Edited by Robert C. Kloosterman, Virginie Mamadouh and Pieter Terhorst
Studying globalization requires a global perspective. Methodologically, this means that investigating phenomena that occur in and influence multiple places, or investigating how phenomena occurring across multiple places are connected to each other. Multi-sited fieldwork is one way to approach this practical problem. It involves designing research which incorporates different places and times into a single researchable question. In this chapter, we present some theoretical considerations and practical possibilities for executing multi-sited research. To do so, we first discuss how globalization can be conceived of through simultaneity and complexity, how phenomena are often taking place in multiple locations through simultaneous interconnection and with complex causes and effects. An important part of globalization research through multi-sited designs is investigating the connections and disconnections of simultaneous and complex activities and events. We also discuss what multi-sited research is, and what it is not; in other words, how some research designs may incorporate multiple locations, yet not effectively be multi-sited studies of interconnectivity. Finally, we give some examples of how multi-sited research can be accomplished. Our examples are taken from our own research, as well as research executed by anthropologists, sociologists and geographers over many different topics in globalization: migration, transnationalism and diaspora; high-level and low-level cross-border economic activity; and elite mobilities on a global scale. While many of these topics can be studied through a single site, each of these, and topics beyond them, has the potential to be studied using multi-sited fieldwork. Drawing on these examples, we give some guidelines and advice on how to prepare and execute a research design that brings new insights to a problem by incorporating multiple sites.
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