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Politics and International Relations (PIR): Events


When your Method turns to Madness: Researching Small Councils in the UK

When your Method turns to Madness: Researching Small Councils in the UK
Speaker: Isabella Gabrovsky # University of Edinburgh
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Date and Time
23rd Oct 2019 15:00 - 23rd Oct 2019 16:00
Conference Room 3.15, Chrystal Macmillan Building


My research examines if and how England and Scotland differ in regards to attitudes on migration and national identity. As recently as the 2014 Independence referendum, there has been this popular narrative within public discourse about nationalism and immigration which portrays the Scottish people as pro-immigration, pro-Europe, and having a porous national identity while the English are seen afraid of mass immigration, and traditional in every single way— even when it comes down to defining nationality and ethnicity.

In surveys where Scots and English give their opinions on migration and their perceptions of national identity, it appears that both nations are equal in having conservative and somewhat exclusionary beliefs. However, ethnic minorities in Scotland are more likely to consider themselves Scots than their counterparts in England are likely to label themselves as English.

I have interviewed Syrian refugees that are resettled in England and Scotland and compared their experiences. This cohort has served as a control to determine differences in policy and public attitudes across the border. I am also interviewing and observing local council employees, elected officials, and third sector organizations that work on behalf of refugees in the UK to provide an ethnographic dimension to my data. I will then contrast this qualitative data I have collected and compare it to secondary quantitative data on Scottish and English attitudes to analyze if there are significant differences in attitudes, and if so, to examine reasons as to why this has occurred.

This research experience has highlighted a number of issues with how researchers are trained to conduct fieldwork with vulnerable and migrant groups. This talk will not only discuss the preliminary results of my fieldwork, but also introduce the possibility for a new normative framework for conducting research in small local authorities.