"Inside" and "Outside" of What or Where? Researching Migration Through Multi-Positionalities

Louise Ryan


Drawing upon my long experience of qualitative migration research, this article uses the concept of "multiple positionalities", to challenge the fixity of positionality underpinning constructions of "insiders" versus "outsiders" in the research process. While "insider" status is usually associated with shared ethnicity/ nationality, migration studies have been urged to go beyond the ethnic lens (AMELINA & FAIST, 2012; GLICK SCHILLER & CAGLAR, 2009). I argue that migrants cannot be neatly contained within fixed "insider" ethnic categories; instead it is more illuminating to consider how identities are re-constructed through migration. In this contribution I use moments from a range of research studies with migrant women in London. In comparing and contrasting my encounters with these migrants, who come from Ireland and Poland, I critically reflect upon how empathy and rapport were negotiated through dynamic rhythms of positionalities—gender, age, professional and parental status and migratory experience, as well as nationality. In so doing, I consider the challenges but also the opportunities of researching within as well as across migrant populations and how this may inform an attempt to go beyond the ethnic lens.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1502175


interview dynamics; ethnic lens; multi-positionalities; gender; Ireland; Poland

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-16.2.2333

Copyright (c) 2015 Louise Ryan

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