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  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Knowledge production, reflexivity, and the use of categories in migration studies: tackling challenges in the field
    Recent debates in migration studies target the non-reflexive use of categories that derive from nation-state- and ethnicity-centred epistemologies. However, what a category is and how categorization works remain undertheorized. Our paper addresses this gap. Through a qualitative study on experiences of Othering among migrant descendants in Zurich (CH) and Edinburgh (UK), we scrutinize the perspectival, political, and performative nature of categories. We show how the persons informing our study were highly reflexive when using the category migrant descendant: They contested, negotiated, and navigated it in multiple ways. Although this specific category is firmly embedded in the “national order of things”, it ultimately proved to be inclusive. We argue that reflexivity in the field can not only create space for the often-muted voices of research participants, but also helps to overcome important pitfalls that derive from issues of legitimacy, representation, and power relations in scientific knowledge production.