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

Social Psychological Considerations of the Use of Participatory Approaches: Ethical and Methodological Implications for Qualitative Migration Research

Doing research with socially excluded and stigmatised groups always runs the risk of reproducing existing power relations and can be understood as a from of symbolic violence. In this context, participatory approaches are seen as important instruments for power-sensitive research. They nevertheless raise (new) ethical questions, e.g. conflicting perceptions and interests at the stage of interpreting qualitative data. In our paper we want to extract ethical problems from two own "power-sensitive" empirical studies and discuss implications for critical migration research.

A qualitative interview study on school-based Holocaust Education in Germany was carried out on behalf of the "International Task Force On Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research". It focussed on the - supposed - challenges that immigration society (re)presents for the discourse on National Socialism and the Shoah. In this context especially male Muslim adolescents are said to be reluctant against the topic. This exemplifies an important question of power-sensitive research: How can one deal with a research question that is so close to the typical anti-Islamic stereotype of Muslims endangering western progressive achievements? How to investigate i.e. Muslim adolescents` perspective if such suspicions are so prominent in the field?

In another study in-depth interviews on sexual risk behaviour were carried out with HIV-positive gay men on behalf of the Federal Centre for Health Education in 2006/07. As members of a multiply stigmatised "minority within a minority" participants were accosted by a HIV-positive positioned "peer". But how can one publish and use the sensitive data that was originally shared in an intimate situation with the HIV-positive positioned "peer"?

In our paper we will re-analyse implicit and explicit strategies we used and compare them to considerations found in recent literature from the field of critical migration research, e.g. back-talk focus groups as proposed by Frisina (2006). We aim at identifying typical chances, limits and dilemmas of power-sensitive/ethical approaches and at discussing their specific implications for migration research.