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Stories of Change: Working with the Moveable Middle

by Social Change Initiative

Published | June 2020

Building narratives


"Stories of Change" gives an overview on lessons learned from case studies that focus on the public opinion on migration.

Why read

This report shows how to work with the "moveable middle" when it comes to public opinion on migration and how to shit the narrative.


The report evolves out of the Migration Narrative Project (MNP) that was established to tackle the pervasive, negative narratives about migration and migrants in 2015. It shares the lessons learned from our Stories of Change Case Studies, particulary two case studies that focusedon Germany and France and public opinion on migrants.

The ‘Moveable Middle‘ describes a concept that originates from segmentation research on public opinion. In the migration debate, the movable middle is a part of the population who can be in favour of welcoming and integrating migrants and refugees, and at the same time, feel resistant and hesitant about migration. For this reason, it is also known as the ambivalent or the anxious middle. Sometimes, their anxiety is driven by economic precarity or the fear of their cultural identity disappearing. Most importantly, the middle presents a unique opportunity. Their ambivalence means they are susceptible to move towards more openness and tolerance. Targeting the movable middle is about finding the mechanisms to help the middle move in this direction.


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