A Theoretical and Methodological Approach to Ethnographic Research on Migration and Intersectionality
Generally, theoretical concepts are explained in the respective chapters to which analysis they are relevant. In this chapter, theories, concepts and terms will be discussed that are central to the entire understanding of and approach to the research field and to this book.
The central terms for an anthropological analysis that follows a constructivist and praxeological approach are: performances or performativ- ity, practices, narrations and strategies. These terms are central for this book as we can already see in the research foci as discussed in the introduction. I therefore shortly define them in the way they are used in this research. First of all, these terms do not exclude each other but overlap and intersect. If we understand performativity and performances in the sense of Judith Butler, ‘not as a singular or deliberate “act”, but rather, as a reiterative and citational practice by which discourse produces the effects that it names’ (2011 , p. xii), then we can see how narrations, strategies and practices are always also performances. At the same time, I understand practices as any social (human) action (cf. Reckwitz 2003, p. 290). This generally also includes narratives. I will refer to the term narratives and narrations if I want to explicitly emphasise that I refer to the practice of narrating or telling.
The narratives in this book are the stories, motives and myths that Fenerbah^e and Galatasaray fans told me in interview situations or in conversations during participant observations. The analysis of these narratives is central to this book to understand ‘the fundamental ways in which humans organize their understanding of the world. [...] Narrating is, after all, a major means of making sense of past experience and sharing it with others.’ (Cortazzi 2001, p. 384) This means that narratives are not only important to understand what happened to interviewees in the past or what concerns them in the present, but narratives themselves are practices of human action that shape meaning. They can be strategies to represent, to explain, to organise thus to construct actions and meanings as well as to construct others and selves (Lucius-Hoene and Deppermann 2004b, p. 61).
Regarding ‘strategies’, I understand the concept of strategies also as practices following Ann Swidler’s approach. Swidler argues that culture is a ‘tool kit’ that helps to create ‘strategies of action’ (Swidler 1986, p. 273). Here, strategies are not conscious plans, but ‘a general way of organizing action’ (ibid., p. 277). Culture can be considered a ‘“tool kit” of symbols, stories, rituals, and world-views, which people may use in varying configurations to solve different kinds of problems’ (ibid., p. 273).
Following these approaches I consider my interviews and participant observations as embedded in socio-cultural contexts that are flexible and processual. Culture and society and thus also research and all it contains are processual phenomena that need to be analysed as such (Binder and Hess 2011, p. 48). This also applies for the concept of fan loyalties and rivalries, selves and others as they are hybrid and flexible constructs (Bauman 2000; Hall 1996a).