In this paper I consider how the construction of migration as a problem poses both ethical and epistemological challenges to migration scholars and how this is related to political and methodological nationalism. I briefly outline two paradigm shifts that have been highly generative in our field and beyond – methodological transnationalism and the mobilities turn, both of which have as their starting point a critique of the nation state as a container of social processes. Building on these critiques and alternatives to methodological nationalism I go on to propose an approach I’m calling ‘methodological denationalism’ which takes as its starting point the migrant/citizen distinction. Key to this approach is to ‘migrantize’ the citizen, and I go on to give some examples of how this is done, not only to citizens of colour, but also to those who support non-citizens or who are the partners of non-citizens. Finally, I suggest that migrantizing the citizen enables us not only to look at the ways in which immigration controls affect citizens, but also how we might begin to make connections between the formal exclusions of noncitizenship and the multiple, and sometimes informal exclusions within citizenship.
- Methodological nationalism
- Methodological transnationalism
- Migration studies
- Race and racialisation