• Background
  • Project Facts
  • Objectives
  • Methodology
  • Project Impact

Project Background

Narratives and an understanding of a “common identity” are an effective legitimisation for European integration (Sassatelli, 2015). Furthermore, perceptions, e.g. on human rights and democracy, have an impact on migration (EUMAGINE, policy brief); and feedbacks from migrants back to their country of origin can affect migration both in a positive and negative way (Timmerman, Hemmerechts, & De Clerck 2014b), and, thus, also influence the image or perception of Europe.

Migration is caused by a number of push and pull factors – narratives are one part of this. Therefore, the project aims to investigate the different perceptions of Europe, as well as the problems that are caused when expectation and reality do not match, or security problems that might arise from false narratives.

The current image of Europe is influenced by a number of imaginations and narratives, and with the ‘Brexit’ vote, the positive idea of the European Union is under re-evaluation within the world. Migration as one of the key challenges in the last years further leads to a re-imagination of the EU. According to Sassatelli (2015), cultural identity is closely connected to various narratives (public, academic, institutional).

In addition, normative influences, as identified by Garip and Asad (2013), describe the influence that previous migrants have on migration aspirations of prospective migrants. Furthermore, European identity is still in the making and heavily contested (ibid.) – as e.g. the mentioned “Brexit” vote shows (Cassidy, Innocenti & Bürkner 2018).

Much research is carried out around the topic of narratives and European identity; however, most of it is focused on strategies for solidarity, changing the narratives about migration, creating an inter-European narrative and strengthening the cultural identity within Europe (e.g. Cantat 2015; Innocenti 2015; Scuzzarello & Kinnvall 2013). PERCEPTIONS, therefore, aims to support first-line practitioners outside of Europe in counteracting on false narratives and correcting skewed images of the EU.

Project Facts

Duration

 

09/2019 to 08/2022

Programme

 

Horizon 2020

SU-BES01-2018-2019-2020

Research & Innovation Action

Reference

 

833870

Project Objectives

The main objectives of the PERCEPTIONS project are to (1) identify narratives, images and perceptions of Europe abroad, (2) to investigate how different narratives could lead to problems, false expectations, security threats or even radicalisation in what way; and (3) to create toolkits of creative and innovative measures to react or even counteract on them, considering social, societal and structural aspects. Thus, the following seven objectives have been defined.

RESEARCH the body of scientific literature on the creation and the distribution of place-related narratives with a particular emphasis on their creation and the distribution through social networks and media, as well as relevant project outcomes, models and measures.

UNDERSTAND the relevance of positive and negative narratives in relation to the motivation for migration through conducting quantitative and qualitative empirical research, allowing transverse and transnational comparisons.

ANALYSE social media data and mass media to understand how narratives, rumours and false images of Europe are spread, investigate novel technologies, as well as secondary data and scenarios, and conduct a network analysis to identify the impact of novel technologies.

DESIGN dynamic new approaches and (counter-)measures in the form of intuitive toolkits for civil society organisations and development aid organisations in order to support their local activities to deconstruct false narratives and enhance the dissemination of right narratives.

LEVERAGE a modular Web Platform including an Open Information Hub to spread knowledge and public materials, as well as public and professional service modules hosting digital solutions with a centralised dashboard.

VALIDATE the outlined materials and measures to ensure the sustainability of the PERCEPTIONS solutions, allowing the flexible and individual adaptation of the toolkits to the specific local, regional or country-specific needs.

DISSEMINATE the PERCEPTIONS solutions by raising awareness, dissemination results in the scientific community, and creating international networks of practitioners working in the field for supporting them with knowledge exchange, training approaches and resources.

Methodology

PERCEPTIONS assesses potential issues related to the border and external security in order to allow better planning and outline reactions and countermeasures. For that purpose, the project conducts research on the narratives and the myths that are circulating about the EU in three non-European countries of migrants’ transit (Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia) and four Mediterranean countries of arrival (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain), as well as two countries of transit to Europe (Bulgaria and Kosovo), representing three routes into Europe (Western, Central, and Eastern Mediterranean).

Research is conducted in cooperation with local and international partners in order to find out how the EU is perceived in different contexts, which factors influence these perceptions, and how information is distributed via different channels (e.g. social media, local newspapers). Perceptions might vary and they might cover the scope for example from the EU as the “paradise” to the EU as the “seminary of vice” and “evil”.

