Constructing meaningful lives: Biographical methods in research on migrant women

Erel, Umut (2008). Constructing meaningful lives: Biographical methods in research on migrant women. Sociological Research Online, 12(4)

URL: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/12/4/5.html

Abstract

The article argues that biographical methods are particularly suited to shift the methodological and theoretical premises of migration research to foreground the agency and subjectivity of migrant women. It is argued that structural and cultural readings can usefully be applied to the self-representations of migrant women. The context of migrant women's self-representations is explored through looking at the story-telling communities they develop and through the expert knowledges of institutions regulating migration. The dichotomisation of unique versus collective modes of life-stories is questioned. Applying the Foucauldian concept of subjugated knowledges, it is argued that migrant women's life-stories hold transformative potential for producing knowledges critical of gendered and ethnocised power relations that research should pay attention to.

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