for the future of migration in the EU, with 2030 as a future timeframe. The scenarios were used to explore policy implications of different political, economic and migration developments for specific thematic areas of EU policymaking: foreign and security policy, labour market and integration policies. We also explored how the scenarios could play out in different parts of the world, the result of which are brief scenario narratives for the EU, European neighbourhood, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia developed by invited experts.

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THE FUTURE OF MIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: Future scenarios and tools to stimulate forward-looking discussions
Pierre Vimont, MIGRATION IN EUROPE: Bridging the Solidarity Gap

MIGRATION IN EUROPE: Bridging the Solidarity Gap

Summary

Painfully and hesitatingly, the EU has managed to stem its migration crisis, regaining control of its borders and ensuring a dramatic drop in the flow of migrants. Yet, the migration issue is not going away, and the political debate around it persists. Europeans need to work together in a field where in the past they have been eager to act on their own; and they must define an integrated policy based on a genuine sense of solidarity.


Urgent Responses and Lingering Political Gaps

• The migration situation of 2015 was unique for Europe. For the first time, the EU had to find a collective response to this crisis because of its scale and intensity and the involvement of many countries along the route followed by the migrants.
• Europe’s response was essentially shaped by a sense of urgency. It was a short-term fix that allowed the EU to regain control of its external borders and end hasty unilateral moves by some member states. An agreement with Turkey set up practical arrangements that contributed to calming the situation on the ground and updating processes for asylum applications and returns.
• Deep-seated political divisions in the union on the migration issue remain. In particular, not all member states are ready to accept a fair share of the migration burden, undermining the principle of unity and risking fragmentation and free riding.


A Long-Term Policy of Flexible Solidarity

• A solid and realistic EU migration policy based on a common understanding of the type of migration the union needs would prove that Europe can efficiently tackle issues that matter to the average citizen.
• EU member states need to engage in a process of flexible solidarity that can shape the elements of a comprehensive migration policy: asylum regime, border controls, resettlement schemes, legal migration, and societal integration.
• EU members will have to address some of the contentious issues they have so far avoided: whether burden sharing should be compulsory or voluntary, whether migration should be permanent or temporary, whether to implement financial solidarity, and whether to allow limits on the free movement of workers.
• The EU must adopt a different narrative with third countries. The tailor-made agreement with Turkey cannot be the exclusive template for all future external agreements. An approach focused too much on returns and readmissions risks being unable to convince Europe’s partners to initiate true collaboration for lack of mutual trust.

MIGRATION IN EUROPE: Bridging the Solidarity Gap
Silvia D’Amato and Sonia Lucarelli, Talking Migration: Narratives of Migration and Justice Claims in the European Migration System of Governance

Talking Migration: Narratives of Migration and Justice Claims in the European Migration System of Governance

Abstract

In the last few years, migration has been at the centre of attention of the European public and policymakers, sparking an unprecedented debate on responsibilities and rights. This Special Issue presents a collection of European case studies analysing narratives of migration and their embedded justice claims. It focuses on the way national newspapers have covered and discussed key political events related to European politics and migration dynamics between 2014 and 2018. The results reveal an increasing normalisation of extreme and anti-immigrant claims in all cases. The only rather frequent counter-narrative is ‘humanitarian’, yet, it predominantly depicts migrants as victims, hence denying their subjectivity and actorness. There is an important correlation between the debates on migration and the European Union, as the so-called ‘crisis’ has strengthened the political debate on the EU in European countries. All in all, the dominant narratives on migration embed a Westphalian understanding of justice (justice as non-domination), while little attention is devoted to cosmopolitan justice claims (justice ad impartiality) and, much less, to ‘subjectivised cosmopolitan justice claims’ (justice as mutual recognition).

Talking Migration: Narratives of Migration and Justice Claims in the European Migration System of Governance
Stefano Volpicelli, Who’s Afraid of … Migration? A New European Narrative of Migration

Who’s Afraid of … Migration? A New European Narrative of Migration

Abstract

Human mobility has changed profoundly since the onset of globalisation, with old patterns of south-north movement of male economic migrants being replaced by mixed flows of people moving because of a variety of needs and motivations. In Europe these changes have gone largely unnoticed and the discourse on migration has been conducted in a confused and contradictory way. Policies have swung between two poles: on one end the view of migrants as a problem rather than as an opportunity; on the other, the view of migrants as vulnerable people escaping poverty or persecution. Through the analysis of policies, juridical terminology, concepts and stereotypes, this paper proposes a three-step approach for a different narrative of migration to curb the political manipulation that, labelling migrants as a threat, is dangerously fuelling racism and discrimination towards “aliens”.

Who’s Afraid of … Migration? A New European Narrative of Migration