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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.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Knowledge production, reflexivity, and the use of categories in migration studies: tackling challenges in the field
    (2021-4-22)
    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.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Revisiting Borders and Boundaries: Exploring Migrant Inclusion and Exclusion from Intersectional Perspectives
    In recent years, scholarly interest in boundaries and boundary work, on the one hand, and borders and bordering, on the other, has flourished across disciplines. Notwithstanding the close relationship between the two concepts, “borders” and “boundaries” have largely been subject to separate scholarly debates or sometimes treated as synonymous. These trends point to an important lack of conceptual and analytical clarity as to what borders and boundaries are and are not, what distinguishes them from each other and how they relate to each other. This Special Issue tackles this conceptual gap by bringing the two fields of studies together: we argue that boundaries/boundary work and borders/ bordering should be treated as interrelated rather than distinct phenomena. Boundaries produce similarities and differences that affect the enforcement, performance and materialisation of borders, which themselves contribute to the reproduction of boundaries. Borders and boundaries are entangled, but they promote different forms and experiences of inclusion and exclusion. In this introduction, we elaborate the two concepts separately before examining possible ways to link them theoretically. Finally, we argue that an intersectional perspective makes it possible to establish how the interplay of different social categories affects the articulations and repercussions of borders and boundaries. The contributions in this Special Issue address this issue from multiple perspectives that reflect a variety of disciplines and theoretical backgrounds and are informed by different case studies in Europe and beyond.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Becoming a citizen through marriage: how gender, ethnicity and class shape the nation
    The role of marriage in accessing membership entitlements has been studied extensively in the context of marriage migration, but it remains under-researched in the literature on citizenship acquisition. This paper explores specific constructions of deservingness vis-à-vis the foreign spouses of citizens and their marriages in the context of facilitated naturalization in Switzerland. Based on an ethnographic investigation of the naturalization practices of street-level bureaucrats, we show that the politics of belonging in the context of access to citizenship is regulated by intersecting gendered, ethnicized and classed logics of desirability about how a marriage should be. Additionally, a patrilineal logic continues to guide street-level bureaucrats de facto even when legislation has introduced de jure gender equality. Finally, we demonstrate that it is not only immigration regimes, but also citizenship regimes that employ assumptions about what constitutes a ‘good marriage’ in order to draw the boundaries of the nation.
  • Publication
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