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Understanding the Impact of Novel Technologies and Social Media on Perceptions of Europe in Countries Abroad

Start of the H2020 initiative PERCEPTIONS

Migration has been a persistent topic of political discussions in Europe throughout recent years. But what are the relevant factors that shape it? One answer are the constructed narratives and perceptions on a given country. These narratives and perceptions have a powerful influence and are reflected in social and individual experiences, hopes and expectations. They often support collective sense-making of what it means to be a migrant and shape beliefs about the possibilities to integrate into a new society or the potential for return. PERCEPTIONS investigates different perceptions and images of the EU to understand how they influence the migration process – and how they could lead to threats and security issues.

The Center for the Study of Democracy is among the 25 partners from twelve European and three non-European countries, which take part in the three-year PERCEPTIONS project. The Center is leading the effort on stakeholder collection, involvement roadmap and engagement strategy. CSD is also a key part in the project's research efforts with migrants, NGOs and policy makers and the validation of project results.

PERCEPTIONS aims is to identify the different narratives, images and perceptions of (life in) Europe and the EU, and to study their role in individuals’ decision to migrate to Europe.  It also strives to obtain a better picture of how stories about migration to the EU (e.g. about forced vs. economic migration) interconnect, how they transform over time and with experience. PERCEPTIONS aims to identify the channels in which such narratives and images are spread, including traditional and social media, and the actors who tell these stories – and to whom, with what purpose and with what impact. Therefore, the initiative will focus on the role of social media in this process, and what kind of images and ideas are transported via different channels. Furthermore, we want to understand how different narratives could lead to problems, false expectations, security threats or even radicalisation.

A series of policies responded to the so-called ‘migration crisis’, based on assumptions about the factors influencing migration. PERCEPTIONS will create evidence-based toolkits of creative and innovative measures for policymakers to react or counteract on different perceptions, considering social, societal and structural aspects. PERCEPTIONS also aims to support first-line practitioners, as well as migrants, and to protect (potential) migrants by creating trusted communication contents and communication channels and by counter-manding “false” and dangerous narratives that may lead to the exploitation of vulnerable groups.


Information and Communications Technology in Support of Migration

Policy Recommendations 

Codesigning an inclusive Europe

Migration to the EU: a survey of first-line practitioners’ perceptions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Migration to the EU. A Review of Narratives and Approaches



PERCEPTIONS Newsletter – February 2023

PERCEPTIONS Newsletter - May 2022

PERCEPTIONS Newsletter - October 2021

PERCEPTIONS Newsletter - April 2021

PERCEPTIONS Newsletter – October 2020

PERCEPTIONS Newsletter – February 2020



COVID-19, Migration and Human Rights in the EU

Migrants & ICTs: How to Use Digital Tools and Digital Media to Reach Migrants

Other Policy Briefs



PERCEPTIONS: Human Rights and Migration

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 833870

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