WP3: Constructing the Crisis.

Constructing the Crisis: Actors, Representations and Narratives.

This Work Package explores the contested interpretations of the migration/refugee crisis. It seeks to understand how different actors, at different levels, apprehend ongoing migration-related realities and produce discourses and narratives to make sense of them. Actors produce specific sets of discourses and worldviews, which are of a double nature: cognitively, discourses support the frameworks through which actors perceive reality and act; tactically, discourses enable actors to justify their interventions and legitimize their position. A key assumption behind this WP is therefore that the crisis calls for actors to reconsider their discourses and to produce new narratives to adapt to a changing reality and re-assess their legitimacy therein (Utting 2006). The WP will also propose a multilevel and multi-situated approach to crisis narratives. While the ongoing crisis is predominantly located in the euro-Mediterranean region, it is interpreted at very different levels by different actors. IOs, for example, transform a regional crisis into a global crisis: by reacting to a specific crisis through global initiatives (such as the Global Compacts), they provide an interpretation of the crisis that spans the globe. In a similar way, governments of countries that are somewhat unaffected by the crisis may develop a crisis narrative that borrows from the euro-Mediterranean region.

Partners Involved: Sciences Po (Lead), University of Liège, GIGA, EUBA, IFPO, University of Milan, SOAS.


An initial output of MAGYC’s third work package, this working paper authored by Iraklis Dimitriadis (UNIMI) seeks to survey the existing empirical evidence on the construction and reproduction of the “crisis-invasion” discourse in Italy with reference to the arrival and settlement of refugees since 2012.

This policy brief authored by Iraklis Dimitriadis & Roberto Calarco (UNIMI) considers recent national and European policies around border control and asylum governance in Italy since 2015 (e.g. the hotspot approach, the securitization of sea borders and the criminalization of NGO rescuers, the evolution of the Italian reception system…) and formulates key recommendations for Italian and European policy makers.