Black and Ethnic Minorities or Foreigners? Researching Narratives of Receptiveness Under Different Political Frameworks Using Semi-Structured Interviews

Abstract

In this case, I focus on the issues arising from comparing two cities embedded in a different social and political framework, and which consequently use differing political jargons. In order to do that, I refer to the fieldwork of my PhD research, situated in Brighton, United Kingdom, and Bologna, Italy. I discuss the challenges of approaching, interpreting, and comparing concepts in the field of migration, when these concepts possess different names with similar, if not identical, meanings. The terms I discuss are “Black and Minority Ethnic” for the United Kingdom and “foreigners” for Italy. As the Institute of Race Relations reports (2017), in the United Kingdom, the term “Black and Minority Ethnic” defines individuals of non-White British descent, either migrants or not, while in Italy “foreigners” is commonly used to identify people with non-Italian descent, regardless of the legal status and/or the length of stay in the country. As a method, I used in-depth semi-structured interviews all throughout the research, which suitability I will also examine. This comparative exercise is helpful not only to learn how to work with different political languages but also to explore the possible implications of these terms.

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