EU nationals' criminal deportations in the UK: embracing disempowerment as ethics and methodology

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This chapter offers reflections on the role of disempowerment from the perspective of the researcher in designing and conducting research with deportees. It is based on a period of mixed-methods fieldwork in 2018-19 concerning EU nationals with criminal convictions in the UK. The disempowerment of deportees has extensively been studied in the literature. Here we focus on how it affects the relationship between researcher and deportee, and how it impacts the fieldwork methodologically. We demonstrate that disempowerment has implications for the deployment and perceived usefulness of researcher expertise, as well as for the positionality of the researcher as they approach the field from the position of solidarity. I also reflect on the concrete methodological implications disempowerment has on accessing a field so violently guarded by gatekeepers. It often requires significant methodological ingenuity and bravery in identifying alternative voices and alternative sites for conducting fieldwork in the absence of the deportee.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Methods in Deportation The Power-Knowledge Approach
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781035313105
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2024

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