On Interviewing Partners in Mixed Couples Together: Performance, Meta-Communication and Positionality
Volume: XI Issue: 1, Pages: 7-22
University of Sussex, UK
This paper is based on a qualitative study about the processes of boundary-making among Albanian-Italian and Albanian-Romanian couples in Italy. In particular, it focuses on the methodological challenges arisen during my fieldwork of interviewing mixed couples. Although joint couple interviews have rarely been considered as a technique per se, the paper shows how they actually represent something more than an interview format in between individual interviews and focus groups, precisely by virtue of the relationship between the two interviewees. In fact, joint couple interviews are characterised by three main dimensions: perfomance, meta-communication and positionality – which add essential meanings to the narratives themselves. Firstly, joint couple interviews provide observational data through the couples’ interactions; secondly, they constitute an opportunity to display the couple/family history to a multiple audience (the researcher, the partner, the ‘witness’); thirdly, they need to be carefully considered at the intersection between participants’ and researcher’s positionalities.
Keywords: Joint Couple Interview, Migration Studies, Mixed Couples, Qualitative Methods, Research Encounters
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