The main objectives of the PERCEPTIONS project are to (1) identify narratives, images and perceptions of Europe abroad, (2) investigate how different narratives could lead to problems, false expectations, security threats or even radicalisation in what way; and (3) create toolkits of creative and innovative measures to react or even counteract on them, considering social, societal and structural aspects.
Previous research suggests that perceptions on Europe are formed in the country of residence, and they are based on a multitude of sources; and factors influencing migration are on different levels – from the overall socio-economic situation in a country to perceptions on educational opportunities and gender equality.
Social media and new communication networks, in addition, have increased the scope and the intensity of distribution of such narratives; and furthermore, so-called filter bubbles and echo chambers can lead to isolated misperceptions that go uncorrected. Due to new communication technologies, false or incorrect claims take on a life of their own, raise expectations or disapproval and, hence, have the power to trigger migration movements. At the same time, however, these technologies and communication networks might also provide a channel to set an exaggerated image straight and to promote a more realistic narrative.