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Doctoral work contract (M/W) for a sociology PhD on residential trajectories and social relations in a context of crisis

This offer is available in the following languages:
- Français-- Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : lundi 9 octobre 2023

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Informations générales

Intitulé de l'offre : Doctoral work contract (M/W) for a sociology PhD on residential trajectories and social relations in a context of crisis (H/F)
Référence : UMR5193-BEAMIL-001
Nombre de Postes : 1
Lieu de travail : TOULOUSE
Date de publication : lundi 18 septembre 2023
Type de contrat : CDD Doctorant/Contrat doctoral
Durée du contrat : 36 mois
Date de début de la thèse : 12 octobre 2023
Quotité de travail : Temps complet
Rémunération : 2 135,00 € gross monthly
Section(s) CN : Sociology and legal sciences

Description du sujet de thèse

Within the framework of the "PANELVICO program: observing the long-term social consequences of the health crisis," coordinated by Pierre Mercklé, a three-year doctoral contract is open for applications. Candidates are expected to conduct a research thesis on the theme of "Leaving the metropolis? Residential trajectories and social relationships in a crisis context." The doctoral contract recipient will conduct their research in Toulouse, within the LISST, under the supervision of Béatrice Milard and Lydie Launay. The thesis will be part of Work Package 3 (WP3) "Disruptions in life trajectories, vulnerabilities, attitudes towards uncertainty, the future, authority, and the state" within the PANELVICO program.

This research axis is built around a central hypothesis: situations of uncertainty on a massive scale, such as those created by the health crisis, reshape the links between individuals' life paths, resulting in changes in personal relationships and the networks they form, the uncertainties individuals perceive, and their relationships with various authorities responsible for maintaining the stability of collective contexts. Crises, in fact, lead to a tension in the balance between spheres of activity and the institutions that structure them (Grossetti, 2004). The approach here is based on three assumptions. Firstly, situations of uncertainty do not affect all individuals equally. Secondly, they are not perceived and experienced in the same way by individuals. Thirdly, they do not impact life trajectories in the same way, depending on factors such as socio-economic and demographic characteristics, life stage, and housing conditions. The health crisis is an example of such a situation, but the research developed from this case can also be extended to other types of crises, such as the ecological crisis - where it is possible to think that the regular heatwaves during the summer of 2022 may have triggered or reinforced awareness of its reality and immediacy - or the economic crisis - especially with the rise in inflation and fossil fuel prices. The topic of this thesis will contribute to the analysis of residential trajectories and social relationships in times of crisis, focusing on residential mobility from major urban areas to small and medium-sized cities observed since the emergence of Covid-19. Based on initial investigations (see, for instance, the work initiated in the PopSu Territoires program "Urban Exodus? Small Flows, Big Effects," 2022), the relative scale of these mobilities does not significantly disrupt the major trends observed over several decades (see, in particular, Pistre, 2012, and the report of the Territorial Observatory, 2018). Starting in the 1970s, research has explored the settlement of new residents, often referred to as "neo-rurals," who, despite being a heterogeneous group in terms of their social trajectories, share values and political convictions that constitute an alternative cultural model. These individuals find in these places an space for human-scale experimentation (Leger, 1979). Other studies demonstrate movements away from the centers of metropolises, including those observed from central Paris to peri-urban areas (Bonvalet and Bringé, 2010), as well as to certain cities (Alexandre, Cusin, Juillard, 2010). Examining these mobilities allows for a variety of research questions, including the socio-spatial and demographic reconfigurations these mobilities can foster in small and medium-sized cities (peri-urbanization, impoverishment, decline, aging, gentrification, "rural renaissance," etc.); the housing patterns of newly settled individuals and social groups, which in some cases contrast with those dominant in the local space (Bacqué and Vermeersch, 2007); local relationships that can give rise to forms of solidarity and support as well as power dynamics (Cartier et al., 2008; Coquart, 2019); or even "ordinary" relationships with politics (Guéraut, 2017) and institutions (Courcelle et al., 2017). Studying these mobilities in times of high uncertainty opens up several avenues that could be explored in the context of this thesis. A first axis of analysis will explore the residential projects and choices of individuals to see if and how they may be redefined based on their representations of this meso and macro context and how this context can disrupt their current and future situations. Examining this new stage in residential trajectories, which involves moving from metropolises to small and medium-sized cities, would also require paying particular attention to the conditions (social, economic, family, etc.) under which these projects and choices take shape and evolve. This is to understand which parameters related to housing location, characteristics, and occupancy status (Grafmeyer, 2010) have been favored according to individual considerations and preferences, as well as the adjustments, reconfigurations of possibilities, and temporal adjustments made to adapt to new external constraints (such as those related to the local real estate market, access to credit, etc.). Particular attention will also be paid to the relational surroundings that can influence these decisions, directly (advice, support, etc.) or indirectly (influence, example to follow, etc.). An examination of these projects in relation to those canceled or postponed due to the crisis context could also be considered to understand immobilities partly related to these constraints and the situations of residential captivity they can generate. Ultimately, it will be necessary to question the irreversibility of residential choices, which cannot be separated from "what happens in other spheres of social life, especially those of work and family ties" (Grafmeyer, 2010).

