Upcoming PhD defenses
16.01.2017 Thesis  - 

L’empresariat ètnic des de l’enfocament del mixed embeddedness: els negocis pakistanesos a la ciutat de Barcelona

Author: Berta Güell Torrent
Director: Dra.Sònia Parella Rubio
Date: 14 de setembre de 2017 a les 12 h
Place: Sala de Graus B1/021


Over the last quarter of the 20th century one of the major changes affecting labour market in Europe and the USA has been the emergence of businesses run by immigrants and ethnic minorities in post-industrial and cosmopolitan cities. In this regard Barcelona is no exception. The internationalisation of the city combined with high levels of migration alongside the presence of a dynamic commercial fabric have created favourable opportunity structures, which has encouraged the emergence of ethnic businesses. Among the different groups of foreigners, the Pakistani community stands out for a double pattern: it is the largest community in the city from outside the EU, and it is one of the most entrepreneurial groups. Despite this, little is known about it. This PhD thesis aims to analyse factors that explain the development and consolidation of the Pakistani ethnic economy since the crisis (post 2008), as well as the logics of the internal functioning of its businesses and the internal diversity of the entrepreneurial community that runs them. Through the theoretical approach of ‘mixed embeddedness’ (Kloosterman, van der Leun and Rath 1999), the interaction between the factors associated with the supply-side (the Pakistani entrepreneurs) and the demand-side (the opportunity structure of the city) are examined from a multilevel analysis model. This integrates the macro-structural framework, as well as the characteristics of businesses (meso level) and those of the businessmen (micro level). The results of this study reveal that the success of the Pakistani commercial establishments in the city is explained by its mixed embeddedness between a favourable opportunity structure, with few entry barriers, and the networks of the group through which resources and capitals circulate on a transnational basis.

Resource sharing norms and generation of inequality in small-scale societies: A study through computational simulation based on qualitative ethnographic evidence.

Author: Jorge Caro Saiz
Director: Dr.Francesc Josep Miguel Quesada / Dra.Débora Zurro Hernández
Date: 15 de setembre de 2017 a les 12 h
Place: Sala de Graus G6/002


Resource sharing norms and generation of inequality in small-scale societies: A study through computational simulation based on qualitative ethnographic evidence.

The present PhD thesis developes a series of theoretical and methodological tools to explore the processes underlying resource sharing as well as the generation and persistence of inequality in human societies, by relying on a novel, systematic classification of sharing practices in small-scale societies based on ethnographic sources. An approach based on Analytical Sociology is proposed, with the aim of identifying and investigating the social and structural mechanisms that generate the different sharing practices. Later, the practices identified are codified according to the mechanisms that generate them. The resulting systematic classification allows us to:

• Identify, describe, classify, and compare the different sharing sequences of stages among different societies.
• Develop the systematic translation of qualitative information into quantitative and formal language, with the aim of improving the development of various types of models and analysis of social processes.
• Apply the proposed approach to contemporary case studies, since sharing practices are not bound to a specific socio-economic system.
• Building an agent based model (ABM) called MSP (Modelling Sharing Practices), in which a virtual society based on ethnographic empirical information is implemented, with the aim of analysing the socioeconomic processes under study.

Las redes personales en el mercado de trabajo

Author: Mattia Vacchiano
Director: Dr.Joel Martí Olivé / Dr.Carlos Lozares Colina
Date: 15 de setembre de 2017 a les 11 h
Place: Sala de Graus B2/118


In a context in which labor is deeply marked by the uncertainties and transitory nature of employment, this thesis focuses on the inequalities generated by personal networks along the educational and labour trajectories of young people. Personal contacts — family, friends, teachers, workmates or student colleagues — represent a central channel for job searches and access to employment among young people, especially in a context in which labor pathways demand rapid and viable solutions to the increasing precarity of employment. Thus, the objective of this research is to investigate the role played by personal networks in a flexible and deregulated labor market with the aim of contributing to an understanding of the influence of social capital as a mechanism of social reproduction in an era of deep and renewed inequalities.

