9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS09 Research Methods in Ethnic and Migration Studies

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Qualitative Challenges: Definitions, Ethics and Participatory Approaches Building I, 2E5

Migration Studies and Research Methodological Challenge

The emergence of postnationalism, the transformation of national identities via the influence of globalization as well as affiliations to supranational organizations like the European Union (EU), has shaped attitudes of both the nation-states and immigrants. This influx of immigrants produced an ethnic diversity affecting the social and political structures of the receiving countries. However, due to the difficulty of integrating and adapting to the lifestyle and culture of the host countries, it is often observed that immigrants seem to attract and remain within groups of people who come from similar or identical ethnic groups. The presence of these insular groups of ethnic minorities in society, within which people practice and follow cultures and ways of life that differ from the rest of their host society, has the potential to cause civil, cultural or even legal disagreements. It is inevitable that a variety of migrant groups will make demands for their particular rights, shaped by their beliefs, identities and values which may differ enormously from the culture or laws of the host population. Also, migrants attempt to capitalize on privileges that a host country┬┤s citizenship offers, while simultaneously clinging to the benefits of their indigenous national or ethnic identities. There are conflicts relating to the integration of minorities into host societies which damage the stability of the host country┬┤s social cohesion. The identification of these problems of integration which affect social harmony inspired me to carry out this paper discussing immigrants in European countries, their identity, and the methodological challenges arising when conducting research in ethnic and migration studies. This paper will critically examine research methods focusing on methodological challenges, in the light of participatory and ethical approaches of immigration, influenced by postnationalism. To comprehend how immigrants conceptualize their identity and sense of belonging toward the receiving country enables the host government to implement appropriate policies to deal with immigrants.

Keywords: Postnationalism, Citizenship, Identity, and research methodological challenge.