Erka Caro

Exploring Migration Experiences and Gender Dynamics through Biographical Interviews

Erka Caro, Armela Xhaho, Mimoza Dushi

Article information

Volume: XI Issue: 1, Pages: 93-106
Erka Caro
University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Jyväskylä, Finland
Armela Xhaho
University of Groningen, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, Groningen, Netherlands
Mimoza Dushi
University of Pristina, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Pristina, Kosovo


This paper explores the challenges and advantages in conducting biographical research based on life narratives of 140 Albanian migrants in three host societies, Greece, Switzerland and Germany. This methodological paper is written in the context of the research project investigating the experience of industrial citizenship (IC) of labor migrants coming from the Western Balkans (WB) to the European Union (EU). We reinforce our biographical accounts with semi-structured interviews, visual methods, participant observations, field notes and expert interviews which will provide context to the biographical interview texts. This paper shed light into challenges emerging in the framework of ethnographical research field work, addressing the ethnographic issue trust building, hierarchic position, gender, ethical dilemmas, resistance and technical issues as well. Moreover we discuss how self-reflexivity take place during the field work and challenges the professional and personal identity of researchers.

Keywords: Biographies, self-reflexivity, insider-outsider, migration trajectories, migrants, gender dynamics, positionality, ethical dilemmas, field sites, emotional catharsis


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