BRIDGES Workin paper nº 2.

The Emergence, Uses and Impacts of Narratives on Migration: State of the Art

Publication date:
Christina Boswell (et. al)

BRIDGES Working Papers 2 (2021)

This Working Paper provides an overview of social science literature on narratives, with a particular focus on narratives on migration (MiNa). The paper starts by tracing the emergence of the concept of narratives in a range of social sciences (sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology and media studies), and then outlines a working definition of the concept for use in the BRIDGES project. We then map key literature about the emergence and sources of narratives; their psychological, social and political functions; and the factors influencing their spread and prevalence. We go on to explore how the concept has been applied to understand the dynamics of mobility, displacement, integration, public attitudes and political mobilisation in migration studies. We examine some of the key themes of the literature in relation to gender, a key dimension of the BRIDGES project, and then set out a number of trends that might be expected to shape the content and diffusion of narratives.


Christina Boswell is Chair in Politics and Dean of research at the University of Edinburgh (UEDIN). She is also Fellow of the British Academy and Chair of the Scottish Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population.
Saskia Smellie is a Research Assistant and an advanced PhD researcher in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh (UEDIN). Her PhD investigates variation in policy response to the European ‘migrant crisis’ from a foreign policy analysis perspective.
Marcello Maneri is a Research Affiliate at the Forum Internazionale ed Europeo di Ricerche sull’Immigrazione (FIERI) and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Milano Bicocca,
where he teaches Media and Cultural Sociology.
Andrea Pogliano is a Research Affiliate at the Forum Internazionale ed Europeo di Ricerche sull’Immigrazione (FIERI) and Lecturer in Sociology of Media and Communication at the University of Piemonte Orientale.
Blanca Garcés-Mascareñas is a Senior Research Fellow and Research Coordinator at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), as well as BRIDGES Scientific Coordinator. She holds a PhD cum laude in Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam.
Verónica Benet-Martínez is an ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advances Studies) Research Professor at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), where she is also Head of the Research Group on Behavioral and Experimental Social Sciences.
Berta Güell is Researcher in the area of Migrations at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) and BRIDGES Assistant Coordinator. She holds a PhD in Sociology with an extraordinary award from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

Keywords: migration, migration narratives, narratives production, narratives impact

E-ISSN: 2696-8886