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


  • Katherine Botterill Newcastle University




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


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


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Katherine Botterill, Newcastle University

Katherine BOTTERILL, Ph.D., is a social and political geographer working on the broad conceptual themes of migration, mobility and community. She graduated from Newcastle University in 2012 with a doctorate in human geography, and worked on postdoctoral research in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. This research explored patterns of lifestyle migration in East Asia focusing on the motivations, experiences and impacts of British lifestyle migrants in Thailand. Currently she is involved in an interdisciplinary research project at Newcastle University on "Young People's Everyday Geopolitics in Scotland: Faith, Ethnicity and Place."




How to Cite

Botterill, K. (2015). "We Don’t See Things as They Are, We See Things as We Are": Questioning the "Outsider" in Polish Migration Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-16.2.2331



Researcher, Migrant, Woman: Methodological Implications of Multiple Positionalities in Migration Studies