Researching Coethnic Migrants: Privileges and Puzzles of "Insiderness"

Laura Moroşanu


This article reflects on fieldwork experiences with coethnic migrants in London to challenge understandings of insiderness centred in shared ethnicity, as well as the usefulness of the insider-outsider divide in migration research more generally. Drawing on examples from a study of migrants' social relations, it shows how gender, migrant status, and occupational position sometimes shape research encounters in more important ways than shared ethnicity. Furthermore, whilst shared ethnicity is undoubtedly useful in certain respects, participants' ethnicised discourses and practices may also generate feelings of distance in the coethnic researcher. Whilst supporting the "ethnic bias" critique to migration studies (GLICK SCHILLER, ÇAĞLAR & GULDBRANDSEN, 2006), the analysis thus highlights how both ethnic and non-ethnic factors alternate or interact to create perceptions of insiderness or outsiderness in specific research contexts



insiderness; ethnicity; ethnic lens; migration research; research relationships

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Copyright (c) 2015 Laura Moroşanu

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