Researching Coethnic Migrants: Privileges and Puzzles of "Insiderness"


  • Laura Moroşanu University of Sussex



insiderness, ethnicity, ethnic lens, migration research, research relationships


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



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Author Biography

Laura Moroşanu, University of Sussex

Laura MOROŞANU, Ph.D. is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Sussex. Her main research interests are in the areas of migration and ethnicity, with a focus on migrants' social relationships and socialisation practices.




How to Cite

Moroşanu, L. (2015). Researching Coethnic Migrants: Privileges and Puzzles of "Insiderness". Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(2).



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