The research forms part of studies of social networks applied to the labor market. The research design implements a hybrid form of survey as an instrument for obtaining data and recording quantitative and qualitative information on the personal networks of the respondents. To sum up, the thesis points out the importance of social capital as a channel for job searches and a way of inserting oneself into employment, thus emphasizing the importance of the quality of resources possessed by contacts that provide help during the labor trajectories, observing inequalities that reaffirm the objective nature of the differences between classes.

The thesis has been developed within a project led by Prof. Carlos Lozares and Prof. Joan Miquel Verd on “Las redes sociales, en sus diferentes modalidades, como recursos y mecanismos de búsqueda laboral e inserción laboral en el empleo y de apoyo social en los jóvenes” (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, ref. CSO2012-36055). As a result, the theoretical and methodological contents of the thesis are being put forward as an extension of aspects investigated in the project mentioned, proposed by the Centre d’Estudis Sociòlogics sobre la Vida Quotidiana i el Treball (QUIT). In addition, this thesis has been developed as part of the INCASI network, coordinated by Dr. López-Roldán.

Social Capital and Territorial Development: Social Networks and Leadership in the New Rural Dynamics in Spain

Author: Javier Esparcia Pérez
Director: Dr.Carlos Lozares Colina / Dr.José Luís Molina González
Date: 20 de setembre de 2017 a les 12 h
Place: Sala de Graus B1/021


The doctoral thesis starts from the need to (re) conceptualize the analytical framework in which to approach the study of new rural dynamics. To this end, the contributions of the New Economic Sociology, useful for a complementary approach to the study of territorial processes, are explored. The state of the art is defined by the combination of two approaches, on the one hand, rural studies, with attention to the contributions of territorial development. On the other, the social capital approach, with attention to its contribution to the study of such local and territorial development processes.

The core hypothesis of research is based on the expected effects on the stock of social capital coming from the combination of, on the one hand, the processes of socioeconomic development in which many of the disadvantaged areas of our country have been immersed and, on the other hand, from the growing coordination between actors, for example within or in relation to the LEADER local action groups. As a result, the hypothesis behind the research is that, in rural areas, a strengthening of bonding social capital in different areas is taking place, as well as linkages and social integration within each of the areas, between the different groups and social-relational structures (bridging social capital and, where appropriate, linking social capital). The thesis focuses on the study of the relational dimension of social capital, for which the methodological approach of Social Network Analysis is applied (mainly from socio-centric perspective).

The universes of analysis are, on the one hand, a sample of eight case studies, rural disadvantaged areas that, correspond, for purposes of selection and hypothesis contrast, with LEADER areas (Bajo Martín and Andorra - Sierra de Arcos, Bajo Aragon and Matarraña, Catalunya Central, El Condado de Jaén, Nooreste de Murcia, Sierra de Alcaraz y Campo de Montiel, Mariñas - Betanzos, and Sierras de Béjar y Francia). On the other, we work with broad samples of social actors that respond to a double criterion: to have a certain broadly recognized social, economic, political-institutional or managerial relevance, linked to the socioeconomic development processes of the territory, and that such a relevance is recognized on a supra-municipal scale, that is, those actors who are more “important” in relation to territorial development processes. The selection of actors is carried out through previous interviews with privileged informants, and is subsequently contrasted with interviews with all actors (at the moment to analyse their own personal networks). Globally, the samples are made up of 45 to 60 actors in each area, around 90% of the actors that meet the selection criteria.

Based on the information gathered in the 427 personal interviews considered valid, a comparative analysis of the structural properties of social networks is carried out, with particular attention to cohesion and centrality measures, in order to assess the stock of social capital in each of the social network. It also includes a longitudinal analysis, assessing the stability elements of these social networks in a perspective of almost two decades. Second, we analyze the relational bases of cooperation between actors, dyadic reciprocity and triadic transitivity. Thirdly, the relational patterns are analyzed according to the relation opening versus homophilic patterns, according to diverse attributes, such as the socio-professional scope to which the actors belong. Fourth, more than 50 socio-relational substructures or cohesive groups and their articulating elements are analyzed in detail. The thesis ends with an analysis of personal networks in order to define the role of socio-territorial elites as intermediation elements in relational flows. The conclusion is that the research hypothesis does not seem to be satisfactorily fulfilled.

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