A call for stories: Researching with women and girls seeking asylum

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Presentation Abstract:
I began writing this paper in December 2021 during the CV-19 pandemic and after Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. This was also a winter where 27 people died crossing the English Channel in a dinghy. As I tried to process these terrible events and their impact on migration, the British government’s proposals on immigration (Nationality and Borders Bill) not only criminalise people seeking asylum but open up possibilities for prosecuting individuals supporting them. After more than two decades of refugee research and campaigning with women and girls, these developments strongly impacted the way I thought about this paper and I will consider why migration research has come to mean, for me, not just visibilities, inclusion and representation, but a critical interrogation of the systems and structures that underpin politics and shape our stories. By embracing postmodernist concepts of the narrative self as a reflexive agent, I explore vulnerabilities over time that have led me to believe that stories may be the most important resource we have for making meaning of the social world. Whilst researchers and participants may experience vulnerability on different axes, this does not mean that all experiences are commensurate. However, vulnerability has implications for the stories we tell and how and why we research. Therefore, if we can retain theoretical rigour in our research, it is surely worth making visible researcher stories and exploring these dynamics in our endeavours. In doing so, narrative becomes not just a tool in analysis of vulnerability, but necessary for migration research.

Panel Title: Researching family, young people’s and children’s migration: Researcher positionalities across the life course (Reflexive Migration Studies).
Period30 Jun 2022
Event title19th IMISCOE Annual Conference: Migration and Time: Temporalities of Mobility, Governance, and Resistance
Event typeConference
LocationOslo, NorwayShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational