"Talk to Her, She is also Chinese": A Reflection on the Spatial-Temporal Reach of Co-Ethnicity in Migration Research

Maggi Leung


This article rejects the insider/outsider dichotomy as a framework for understanding researcher-researched relationship. It complicates the over-simplified, bounded and binary construct by underlining how insiderness-outsiderness is dynamic and multiple, highly contextualised in the specific space-time of interactions between the researcher and her "research subject". In particular, the article underlines the power of space, place and time in researchers' attempt to establish and manage relationship with the people they study. It puts forth the notion of "spatial-temporal reach" to make sense of the complex, dynamic, deeply situated and often unplannable relationalities between researchers and their research participants. Episodes from the author's journey as a "migrant researcher" illustrate how sensitivity to (socio)spatialities (as in insiderness-outsiderness) and temporalities (such as age, generation, life cycle, time and frequency of research contact) help us, as researchers, reflect on our positionalities, experiences and emotions in knowledge co-production with the people whom we study, that in turn, shape our understanding of our own identities and heritage.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1502130


migration research; migrant researcher; intersecting positionalities; space; time; Chinese migration; ethnography; longitudinal study

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-16.2.2332

Copyright (c) 2015 Maggi Leung

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