Europe’s riddle

Europe’s riddle: Migration, public opinion and emerging practices of democracy in 5 European contexts.

The project focuses on the consequences of the 2014-2015 migration crisis. It examines experiences of local communities vis-à-vis migration and integration, and attempts to draw out the opportunities offered by contemporary developments for politically and socially ambitious initiatives. We are focusing on the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Italy, and Germany. Counterpoint’s research on migration is supported by the Open Society Initiative for Europe. 

Project News

We just completed our research trips to Sweden, Italy, France and Germany, having been to two cities in each country. We collected stories and spoke to newcomers to the community, to volunteers, policy-makers, teachers and professionals working in housing and employment to get a 360-degree idea of the experience of migration.

Have a look at our project website to read the newest updates and stories.

Read More About the Project

The project has three goals:

  • To develop a better understanding of what constitutes public opinion in the context of migration and immigration (what does it consist of? opinions, attitudes, values, preferences?), and to understand what might account for shifts (in either direction).
  • To apply this knowledge to local communities and assess whether, and if so how, local public opinion is affected by national events and how this impacts on behaviour.
  • To identify the conditions that lead to socially beneficial practices and help local actors replicate them or scale them up.

We work in three stages:

Stage 1: RESEARCH – Putting ‘public opinion’ in its rightful place (January 2016 – July 2016)

Policy on migration and immigration has become led by public opinion polls. While opinion polls prove effective in giving snapshots of public feelings at given moments, they also overemphasize momentous impressions and hysterical reactions, hence providing ultimately misleading insights on human behaviours, feelings, and desires.

Counterpoint tracks the extent to which such overreliance on opinion polls is affecting public moods in the 5 case-study countries.


Stage 2: FIELDWORK – The importance of the local (August 2016 – August 2017)

In its second stage the project examines the nature of the contexts in which various practices develop, and assesses the conditions that seem to lead to more successful local practices and results in the context of migration, immigration and integration. Our guiding question is: What accounts for the capacity of some communities to remain open and invent new ways of creating civic and political practices that are profoundly democratic, whilst others remain unable to do so?


Stage 3: DESIGNING BEST PRACTICES – The good, the bad and the ugly (October 2017 – December 2017)

Knowledge gained in the previous two stages will be used to design contextually salient integration practices and to advice national and local decision-makers on how to apply them. Drawing on our contacts from previous projects, we will organize small round-table events and briefing meetings for EU-level organisations and institutions and develop briefings for policy-makers and politicians.

Project news

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Europe’s riddle: Migration, community experiences and public opinion

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