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The value of single‐site ethnography in the global era: studying transnational experiences in the migrant house

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Since George Marcus wrote his seminal article on multi‐sited ethnography, this methodology has become much used by scholars who study people's everyday life in a global and transnational context. In that same article, Marcus argued that single‐site ethnography can still be a useful methodology in the global era. In contrast with multi‐sited ethnography, Marcus' thoughts about single‐site ethnography have rarely been elaborated and put into practice so far. The aim of this paper is to show the value of doing single‐site ethnography in the field of transmigration studies. The paper concentrates on migrants' personal experiences of living in‐between two countries. Drawing on recent research by Katie Walsh, I will show how both the relationality and emotionality of transnational experiences can be studied in one place: the migrant house. The crux of an ethnography of the migrant house is to regard that place as both a relational and an emotional place. Since geographers have thorough knowledge about relational and emotional senses of place, they can play an important role in further developing these single‐site ethnographies.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Human Geography, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6500 HK, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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