Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Confronting Racialised Power Asymmetries in the Interview Setting: Positioning Strategies of Highly Qualified Migrants

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Abstract:  Based on our longitudinal, in‐depth qualitative research focusing on the social construction of deskilling among highly educated migrants from Central and Eastern European (CEE) member states of the European Union, we will discuss in this article the positioning of the interview partners within the interview situation as interrelated to societal racialised power asymmetries. In this contribution, we exemplify that critical migration research can only be carried out when we reflect on our methods accordingly. To do so, we discuss actual evidence from this ongoing research project: While we see that many of our interview partners from new EU member states are reluctant to point to negative experiences in our conversations, we want to highlight that the potentiality of discrimination is part of the interview setting in our research and thus co‐constructs the empirical data. By analysing a variety of discursive positioning strategies employed by our interview partners that can be understood as strategies to avoid anticipated discrimination, we aim to fulfil the promise of methodological reflexivity and thus contribute to the quality of interview research in the context of migration studies. The aim of this contribution is thus twofold: We want to contribute to methodological discussions as well as refine current research focussing on the racist experiences of CEE migrants.

Keywords:  discrimination; everyday experiences; highly skilled; interviewing analysis; migration; positioning



© Elisabeth Scheibelhofer, Clara Holzinger, Anna‐Katharina Draxl. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.