Searching for an Appropriate Research Strategy on Transnational Migration: The Logic of Multi-Sited Research and the Advantage of the Cultural Interferences Approach

  • Anna Amelina Universität Bielelefeld
Keywords: transnational migration, cultural interference, relational concept of space, multi-sited research, scientific hermeneutics, cosmopolitan approach


In analyzing current methodologies of transnational migration research, the article proposes to incorporate the cultural access into transnational methodology. Referring to the ideas of Andreas RECKWITZ, Ulf HANNERZ and Homi BHABHA it defines "culture" as a discursive and sense-making activity that guides respective social practices. This perspective allows defining transnational formations such as cross-border networks, families, organizations and diasporas as entities that are continuously confronted with interference of cultural orders. Moreover, the article develops a methodological proposal that facilitates research on actor's strategies, which deal with a variety of cultural scripts. First, this proposal suggests including the multi-sited ethnography in the procedure of data collection. This would enable to avoid methodological nationalism in designing transnational units of analysis. Second, the proposal suggests incorporating scientific hermeneutics within the procedure of data interpretation. In particular, it argues that scientific hermeneutics enables to observe the plurality of meaning patterns within actor's meaning horizons. Third, the methodological proposal suggests organizing the research work in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary organized scientific teams in order to increase the extent of research reflexivity. This modification provides a possibility to observe complex cultural dynamics and their effects on the cross-border social practices. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1001177


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Author Biography

Anna Amelina, Universität Bielelefeld
Anna AMELINA received her PhD in Sociology at Bielefeld University (2005). Her doctoral thesis "Propaganda oder Autonomie. Das russische Fernsehen von 1970 bis heute" was published in Transcript Verlag (Bielefeld) in 2006. Since 2006 Amelina has been a researcher at the Faculty of Sociology in Bielefeld. Her main research interests refer to topics such as transnational migration from Ukraine to Germany, transnationalization of social inequality, culture and migration and methodology of transnational research.