A comprehensive approach combining quantitative and qualitative research methods clarifies the picture for the exemplary selection of research sites. The outcomes are analysed against the background of scientific literature. Based on the research insights, the consortium will develop a PERCEPTIONS framework model including policy recommendations, action plans and a policy strategy – aligned with the ethical principles of the EU –addressing these challenges through foreign policy on different levels (from bilateral contacts to high-level working groups). Furthermore, this framework will contain validated new methods for practitioners and civil-society organisations in order to support them to present a realistic picture of the EU in these countries.

Desk research & secondary data analysis

Quantitative & qualitative empirical research

Analysis of (social) media data & network analysis

Model development

Toolkit development

Testing & validation

Project Impact

The PERCEPTIONS project aims to identify narratives, images and (mis-)perceptions of the EU abroad, and to identify how they could influence migration, cause problems, security threats, radicalisation etc. – and how to react, counteract and correct skewed images and misperceptions with a set of tools both for policymakers on local and EU level, and first-line practitioners in direct contact with migrants. To do so, the project will carry out theoretical and empirical research, analyse social media data, and based on this information, will create a framework containing tools, measures, approaches and policies. The project, therefore, is of great importance to the EU, which has been faced with an increased amount of migration since 2015 and aims to impact migrants, policymakers and the general public. PERCEPTIONS is expected to have an impact on societal, policy and security levels, and to generate benefits and added value for all stakeholders and users.

I1 Understanding the creation, distribution, information flow and effects of narratives, images and perceptions of the EU on migration and migrants and the role of social media

I2 Evidence-based insights and validated measures to reaction to (mis-)perceptions and skewed images of the EU and their influence on migration and border security

I3 Provide validated approaches, measures and methods to react on misperceptions, on skewed images, rumours or false narratives on local, national and EU level

I4 Supporting civil society organisation, NGOs and other first-line practitioners, and correcting skewed images of the EU causing problems for migrants

I5 Enhanced safety, reducing barriers and support for migrants, improved European identity, and awareness raising

Project Background

Narratives and an understanding of a “common identity” are an effective legitimisation for European integration (Sassatelli, 2015). Furthermore, perceptions, e.g. on human rights and democracy, have an impact on migration (EUMAGINE, policy brief); and feedbacks from migrants back to their country of origin can affect migration both in a positive and negative way (Timmerman, Hemmerechts, & De Clerck 2014b), and, thus, also influence the image or perception of Europe.

Migration is caused by a number of push and pull factors – narratives are one part of this. Therefore, the project aims to investigate the different perceptions of Europe, as well as the problems that are caused when expectation and reality do not match, or security problems that might arise from false narratives.

The current image of Europe is influenced by a number of imaginations and narratives, and with the ‘Brexit’ vote, the positive idea of the European Union is under re-evaluation within the world. Migration as one of the key challenges in the last years further leads to a re-imagination of the EU. According to Sassatelli (2015), cultural identity is closely connected to various narratives (public, academic, institutional).

In addition, normative influences, as identified by Garip and Asad (2013), describe the influence that previous migrants have on migration aspirations of prospective migrants. Furthermore, European identity is still in the making and heavily contested (ibid.) – as e.g. the mentioned “Brexit” vote shows (Cassidy, Innocenti & Bürkner 2018).

Much research is carried out around the topic of narratives and European identity; however, most of it is focused on strategies for solidarity, changing the narratives about migration, creating an inter-European narrative and strengthening the cultural identity within Europe (e.g. Cantat 2015; Innocenti 2015; Scuzzarello & Kinnvall 2013). PERCEPTIONS, therefore, aims to support first-line practitioners outside of Europe in counteracting on false narratives and correcting skewed images of the EU.

Project Facts

Duration

 

09/2019 to 08/2022

Programme

 

Horizon 2020

SU-BES01-2018-2019-2020

Research & Innovation Action

Reference

 

833870

Project Objectives

The main objectives of the PERCEPTIONS project are to (1) identify narratives, images and perceptions of Europe abroad, (2) to investigate how different narratives could lead to problems, false expectations, security threats or even radicalisation in what way; and (3) to create toolkits of creative and innovative measures to react or even counteract on them, considering social, societal and structural aspects. Thus, the following seven objectives have been defined.

