Maxim Ni 1, Pavel Lisitsyn 2
  • 1 Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya Nab., 13B, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation 199034
  • 2 Saint Petersburg State University of Economics, Universitetskaya Nab., 13B, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation 199034

Interactional Lenses for Contemporary Migration Studies: The Case of the “Cosmopolitan Sociability” Concept

2017, vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 87–104 [issue contents]
The article attempts to revise the concept of ‘cosmopolitan sociability’, proposed by Nina Glick-Schiller for the field of migration research, from the interactional perspective. Cosmopolitan sociability characterizes such forms of integration of mobile people that do not refer to ethnicity or the country of origin; instead they are based on openness, free emotional sharing, and general human competencies available to everyone. However, the use of the concept by anthropologists and sociologists seems to neglect specific situational mechanisms of how cosmopolitan sociability is produced and reproduced in everyday interactions. We seek to fill this gap addressing theoretical resources of ethnomethodological membership categorization analysis, as well as interaction ritual theory. We propose to combine these approaches as complementary conceptual frameworks to analyze cosmopolitan sociability practices at the situational level. Ethnomethodological tradition helps to identify mutual definition and accounting of what is happening in specific here-and-now situations. This allows analyzing the stability created within the framework of cosmopolitan interactions, as well as the specific moral order that is reproduced within them. Moreover, ethnomethodological analysis helps to identify contexts where cosmopolitan sociability can or cannot arise. Interaction ritual theory, as developed by Randall Collins, characterizes situational solidarities and group symbols emerging and sustaining in everyday interactions. It is also able to trace the influence of the individuals’ past experiences (previous chains of interactions) on their participation in situations of cosmopolitan sociability. The proposed approach is illustrated by the analysis of several examples of labor migrants’ interactions in the Federal Migration Service.
Citation: Ni M., Lisitsyn P. (2017) Perspektivy interaktsionistskogo analiza v sovremennykh migratsionnykhissledovaniyakh: sluchay «kosmopoliticheskogo obshcheniya» [Interactional Lenses for Contemporary Migration Studies: The Case of the “Cosmopolitan Sociability” Concept]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 16, no 4, pp. 87-104 (in Russian)
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