WP3: 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, Sabanci University.


D3.1. Migration as crisis. A framework paper


In this framework paper, Céline Cantat (Sciences Po), Hélène Thiollet (Sciences Po), and Antoine Pécoud (Sciences Po), construct the 2015 “migration crisis” as a scientific object, moving away from the naturalisation of the crisis operated in media and political discourses and rather exploring the dynamics of migration crisis-making .

D3.2a Special Issue Proposal: Migration as Crisis in and across Europe Actors, strategies and representations


D.3.2b Special Issue Proposal: Non-State Actors and the Politics of Migration Crises. Policy changes, multilevel governance and political opportunities


Deliverable 3.2 (divided in two parts) are special issue proposals edited by Céline Cantat (Sciences Po), Hélène Thiollet (Sciences Po), and Antoine Pécoud (Sciences Po). D3.2a aspires at contributing to the ongoing scholarship on crises, which have developed substantially, but in which migration-related issues tend to remain under-researched. D3.2b aims at deepening our understanding of the politics of migration crises beyond migration and asylum policies, by focusing on the role of non-state actors in the framing of migration crises, their governance and the responses brought to them.

D3.3 Working paper on the construction of the crisis-invasion discourse by different stakeholders in Italy


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.

D3.4 Policy Brief on the Asylum Management Process at the local level


Based on a research on the asylum governance in Italy, this policy brief authored by Iraklis Dimitriadis and Maurizio Ambrosini (UNIMI) looks at narratives of experts active at different levels, analyzing how they make sense of conflictual situations related to the arrival and settlement of asylum seekers and refugees in local communities.

D3.5 Conference papers : "The Representation of the “Refugee Crisis” in  Italy: Constructing a Crisis-Invasion Discourse" and "The governance of asylum issue as a battleground: empirical evidences on (non)-deportation of rejected asylum seekers in Italy"


These deliverables stem from the Neuchâtel Graduate Conference of Migration and Mobility Studies of september 2019 and the academic workshop entitled "Durable solutions for rejected asylum seekers?" at Erasmus University College Rotterdam in January 2020. The first paper, by Iraklis Dimitriadis (UNIMI), seeks to understand how crisis and invasion discourses have been shaped in Italy. It explores how different actors, at different levels, apprehend ongoing migration-related realities and (re)produce crisis invasion discourses and narratives to make sense of themStarting from the Italian experience, the second paper by Iraklis Dimitriadis and Maurizio Ambrosini (UNIMI) asserts that the governance of immigration, especially at local level, can be considered a “battleground” involving different actors.

D3.7 Working paper : Turkish perceptions of the EU migration deal based on Turkish Parliamentary Debates


This working paper authored by Samet Apaydin and Meltem Muftuler-Bac (Sabanci University) provides an in-depth analysis of the Turkish Parliamentary debates over the Syrian refugees, and assesses how the Turkish migration deal with the EU has highlighted the existing political cleavages in the country. It demonstrates the extent to which migration governance challenges are projected onto political deliberations at the domestic level, while illuminating the domestic-foreign linkages over migratory policies.




 EU project 1280x166

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