The project is based on a multi-sited ethnography – Spain, Ecuador, Cuba – and is structured as 3 closely interrelated subprojects. It employs ethnographic methods in order to achieve a bottom up, empirically-grounded understanding of how imaginaries and concrete experiences of return migration relate to experiences of crisis and how they inform the (re)assessment of what counts as ‘good life’: what good life is, where it is located, and the way it may be achieved.
The main methods consist of:
a) Review of policy documents and online/media sources
Review of the narratives that emerge from institutional written sources, mainstream media coverage, and online discussion forums, in regards to current migration to Ecuador and Cuba, with a special focus on return migration from Spain and on the impact of economic crises on such migratory movements.
b) Participant observation
Participant observation enables researchers to become embedded in the social life of Ecuadorian/Cuban men and women living in Spain, Cuba, and Ecuador. The establishment of relationships with research participants grants access to practices and conversations related to experiences of migration/return, assessments of living in Spain/Ecuador/Cuba, and ideals and aspirations of a good life in comparative perspective.
Semi-structured interviews with research participants, identified as a result of participant observation and via snowball sampling, focus on experiences of migration/return, the impact of crisis, assessments of good living in comparative perspective, and participants’ future projects and aspirations, notably in relation to their migration trajectories.
Collaboration and complementarity between subprojects are reinforced by the original use of "simultaneous matched sample methodology” and mutual research visits, which provide insights on the transnational dimension and social embeddedness of people’s (re)assessments of the good life. Developing a partially-shared network of research participants in Spain-Ecuador and Spain-Cuba provides key insights on how migratory projects and decisions are discussed and evaluated among kin, friends, and acquaintances experiencing the different contexts at stake.