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International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 580819, 12 pages
Research Article

Transnational Involvement: Reading Quantitative Studies in Light of Qualitative Data

1Peace Research Institute Oslo, P.O. Box 9229, Grønland, 0134 Oslo, Norway
2Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1096, Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway

Received 20 April 2012; Revised 19 July 2012; Accepted 23 September 2012

Academic Editor: Shirlena Huang

Copyright © 2012 Erlend Paasche and Katrine Fangen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Studies of migrant transnationalism are dominated by qualitative case studies. To take the field further, there is a need for more quantitative studies and for connecting quantitative and qualitative studies through a reiterative feedback loop. In order to contribute to this, we take two refined and original quantitative studies, one by Snel et al. and one by Portes et al., as a vantage point, commenting on the authors’ organization of analytical categories and their operationalization of key concepts, in light of our own, qualitative data. These data come from a research project, EUMARGINS, where we analyze processes of inclusion and exclusion of young adult immigrants and descendants in seven European countries, using participant observation and life-story interviews in combination with statistical data. We conclude that the process whereby young migrants identify themselves in terms of ethnicity and belonging is context-specific, multidimensional, and hard to study quantitatively.