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, unrealistic 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 a variety of narratives; and furthermore, so-called filter bubbles and echo chambers can lead to one-sided narratives that go uncorrected. Due to new communication technologies, claims can take on a life of their own, and might raise unrealistic expectations or disapproval. At the same time, however, technologies and communication networks might also provide a channel to avoid a mismatch of expectation and reality and to promote the desired narratives.