Session 34

H1 (Re-)Thinking Methods for Migration Research

Social research has proven to be consistent in addressing the very large variety of topics surrounding issues of migration and integration, such us forced migration, skilled migration, transnational mobility, as well as gender, racism, inequalities, class, among other matters in the field. Nevertheless, the methods used for migration studies have been less of a focal point and thus deserve a space for further debate. To that extent, this session aims to identifiy and elaborate specific ways of thinking about methodology in migration research at the same time of raising methodological questions, namely issues relevant for specific research approaches as applied to the study of Migration in all its facets and dimensions. Following this, we consider that (re-)thinking such methodological constrains can pave the way to more reflexive strategies that allow comprehensive approaches capable of dealing with the sensitivity and complexity of research on Migration and Integration. Providing an awareness of researchers’ roles and perceiving their modes of conceiving and researching migration as inevitably methodologically contingent shall contribute, in addition, to (re)interpret the ways of how knowledge is produced. Consequently, the objectives of this session are to: -encourage reflexivity processes among migration scholars; -deliver a platform of epistemological and analytical tools for knowledge production, circulation and utilization in migration research; -tackle the risk of migration scholars of replicating hegemonic methodological structures and problem definitions; -develop alternatives in methods of empirical research in the field. This session shall thus call for paper proposals that fall into all of this framework. In particular, for the session (Re-)Thinking Methods for Migration Research will be particularly relevant those proposals that discuss one or more of the following main session’s aspects: (1) The role of reflexivity on knowledge production in practice and methodology: How researchers put into practice a reflexive lens in their research, how they conceptualize and practice reflexivity in different methodological and knowledge production contexts. (2) Positionality as researchers: thinking of their own role on their own research: How can this influence the outcomes and application of research on migration. Global North-Global South (and Global South-Global North) conceptions, decolonization of methodology on migration, influence of gender, class, among other myriad of factors. (3) Quantitative-Qualitative dichotomies and disputes, the interplay of big data and critical analyses. Debates on methodological approaches, mixed methods, multiple methodology, inter-sections of “positivists” and “innovative” waves. Accesibility to information, protection of participants, and data constrains. (4) Further broader methodological constrains presented when dealing with research on the matter. Proposals containing one or more of the above discussed topics and/or related methodological considerations will be contemplated and hence welcomed, and will be gathered in order to create a collective space for raising and (re)thinking the following critical question: How do different methodological practices influence the direction of research on migration and integration? Alltogether, the session aims to present rich opportunities to reflect upon our own impact as researchers as a form of collaboration in current and future knowledge production. Papers in this session should therefore address the possible challenges and solutions among the presented areas or similar topics. Due to the nature of the conference, authors will be asked to highlight the methodological novelty of their contribution, and/or reflect upon their own experience while practicing research on migration.