In the Green Fields of Kilburn: Reflections on a Quantitative Study of Irish Migrants in North London

  • Louise Ryan Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School

Abstract

This paper considers some of the emotional encounters experienced by the researcher while carrying out a study of Irish migrants in London. Although quantitative research takes little cognisance of the emotional impact of research, this paper suggests some of the ways in which a standardised, closed-ended questionnaire may provoke emotional responses in both the researcher and the researched. The emotional landscape of the research is intimately connected with the physical landscape in which the research is being carried out. Researching Irish migrants in areas such as Kilburn requires a consideration of the complex and dynamic spaces in which an Irish translocal community has been materially constructed and symbolically invented. Kilburn is not simply a backdrop to the research; it forms part of the emotional terrain which has to be negotiated in doing this research.

Author Biography

Louise Ryan, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School
Louise Ryan has a Ph.D. in sociology from University College Cork. She has published widely on gender and nationalism in Ireland and on Irish migration to Britain. Her most recent book is Gender, Identity and the Irish Press, 1922-37: Embodying the Nation (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002). She is currently researching the health of Irish migrants in London.