Another axis of analysis will focus on the ways in which the new place of residence is appropriated, the ordinary practices through which socio-spatial appropriations occur, and how they can help integrate new residents into the local space (Pinçon, 1981; Grafmeyer and Authier, 2019). These modes of appropriation can take the form of individual work as well as collective work through associations, activism, or politics, for example. The presence and practices of these new residents raise questions about the existence of socializing effects that can disrupt the social representations of the various social groups present and open the door to a possible transformation of social relationships as they are established within local configurations (Laferté, 2014). Beyond locally embedded practices, such residential mobility leads to a reorganization of daily mobilities (Bonnin-Oliveira et al., 2014), the financial, temporal, and organizational costs of which may increase, or at the very least, evolve in times of crisis (rising energy prices, telecommuting developments, etc.).

A final axis will focus on changes in the personal relationships of new residents. Relocation, especially when it involves significant geographical distance, constitutes a life event that affects the size and composition of social networks (Bidart, Degenne, and Grossetti, 2011). Analyzing personal relationships helps capture disruptions in other spheres of activity (marital, family, professional, etc.) that may be linked to the crisis context (the development of telecommuting is a good example) or to other structural elements. Residential mobility also has a social cost, involving a loss of relationships, especially among old local relationships, which leaves more room for the play of affinities. It would then be necessary to examine the effects of mobility on personal networks, to see which ties are maintained and in what contexts, and to understand how new relationships are formed, in what activity contexts, and according to what social logics. Personal relationships also offer conditions for accessing diverse resources (Lin, 2001) that should be studied, considering the role that local relationships play in the social life of individuals. Finally, settling in a new residential space, which may be more or less socially diversified, raises questions about what changes in networks produce in terms of social homogeneity, with the social composition of spaces constituting a structure of opportunity (Blau, 1984) – the more socially homogeneous a space is, the more locally created relationships tend to be similar (Tulin, Volker, and Lancee, 2019; Favre and Grossetti, 2021).

Contexte de travail

The PANELVICO research program is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) over a four-year period (2023-2027) and follows the VICO program, "Life in Confinement," which began in the spring of 2020 (See https://vico.hypotheses.org/). Based on a large-scale survey program supported by a panel of over 16,000 French citizens recruited during the first lockdown in the spring of 2020 and subsequently re-interviewed twice, this program aims to provide an ongoing account of the effects of this crisis on the evolution of sociability forms, dynamics of social relationships, and manifestations of social bonds. Additionally, it seeks to explore the connections between these developments and those observable in three essential domains of social life: working conditions, collectives, and professional relationships (WP1 - led by Claire Bidart); family life, cultural practices, and digital usage of the French population (WP2 - led by Pierre Mercklé); and finally, vulnerabilities, life trajectories, and attitudes towards uncertainty, the future, authority, and the state (WP3 - led by Michel Grossetti).

This thesis aims to extend and enrich the reflections initiated in VICO, "Life in Confinement," the program preceding PANELVICO, concerning residential (im)mobilities that have occurred since the emergence of the crisis and may be related to changes in other spheres of social activity. The crisis situation related to Covid-19 has disrupted life trajectories by creating disturbances in certain spheres of activity in which individuals are engaged. It has also disrupted the employment, housing (Grossetti and Launay, 2021), family, and personal life plans of individuals, as well as their temporalities (see, for example, the dossier in Temporalités, issue no. 34-35, 2021). Disruptions in personal networks have also been observed. Some relationships have transformed, some have been lost, others have strengthened or weakened, and some have deteriorated (Grossetti et al., forthcoming). However, coping with these unpredictable events that are external to individuals requires mobilizing various types of resources (relational, institutional), which are unevenly distributed or accessible within society. It appears from these results that individuals facing situations of vulnerability at the onset of the crisis were particularly destabilized by this event and its unfolding over time (Grossetti and Launay, 2021).

The thesis will be supervised by Béatrice Milard (Professor of Sociology at the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès) and Lydie Launay (Associate Professor at the National University Institute Champollion). The doctoral student will be hosted at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Solidarities, Societies, and Territories (LISST). LISST is a mixed research unit in the humanities and social sciences covering a wide range of themes, falling under CNRS sections 36, 38, and 39. It is located at the Maison de la Recherche on the Mirail campus of the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès. The student will be integrated into the CERS team (Collectif: Expériences Réseaux et Sociétés) and will be actively involved in the ANR PANELVICO program, which involves several researchers from LISST, PACTE (Grenoble), and LEST (Aix-Marseille).