9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS09 Research Methods in Ethnic and Migration Studies

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Discussion of Methodological Questions in Migration Studies Building I, 2E5

Constructing an empirical understanding of globalisation in the everyday lives of asylum-seeking refugees

The paper will discuss the issue of empirically strengthening the understanding of the relation between the individual asylum-seeking refugee and global structures of mobility and migration. My research involves the question of an empirical understanding of globalisation by arguing for the importance of studying social interaction in everyday lives as the source of knowledge. This means that bringing to the fore the asylum-seeking refugees´ own experiences is especially important. By using a discussion on social interaction in connection to agency - structure interrelationships I propose a way forward to an understanding of globalising structures and practices.

For this occasion I will focus on the transferability and translation of the focus on social interaction in everyday life to theories dealing with structures and practices of globalisation. I will also turn to issues, practical as well as theoretical, of trustworthiness and ethics in the construction of data within the field. In my research this includes data from participant observations, interviews and other material produced in the context of being an asylum-seeking refugee from Afghanistan in Sweden.

I have so far found that the asylum-seeking refugees manage their time in waiting (partly) through seeking empowerment from and within a disempowering situation. They do this by searching for meaning and seeking to act. This searching and seeking is framed within structures and practices of both empowerment and disempowerment. It is within these frames I hope to find the relation to the more abstract levels of structures and practices of globalisation.

Apart from constructing a grounded analysis of the management of the difficult situation facing asylum-seeking refugees, such an empirical understanding of global refugee migration can also serve as an important background for moral and practical discussions on policies on asylum and the reception of refugees.