Migration As an Answer to What? Findings from a Biographical Study on the (recent) Spanish Migration to Germany and the UK

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Me Linh RIEMANN, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
In this article, I present some of the preliminary results of an ongoing qualitative study (on the basis of autobiographical narrative interviews) on the lives of (recent) Spanish migrants to Germany and the UK. Instead of focusing exclusively on the migration experience, I am interested in the long-term processes in people’s lives and how macro-phenomena like the economic crisis in Spain (and other developments such as “Brexit”) and the life-course of individuals are interrelated. This paper focuses on a specific phase in interviewees lives: the time in which migrating to another country became a topic and appeared as a solution to serious problems. It was possible to identify different biographical action schemes (Schütze 2007) that shed light on how people arrived at the decision to migrate.While all my interviewees recalled how the recession had an impact on their lives in Spain (and was one important factor underlying their decision to migrate), it is important to note that the “aftermath” of the economic crisis on their lives took on different shapes depending on their “generational locations” (cf. Mannheim 1928), academic and occupational training, (lack of) work experience, personal support structures and biographical circumstances in general. Especially in the context of contemporary Europe, which is experiencing different (yet overlapping) crises at the moment, I argue that biographical research offers unique advantages as it is a way to overcome what has been referred to as “methodological nationalism” (Wimmer and Glick-Schiller 2002) and a tool to close the gap between macro and micro-sociological concerns.