Research methodology

The research proposed in EURO_CITI is located within recent debates of practical theory, which mainly understand citizenship practice and identity politics as performative acts. Since subject-bound practices are the centre of attention of such theoretic design, it requires basically qualitative and interpretative methodological approaches, widely used in different areas of social sciences.

Methodological triangulation will be completed by an exhaustive analysis of existing statistical data and by an analysis of the socio-legal framework that guides societal and political involvement of foreign EU migrants in Spain. In detail, the following steps and methodical approaches are foreseen:

  • Analysis of statistical data at different geographical scales available at the host institution. Data are provided by the Spanish National Statistic Institute and belong to different series of official data collections, e.g. the statistics about residential variations and the permanent municipal inhabitants census. Statistical data analysis will be the first step of the empirical research, determining the selection of case studies in different Spanish target regions. Criteria of gathering a maximum contrast between different cases will be applied. Statistical data analysis goes ahead with a first selection and the deepening of the conceptual framework of the project, mainly done by literature revision and theoretical discussion.
  • Analysis of administrative practice regarding foreign senior migrants in Spain. This aspect contains the analysis of the normative and legal frame for social and political involvement of foreigners, as well as first thematic interviews with key actors at a municipal, regional and national scale. Analysis of the legal framework for different nationalities (e.g. Britons, Germans) imply also the evaluation of the national framework in the countries of origin and European regulations.
  • Following the methodological ideas of Schütze and Rosenthal, biography-oriented narrative interviews, which focus on the personal and oral history of the interviewee, are a core methodical approach of the empirical fieldwork. Biography-oriented narrative interviews can be interpreted as a performative act, where subjects are supposed to reproduce their representation of political identities and citizenship practice. Problems and knowledge transfer due to the political participation can be released and typified, as individual adaptations of group specific (tacit) knowledge are reproduced. From the database of narrative interviews, the structuring frameworks for practice in the political participation can be derived.
  • Problem-centred interviews are the second corner stone of data generation. Problem-centred interviews turn around a central topic of interest as it is the political participation of foreign residents. These interviews reveal the positions of different actors within the social field of politics.
  • Quantitative application of a standardized questionnaire can reveal important data both about opinions, perceptions and valuation of the political participation of foreign residents. Consequently, the development of a survey in different municipalities is foreseen in order to gather statistical data about the political participation of foreign residents. Analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data will provide the possibility to identify, typify and analyse best- and worst-case situations.
  • Focus groups are an important instrument to gather in-situ information from actors who are in direct interaction. The discussion atmosphere is close to usual, daily discussions within a group. That is why indirect and only within the group context statements and habits can be discovered. Focus groups serve to evaluate the current situation and develop future scenarios.

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European Union Marie Curie Actions Seventh Framework Programme CCHS Centro de Ciencias
Humanas y Sociales CSIC Centro Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas

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Contact and further information: Dr. Michael Janoschka

Centre of Human and Social Sciences
CSIC – Spanish Council for Scientific Research
Tel.: +34 91 602 2310
E-Mail: michael.janoschka [at] cchs.csic.es