Session 14

14. Methods and Methodologies of Multi-Sited and Multi-Scalar Research

A broad variety of social phenomena link and transcend a whole array of differently located sites as well as different spatial scales from local to global. Examples can be as different as migrant economies, housing markets, social policies, or social movements. What they have in common is, that we can identify linkages between sites and scales which are brought about in everyday practices just as much as through economic structures and political struggles. Critical methodologies oftentimes take the situatedness of social phenomena and of researchers as point of departure. While we acknowledge this perspective to be absolutely essential, we would like to invite contributions which address the situatedness of social phenomena, research, and researchers, but move towards the question of relational situatedness. We are interested in new approaches that deal with phenomena which cannot be understood without the integral linkages between sites and scales. How can these linkages be investigated, what methodologies and methods correspond with them? Multi-sited ethnography is a well-defined approach to study and compare fragmented and multiply situated objects in “the form of juxtapositions of phenomena that conventionally have appeared to be (or conceptually have been kept) ‘worlds apart'” (Marcus 1995: 102). We would like to move the attention towards the structural linkages between sites, phenomena, and research for a broad variety of fields, whether it be migration, work, social movements, local and global governance, urban or rural contexts. The session thereby seeks to gain insights into multi-sited and multi-scalar comparative research from a broad spectrum of topics, based on the shared conviction that space in terms of locations, sites, and scales and their interconnections matter in order to understand the phenomena at hand. We are looking forward to abstracts on qualitative and quantitative methods and methodologies which may ask one of the following or related questions:

(a) How can linkages and interrelatedness between different sites be investigated for specific social phenomena such as migration, policies, economic relations, among others?

(b) How do historical and current linkages and circulations relate to one another?

(c) What could innovative methods look like that are able to carve out both, specifics as well as interrelatedness between sites and scales for social phenomena?

(d) How are ideas, concepts, theories and methodologies produced and how do they circulate between researchers, academic areas and between hierarquized spaces?

(e) What are the limits of methodologies for multi-sited approaches in different cultural contexts?

(f) How do multi-sitedness an multi-scalarity help to question global binaries such as Global North and Global South?

(g) What socio-spatial conditions shape differently sited phenomena and how are we to analyze them in different contexts?

(h) Who are the actors of transnational and translocal linkages? On what basis do they act: knowledge, economies, politics?