Insufficient Funds: The Culture of Money in Low-Wage Transnational Families

By Hung Cam Thai | Go to book overview

APPENDIX
Methodology and Interviewees

The analysis for this study is based on three specific sets of data collected mostly in Saigon. The first set of data is based on separate, but overlapping, phases of in-depth interviews with 98 individuals in transnational families, including low-wage Vietnamese immigrants from the United States and their non-migrant relatives in Saigon. I interviewed each respondent more than once, and many of them several times, during a span of seven years that began in May 2004 and ended in September 2011. These participants were drawn from an initial list of migrant respondents whose eligibility was determined by the combined regularity of their return visits and their low-wage work status. After I sampled the migrant respondents, I obtained a sample of their non-migrant relatives. Respondents represent transnational families from all of the nineteen urban districts of Saigon.

The second set of data comprises field notes I collected systematically while based in Saigon for a total of thirty-five discontinuous months. The notes were gathered at distinct intervals, including fifteen research trips during each summer and winter between 2004 and 2011,1 as well as two intensive phases of fieldwork. The first phase was a ten-month stint conducted from May 2004 through March 2005. The second phase was a seven-month stint from January through July 2009. A third set of data comprises twenty-three exploratory interviews I conducted in 2009 with a group of local individuals in Saigon who have no association with migration, transnational actors, or relatives abroad.

In sum, the final analysis includes interviews and participant observations with 121 individuals in Saigon: 46 migrant and 52 non-migrant members of transnational family networks, as well as 23 locals. Twenty-four of the migrant interviewees are women and 22 are men. The age range is twenty-eight to fifty-three, with an average age of about thirtynine.2 Among the non-migrant respondents, 28 are women and 24 are men. They range

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