3.90.161 Follow the Migrant: Methodological Challenges of a Mobile Research Design


  • Di , 29.11.2016 14:00 - 18:00
  • Do , 01.12.2016 14:00 - 18:00


Die Veranstaltung findet statt im Rahmen des Studiengangs EMMIR ist aber für andere Studierende der Universität geöffnet. Für Fragen wenden Sie sich bitte an

Carried out by Dr. Joris Schapendonk (Radboud University Nijmegen)

The recent paradigmatic shift from the ‘sedentary’ to the ‘mobile’ (Sheller and Urry 2006) has led to several methodological challenges for social scientists. Main questions are: 1) how can we grasp the mobility of people/goods/ideas? And; 2) does mobility research inevitably imply that researchers have to be mobile too? This workshop critically discusses the opportunities and pitfalls of mobile methodologies. The first part reviews a variety of mobile research designs and mobile methods used in different disciplines. The second part specifically focuses on opportunities and pitfalls of a longitudinal research aiming to understand the dynamics of the migration trajectories of sub-Saharan African migrants who move to and in the European Union. Finally, I reflect on some ethical dilemmas that have emerged in my mobility research (e.g. does the following of migrants increase the traceability of their trajectories, and what does this mean?).


• Cresswell, T. (2010). Towards a politics of mobility. Environment and planning. D, Society and space, 28(1), 17-31 (14pages)
• Walters, W. (2014). Migration, vehicles, and politics. Three theses on viapolitics. European Journal of Social Theory, 1368431014554859. (19pages)
• Levitt, P. and Jaworsky (2007): Transnational Migration Studies: Past Developments and Future Trends, Annual Reviews Sociology, 33: 129-156 (27pages)

• Marcus, G. E. (1995). Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual review of anthropology, 95-117. (23 pages)
• Hage, G. (2005). A not so multi-sited ethnography of a not so imagined community. Anthropological theory, 5(4), 463-475. (12pages)

Empirical papers
• Schapendonk, J., & Steel, G. (2014). Following migrant trajectories: The im/mobility of Sub-Saharan Africans en route to the European Union. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(2), 262-270. (8 pages)
• Mountz, A. (2011). Where asylum-seekers wait: feminist counter-topographies of sites between states. Gender, Place & Culture, 18(3), 381-399. (17 pages)

Joris Schapendonk is Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Planning at Radboud University Nijmegen. His current research focuses on the dynamics of African migration, the border politics of the European Union, and the geography of grassroots welcoming acts towards undocumented migrants. From the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, he received a Veni-grant (2015-2018) for his current research on the intra-EU mobility of African migrants. His work has been published in, among others, Annals of the Association of American Geographers (2014), Migration Studies (2014) and Population, Space and Place (2014).



  • ipb618 Transculturality and Cultural Mobility
  • mir120 Evaluating und Developing Research Methods for Transcultural Contexts
  • mir320 Theory and Methods in Migration Studies


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