170.1 Doing biographical analysis in a transnational context. Reflections on biographical research, transmigration and ethnography

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 2:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Irini SIOUTI , University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany
In the interdisciplinary field of migration studies, the biographical approach is well suited to empirical investigations of transmigration processes because it offers us a way of empirically capturing the diversity, complexity, and transformational character of migration phenomena and of reconstructing them through biographical analysis. The biographical research perspective offers a promising way of responding to the methodological challenge that the notion of transnationalism brings into the field of qualitative empirical migration research.

Through the methodological use of narratives and case reconstructive procedures, it is providing methodological tools to overcome the nation state perspective as ‘natural unit of the analysis’ and the ‘methodological nationalism’ (Wimmer, Glick Schiller 2003) of migration research. However, doing biographical analysis in a transnational context challenges the methodological debate in biographical research because it questions the key theoretical as well as methodical assumptions of biographical analysis and it shows the need to link the biographical with the ethnographic perspective in the field of transnational migration studies.

In my paper I will discuss and reflect up the methodological challenges that arise when doing biographical research in a transnational context. The reference point of my considerations is my empirical study about transmigration processes among the younger generation of working migrants in Europe.