Migrations, Transnationalism and the Locus of Research

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Migrations, Transnationalism and the Locus of Research

  1. 1. Migrations, transnationalism and the locus of research Multi-locality and the shift from “sites” to “fields”“Nuevos retos del transnacionalismo en el estudio de las migraciones” Giulia SINATTIUniversitat Autónoma de Barcelona Università Milano-Bicocca14-15 Febrero 2008 Goldsmiths College
  2. 2. Transnationalism: a“methodological threat” for research ?1. Innovations of transnational theory2. From the study of sites to the study of fields3. Implications for research practice
  3. 3. 1. Innovationsof transnational theory
  4. 4. Beyondtransnationalism: aworld of flows … once distant places are increasingly connected
  5. 5. A new interest withinthe social sciences …Deterritorialisation (Appadurai)Disembedding (Giddens)Time-space compression (Harvey)
  6. 6. … in migration studies …migrations are conceived asincreasingly connected to thehomeland (Glick Schiller, Basch,Szanton Blanc 1992) transnational occupations and activities require regular cross- border social contacts, sustained over time (Portes et al. 1999)migrant transnationalism is framedby States, their boundaries andregulations
  7. 7. Innovative features of thetransnational approach Migrants are simultaneously conceived as im-migrants as well as e-migrantsBroader analytical framework includes: sending, transit and receiving contexts and the circulation of not only people, but also ideas, symbols and goods along the same circuits
  8. 8. 2. The locus of research: from „sites‟ to „fields‟
  9. 9. From sites to fields Scholarly focus breaks away from geographic constraints and becomes dispersed in time and space: social space of post-modernism (Rouse); transnational social fields (Glick-Schiller); cultural sites (Olwig); transnational social space (Faist, Pries)
  10. 10. Researching fields, rather than sites …… requires simultaneous attention forphenomena taking place in variouslocalities and is traditionallyassociated with multi-sitedfieldwork, conducted at both ends ofthe migration trail
  11. 11. Theorising multi-sitedresearch Attention for relationships within as well as between individual sites Revival of comparative committment within migration research Ethnography goes transnational!
  12. 12. ManchesterSchool: theRhodesianCopperbelt
  13. 13. ChicagoSchool:urbansociology Louis Wirth, The Ghetto Nels Anderson, The Hobo
  14. 14. Ethnography of the transnational
  15. 15. 3. Practicing multi-sited research
  16. 16. Constructing a multi-sited fieldFollow the actors (focus on people)Follow the thing (focus on objects)Follow the metaphor (focus on ideas)Study the technologyStudy a place (of passage)
  17. 17. Managing research practiceChoice of sitesFinding a balance between sitesBeing a mobile researcherNegotiating field accessDiffering cultural competencePiecing together differentethnographies
  18. 18. The end giulia.sinatti@unimib.it g.sinatti@gold.ac.uk

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