Migration Narratives Juxtaposed: A Sociological Analysis of Photos, Letters and Biographies of “Guest Workers” from Turkey Living in Austria

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Seminarraum Geschichte 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Faime ALPAGU, University of Vienna, Austria
The proposed paper is part of a PhD thesis with the underlying research question of what do “guest workers” photographs and letters show/tell about life in Austria to (extended) family members and acquaintances back in Turkey? From a retrospective viewpoint, this project deals with “guest worker” biographies and documents (primarily photographs and letters) that were sent back to (extended) family members and acquaintances in Turkey from ca. the mid 1960s to the late 1980s. The documents of “guest workers” are increasingly used in media and exhibitions in Austria but sustained analysis is still missing. The project follows a reconstructive approach by triangulating interpretative methods such as biographical case reconstruction and visual segment analysis. Further, ethnographic observations also play an important role in the project.  The aim is (i) to find out how these narrations complement and differentiate from each other, (ii) to determine whether and how these narrations corresponded with the actual situation, and finally (iii) to gain a differentiated visual representation of migration which goes beyond stereotypes and consequently provides a better understanding of how these groups experience(d) and (re)presented migration to those in Turkey. Analysis is done with a case study approach and according to theoretical sampling. Sampling takes into consideration the urban, rural, gender and ethnic aspects of the target group as these aspects play a very important role in Turkey. Consequently, the aim of this study is to draw attention to the heterogeneity of the group. In this paper, the first results of one case study will be presented.