Qualitative Migration Research in Europe: New issue of "Forum Qualitative Social Research"
"Qualitative Migration Research in Contemporary Europe" is the topic of the recent issue, and most papers deal with methodolocial questions
Maren Borkert and Carla De Tona for example write about "Issues Faced by Young European Researchers in Migration and Ethnic Studies" , especially when rearching abroad as "academic migrants":
The term academic migrant refers to European academics, like the authors of this paper, who become more and more transnational while researching migration in Europe. As migrant European researchers we move to and settle in third-countries, often having to speak a new language, and learning to adjust to new social and cultural normativities, feeling the migration's uprooting and re-grounding and, in short, becoming "foreigners" as the people who participate to our researches (who may or may not be from our home country). Although we may not call ourselves migrants, we end up experiencing migration in similar ways to the participants of our research.
The emerging issue for us is how does this particular transnational aspect of our positionality (of researching migrants as academic migrants) influence us as researchers, the dynamics we establish with our participants and the ultimate shape of our research?
Similar questions are raised in the papers Cultural "Insiders" and the Issue of Positionality in Qualitative Migration Research: Moving "Across" and Moving "Along" Researcher-Participant Divides by Deianira Ganga & Sam Scott and Doing Qualitative Research with Migrants as a Native Citizen: Reflections from Spain) by Alberto Martín Pérez.
There are also case studies about Somali migrants in Finland, Greek musicians in Germany, cultural capital during migration and Reflecting Upon Interculturality in Ethnographic Filmmaking where Laura Catalán Eraso claims that ethnographic film is still very much an under-utilised research technique. Films may illuminate the "intercultural" dynamics between minority (participant) and majority (researcher) and challenge the traditional power relations between the researcher and his/her "subjects":
[T]he filmmaker(s) will loose authority in the film and that authority will tend to get decentralised and shared among subjects. Ways of doing this include allowing subjects to: manage the camera; choose the shots that are used: and, give feedback on the end results. These techniques, not dissimilar to those advocated in other forms of qualitative enquiry, will hopefully create new possibilities for ethnographic film by allowing space for greater equality between, and more reflection by, researchers and participants.
In the introduction, the editors remind us of that...
migration is not a new phenomenon: human beings have always been moving to other places, other regions and other countries. What is "new" is the relatively recent invention and creation of national borders and the "imagining" of nation-states (ANDERSON, 1983, pp.5-7). These ideological processes make migration "international" and thus problematise the natural behaviour of people attempting to improve their everyday lives.