RESEARCH the body of scientific literature on the creation and the distribution of place-related narratives with a particular emphasis on their creation and the distribution through social networks and media, as well as relevant project outcomes, models and measures.

UNDERSTAND the relevance of positive and negative narratives in relation to the motivation for migration through conducting quantitative and qualitative empirical research, allowing transverse and transnational comparisons.

ANALYSE social media data and mass media to understand how narratives, rumours and false images of Europe are spread, investigate novel technologies, as well as secondary data and scenarios, and conduct a network analysis to identify the impact of novel technologies.

DESIGN dynamic new approaches and (counter-)measures in the form of intuitive toolkits for civil society organisations and development aid organisations in order to support their local activities to deconstruct false narratives and enhance the dissemination of right narratives.

LEVERAGE a modular Web Platform including an Open Information Hub to spread knowledge and public materials, as well as public and professional service modules hosting digital solutions with a centralised dashboard.

VALIDATE the outlined materials and measures to ensure the sustainability of the PERCEPTIONS solutions, allowing the flexible and individual adaptation of the toolkits to the specific local, regional or country-specific needs.

DISSEMINATE the PERCEPTIONS solutions by raising awareness, dissemination results in the scientific community, and creating international networks of practitioners working in the field for supporting them with knowledge exchange, training approaches and resources.

Methodology

PERCEPTIONS assesses potential issues related to the border and external security in order to allow better planning and outline reactions and countermeasures. For that purpose, the project conducts research on the narratives and the myths that are circulating about the EU in three non-European countries of migrants’ transit (Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia) and four Mediterranean countries of arrival (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain), as well as two countries of transit to Europe (Bulgaria and Kosovo), representing three routes into Europe (Western, Central, and Eastern Mediterranean).

Research is conducted in cooperation with local and international partners in order to find out how the EU is perceived in different contexts, which factors influence these perceptions, and how information is distributed via different channels (e.g. social media, local newspapers). Perceptions might vary and they might cover the scope for example from the EU as the “paradise” to the EU as the “seminary of vice” and “evil”.

A comprehensive approach combining quantitative and qualitative research methods clarifies the picture for the exemplary selection of research sites. The outcomes are analysed against the background of scientific literature. Based on the research insights, the consortium will develop a PERCEPTIONS framework model including policy recommendations, action plans and a policy strategy – aligned with the ethical principles of the EU –addressing these challenges through foreign policy on different levels (from bilateral contacts to high-level working groups). Furthermore, this framework will contain validated new methods for practitioners and civil-society organisations in order to support them to present a realistic picture of the EU in these countries.

Desk research & secondary data analysis

Quantitative & qualitative empirical research

Analysis of (social) media data & network analysis

Model development

Toolkit development

Testing & validation

Project Impact

The PERCEPTIONS project aims to identify narratives, images and (mis-)perceptions of the EU abroad, and to identify how they could influence migration, cause problems, security threats, radicalisation etc. – and how to react, counteract and correct skewed images and misperceptions with a set of tools both for policymakers on local and EU level, and first-line practitioners in direct contact with migrants. To do so, the project will carry out theoretical and empirical research, analyse social media data, and based on this information, will create a framework containing tools, measures, approaches and policies. The project, therefore, is of great importance to the EU, which has been faced with an increased amount of migration since 2015 and aims to impact migrants, policymakers and the general public. PERCEPTIONS is expected to have an impact on societal, policy and security levels, and to generate benefits and added value for all stakeholders and users.

I1 Understanding the creation, distribution, information flow and effects of narratives, images and perceptions of the EU on migration and migrants and the role of social media

I2 Evidence-based insights and validated measures to reaction to (mis-)perceptions and skewed images of the EU and their influence on migration and border security

I3 Provide validated approaches, measures and methods to react on misperceptions, on skewed images, rumours or false narratives on local, national and EU level

I4 Supporting civil society organisation, NGOs and other first-line practitioners, and correcting skewed images of the EU causing problems for migrants

I5 Enhanced safety, reducing barriers and support for migrants, improved European identity, and awareness raising