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Connected communities PhD studentships

Monday, December 2, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Applications are being sought for two 3-year ESRC-funded PhD studentships linked to the Connected Communities ‘Imagine’ consortium led by Professor Graham Crow of the University of Edinburgh. The consortium’s programme of work is concerned with the social, historical, cultural and democratic context of civic engagement and the two studentships will ideally commence on 1 April 2014. The studentships will be on the topic of ‘Making time to be part of the community: Community time and the identification of individuals with communities’, to be supervised by Professor Graham Crow, Sociology, and Dr Michelle Bastian, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh, and on the topic of ‘Welfare, community and the changing relationship between informal and statutory provision’ to be supervised by Professor Bernard Harris, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde and Professor Graham Crow. The students will make distinctive contributions to the work of the consortium, and informal networking between the students and consortium members, both academics and community partners, will be encouraged with a view to broadening the range of ideas and methods to be used in the research.

The student awarded the ‘Making time to be part of the community’ studentship will be encouraged to approach the research question as a philosophical one, with both conceptual and empirical components. Their focus will be on people’s identification with communities as part of their identities, and their management of competing commitments to the various communities of which they are a part. Time diaries recording patterns of community involvement and supplemented by interviews and analysis of social networks will provide a basis for empirical testing of theories of the management of community commitments in people’s identities. The studentship also offers an opportunity to explore the significance of time for theorising types of community and for understanding time in everyday life. The precise methods of sampling will be decided in consultation with the student once s/he has been appointed, depending on her/his particular interests and experience. 

The student awarded the ‘Welfare, community and the changing relationship between informal and statutory provision’ studentship will be encouraged to utilise a range of sources to investigate the role played by different ‘communities’ in the provision of welfare before 1945 and the impact on this of the growth of the ‘welfare state’. This will involve examining a number of different forms of welfare provision from the late-nineteenth century onwards. The history of informal and community welfare provision has fundamental implications for contemporary attitudes towards the nature of community and the role of public welfare provision.  This project will seek to bring these interests together by re-examining the roles played by different local communities in the provision of welfare support and the development of welfare services. It will pay particular attention to the following questions: (1) How important was the role played by local communities in the provision of welfare support in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries? (2) What happened when the resources of the immediate community were exhausted, and how widely or tightly were the boundaries of ‘community’ drawn? (3) How did communities, and the definition of ‘community’, change as welfare needs changed? (4) To what extent did welfare needs provide a foundation for the construction of new links between communities? (5) How did the welfare functions of local communities change after 1945? This is a wide-ranging project which will need to draw on a number of different sources, including local newspaper records, municipal records, oral history interviews, and contemporary social surveys. There will be scope for the PhD candidate to focus on particular topics within the framework provided by the basic research questions. 

Candidates for these studentships should hold an ESRC-recognised Masters degree or an equivalent qualification in research training in a relevant social science discipline. Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding. The studentship will be in the Economic and Social History pathway of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (the ESRC’s Scottish Doctoral Training Centre ); the 'time' studentship will be based at the University of Edinburgh and the 'welfare' studentship at the University of Strathclyde, although students will be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities that being part of a Scotland-wide DTC offers. Prospective applicants wishing to enquire about these studentships should contact Professor Crow at to whom applications should also be sent no later than the closing date of Friday 17th January 2014. Applications should include a CV, the names and addresses of 2 academic referees, and a 200-word statement on what they would bring to the study of the topic.

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