"We Don't See Things as They Are, We See Things as We Are": Questioning the "Outsider" in Polish Migration Research

Katherine Botterill


This article offers a reflexive account of conducting research on Polish migration to Scotland from the perspective of the "outsider." The contribution argues for a revision to the insider/outsider dichotomy viewing it as inadequately nuanced in relation to the multiple intersectionalities performed through the research encounter. It is based on data collected from biographical-narrative interviews with Polish young people living in Edinburgh, Scotland. The article explores the interview encounter between an English researcher and Polish young people about the experience of EU mobility and argues that as migration narratives unfold the distinctions between the "researcher" and the "researched" blur. In particular, I focus on the intersections of gender, class and nationality to show how different positionalities are negotiated and confronted through reflexivity. The interview is a creative process involving co-construction of narratives through dialogue, embodied performances and non-cognitive associations that draw out the multiple intersectionalities of both parties. Through this process the binary of insider/outsider is called into question and this article examines the usefulness of this dichotomy as a framework for understanding the research relationship.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs150249


insider/outsider research; polish migration; intersectionality; gender; biographical narrative interviews; psychoanalytic geographies

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-16.2.2331

Copyright (c) 2015 Katherine Botterill

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