Aotearoa Migration Research Network (AMRN) seminar

Date Friday 26 May 2023
Time 11am - 12pm
Presenter Dr Pavithra Jayawardena (University of Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Contact Jessica Terruhn
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

Breadth or Depth? Tensions of methods in exploring Sri Lankan immigrants’ citizenship views

In this presentation I reflect on the tensions of selecting research methods and positionalities to explore Sri Lankan immigrants’ citizenship views for my PhD study. Employing a transnational lens, I studied what it meant for Sri Lankan immigrants in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand to become a host country citizen and a dual citizen of the home country and the factors that affect those views. I collected interview data from 49 participants from four cities: Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne and Sydney. The Sri Lankan immigrant community is an extremely diverse group ranging from Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, Sinhalese skilled doctors, Sri Lankan ‘maids’, students to irregular ‘boat migrants’. Due to these internal complexities, the Sri Lankan immigrant community constitutes an excellent case for migration research. However, due to the small size of the group in comparison to other immigrant groups, the Sri Lankan case receives less attention and are often doubted for the ‘usability’ of studying it. But, is it accurate to assume that Sri Lankan immigrant groups are a less qualified community to research? How should we as migration researchers respond to such tensions? In the presentation, I highlight the tensions produced by the mainstream beliefs on ‘generalizability’, ‘usability’, ‘accuracy’ and ethics in working with immigrants. Reflecting on my research journey, I present how such tensions affected my study in selecting and justifying research methods, positioning myself as a researcher to conduct ethical research and communicating the research.

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