Conference Agenda

RN35_02b: Methodological Frontiers: Mapping Migration Realities
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Kenneth Horvath, University of Lucerne
Location: BS.G.27
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road


Mapping Situations – Situational Analysis: Qualitative Inquiry on Post-migration-society

Olaf Tietje, Elisabeth Tuider

University of Kassel, Germany

Since the so called summer of migration in 2015 the German state as well as society were temporary overstrained by the rising numbers of immigrating people. In answer to this structural deficit and related racist violence came a widespread welcoming culture into being (Rother 2016). This welcoming culture was shaped by civil society who filled a hole in the ‘universal’ understanding of democracy and its goods for the people (Eilert et al 2017; Hamann et al. 2016). At the same time the image of violent Muslim men became discursive and influenced the debates on supporting migrants in Germany (Dietze 2016). Against this background we take a deeper look on the governmental aspects of this ‘welcoming culture’ and, following this, the link between the contemporary discursive developments in Germany and the practices of the voluntary and professional supporters of refugees.

Referring to postcolonial studies (Mignolo 2005, Quijano 2010) our lecture will focus on methodological challenges for qualitative research. By highlighting the linked situations, positionalities and social worlds where the ‘welcoming culture’ is negotiated we are developing a methodological understanding with Situational Analysis (Clarke 2005) on migration research and governmentality. Or, in other word, we like to show how using the Situational Analysis can be fruitful for analysing governmental implications on voluntary refugee support in Germany. Our conclusions are based on preliminary results of our research within the BMBF (German Ministry of Education and Science) financed project ‘Welcoming Culture and Democracy in Germany’ and will be illustrated by some examples of our qualitative research.

The Familiar And The Strange: Socio-Spatial Boundaries And Internal Migration

Michael Donnelly

University of Bath, United Kingdom

The paper is based on a 3-year project that aimed to bring a geographic perspective to understanding youth transitions and social mobility, accounting for the specificity of place, including place-based identities, segregation, and importantly, the unequal spatial structuring of resources and capitals. The project involved a unique means of collecting qualitative data, drawing on a new ‘mapping tool’ developed as part of the project, which involved asking participants to express their spatial imaginaries through colouring in a map. The fieldwork (which spanned 20 different geographic localities, and included interviews with a total of 200 young people and 40 teachers), along with the maps, contain a vivid and granular level of detail, and are both drawn on here. The concept of ‘familiarity’ is used here to explain how those occupying diverse social and spatial positions rationalise their spatial (non-)movements. The privileged students, attending elite private schools and occupying the most advantaged social positions, sought familiarity by choosing geographic and institutional locations which they perceived reflected important aspects of their identity and future selves. Place mattered in their transitions as much as the institution they were attending. Also seeking ‘familiarity’, but in a qualitatively different way, were working class youth living in marginal geographic localities. Their sense of familiarity was evident in seeking out places they had connections, bringing an important sense of ‘knowing’ a place. These two examples illustrate how a sense of familiarity, a feeling of security and safety, crosses structural lines, albeit in qualitatively distinctive ways. The ways in which groups continue to seek out and maintain what is ‘familiar’ has implications for the continuation of social and spatial borders in contemporary British society.

Continuous Displacement. Physical space(s) as a Methodological Instrument for a wider understanding of the Identity of Palestinian refugees from Syrian

Filip Elias Habib

Otto-von-Guericke- Universität Magdeburg, Germany

”I am aware of the whole discussion and issue of the right of return. We all are.

But honestly, I don’t know if I am ever going to return (. . . ) If it will be possible

to return, where should I return to? Neukölln? Actually, if you ask me; I would take the Yarmook to Tireh. This would be my right of return."

The influence of communication and information-flows on contemporary societies belongs meanwhile to one of the central categories and fundamental questions in social sciences (Appadurei 1990, Castells, Hannerz, i.a.). Yet space seems to gain less attention and consideration particularly within social methodology or as a social theory.(cf. Herbert Knoblauch and Martina Loew 2017) And that despite the fact that social sciences witnessed the so-called “spatial turn” only twenty-five years ago (L¨ow 2001 et seq. or/and Arjun Appadurai on scapes 1990). This paper builds on the assumption that flows of information and communication influences have changed and are continuously changing the physical space and vice versa (cf. Loew). Innovative methods with an ethnographical character such “multisided ethnography” or “global ethnography” (Marcus 1998, Hannerz 2000, Gupta and Ferguson 1997) have enriched the qualitative method of research and attempted to follow the flows of information in their physical space(s). In this paper, I will point out a few proposed methods that were used during the work on my doctorate on the cultural identity of Palestinians in different geographical contexts. The suggestions focus on the conclusion of the physical space as an inseparable part of a multimethod construction that includes different data resources that were collected since 2015.

Mission Impossible - Conducting Research in a Centre for Refugees. Belonging and Barriers .

Izabela Wagner

University of Warsaw, Poland

The aim of this presentation is to analyse tensions faced by the field researcher in a sensitive setting - between ‘belonging’ (to the university world as a sociologist) and ‘barriers’ (imposed by the challenging or even hostile fieldwork environment). The ethnographical research was conducted in a European centre for refugees (the 1st level of reception – displaced persons waiting for the Refugee Status Determination). The ethic code and methodological rules applicable to sensitive populations should be employed. However, the actual employment thereof might be complex or even impossible, if the field is infested with corruption. In his/her daily work, the researcher carries out the study on the refugees, but also deals with tangles of administrative issues concerning the authorities of the centre, some higher authorities as well as his/her own academic authorities (the university, the funding institution, etc.). The ethnographer’s work is animated by the following questions: How to conduct the fieldwork in the situation of the groups’ conflict of interests? How to pursue the research project in the climate of hostility? How to protect the ‘fragile group’ under study? How to maintain one’s integrity when doing research in the general climate of political hostility towards the researched group? In other words, is it possible to do field research in the situation of corruption and political hostility? If it is, what kind of limits does such a situation impose to the scientific communication? Finally, what kind of protection should the researcher obtain (and from whom/from which institution) in such circumstances? What could be the application of the findings of such a study?