A Biographical Study of an Economic Crisis and New Beginnings
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Life histories and experiences of Spanish migrants
Since the beginning of the economic crisis of 2008, Spain, like other southern European countries, has witnessed a mass departure of mostly young people looking for opportunities abroad. Leaving Spain is based on 58 autobiographical narrative interviews with recent Spanish migrants who went to the UK and Germany, and sometimes returned. By presenting a combination of in-depth case studies and comparative analyses, the author demonstrates the potential of biographical research and narrative analysis in studying contemporary Europe, including its overlapping crises. The scope of the sociological study is not limited to examining how those who left Spain experienced single phases of their migration. Instead, it focuses on the significance of migration projects in the context of their life histories and how they make sense of these experiences in retrospect.
This book will not only be of great interest to social scientists and students in different disciplines and interdisciplinary studies such as sociology, anthropology, human geography, European studies, education, and social work, but also to professionals, European and national policy makers, and those interested in learning more about migrants’ experiences, perspectives, and (often invisible) contributions.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).
2. Mapping the Field
Phases of EU mobility: a timeline
Zooming in on the Spanish case
Taking on a biographical perspective
3. Biographical Case Studies
Where to go from here?
4. Time to go?
‘Going abroad’ in the context of one’s academic training
Withstanding a collective mood of demoralisation
Trying to overcome a prolonged period of dependency and stagnation
Trying to cope with or escape from a trajectory of suffering
In search of professional recognition and adequate pay
Acquiring foreign language skills in order to gain a competitive advantage
5. On Studying and Working Abroad
Exchange programmes as pathways into a long-term stay
Alternatives to wage labour
6. A Web of Social Relationships
On working to maintain personal ties to Spain
The emergence of new social relationships in the receiving society
Spaces of transition
Perceived barriers in everyday interactions
7. Established-Outsider Relations in Times of Brexit
The case of Diego
Looking beyond the single case
A note on the recent political developments
8. An Uneasy Homecoming
Returning as an answer to what?
Moving ‘back’: expectations vs. reality
A brief overview of my findings
Addressing different audiences
Looking back and looking ahead
10. Methodological Appendix
A note on biographical research
The autobiographical narrative interview and procedures of sequential analysis
The history of my field research
Format: Monograph - free ebook - PDF
Publication: April 07, 2022
In a debated field such as migration, the work of Mê-Linh Riemann
is very important in showing which conditions can actually lead to the
migration of young middle-class educated people, the conditions they find upon
arrival, how they find work, learn the local language, associate with others,
eventually decide to return or continue on abroad. I would definitely use
this text in my courses on biographical research, migration studies, and
qualitative-interpretive methods, for undergraduate, graduate and PhD students.
Lena Inowlocki, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main