Doing research on ageing migrants: a methodological discussion on limitations and implications of studying ageing migrants

Ruxandra Oana Ciobanu, University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland and University of Geneva

The paper aims to circumcise and define the population of ageing migrants. For a long time, the buzzword has been the ageing of societies in Western Europe and North America, and to address this issue, there were attracted migrants. Over the past decade we are facing the ageing of the migrant population itself. Moreover, some people decide to migrate after reaching retirement. Most often this population is generically named “ageing migrants” or “elderly migrants”. To study this population it is necessary to clearly define it and explore its heterogeneity. First this paper is going to propose a typology of ageing migrants based on a review of the relevant literature and on fieldwork research coordinated in Portugal and in Switzerland in two different projects between 2010 and 2013. This typology will aim to identify the main characteristics of ageing migrants, among which type of residence permit, and duration of stay at the destination and transnational mobility. Second, there will be done a review of the literature in order to identify the groups of ageing migrants that are studied by the literature, the themes that are studied in relation to this population, and the research methodologies that are employed. The review of the literature is going to cover a large area of disciplines as well as interdisciplinary work from anthropology, demography, education sciences, geography, medical sciences, psychology, political sciences, social psychology social policy, social work, sociology, urbanism, as well as ethnicities, international migration, gender studies and so on. In the analysis the paper will bring together two aspects – the themes of research and the research methodologies employed. This will to give us the possibility to discuss the methodological implications of studying ageing migrants, the areas that are little explored and new lines for further study.

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Presented in Session 61: Immigration and ageing