Faime Alpagu

«I am doing well in Austria». Biography, photography and migration memories of a 1970s guest worker

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Guest Workers; Biography; Photography; Migration; Memory.

This article discusses the advantages associated with juxtaposing oral and visual narrations in an attempt to reach a differentiated under¬standing of migration and to contribute to the innovative development of methods in migration research. The paper is a part of a larger project dealing with "guest worker" photographs and letters sent to family members in Turkey between 1960 and 1989. These primary materials were complemented by official documents and recently conducted biographic-narrative interviews. The project followed a reconstructive approach by triangulating interpretative methods: biographical case reconstruction, visual segment analysis, and figurative hermeneutics. Analysis was undertaken via a case-study approach according to the principles of theoretical sampling, with the aim of revealing the com¬plex interactions between different modes of expression (visual/verbal), time relations (now/then) and spatial relations (here/there). Based on the case study of a biography shaped by migration from Turkey to Austria at the end of the 1970s, this paper questions and challenges the rigorous distinctions made between forms of migration, such as labour migration, educational migration, etc. It shows that this period of time saw a blend of refugee and labour migration, and furthermore contributes to a differentiated visual representation of migration by drawing attention to the complexities of its depiction.

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