Interpreting autobiographies in migration research: narratives of Japanese returnees from the Canary Islands (Spain)

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Abstract

Within the context of recent epistemological and methodological turns in geography and social sciences, this paper explores the use of autobiographical narratives in international migration research and learning through the analysis of three books written by Japanese returnees from the Canary Islands (Spain). These narratives were interpreted by focusing on their content from a categorical perspective, using a type of reading known traditionally as ‘content analysis’ and adopting a cross-cultural framework of research, reflecting a biographical approach to the study of embodied experiences of migration and cross-cultural processes. A major finding in this study is the recognition of migration and mobility as transformative experiences that changed the authors’ way of looking at the world and have had a profound impact on every aspect of their lives. The article emphasises the importance of reflexivity, positionality and communicative competence between cultures in geography.

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