Doctoral student in Sociology and Social Research: ReWorlding precarious self-employment
We are announcing a doctoral position in the subject area of Sociology and Social Research to be conducted within the framework of the European doctoral network “Reworlding: Repositioning Participatory Design to Tackle Socio-Environmental Challenges”, funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (see details below).
The Department of Sociology and Social Research
The Department of Sociology and Social Research (DSRS) is the oldest and most-established sociology department in Italy, regularly ranked among the top social science departments in the country. DSRS is classified in the 100-151 bracket by Q&S World University Ranking. It offers BA and MA programs, both in sociology and political sciences and a Ph.D. program in Sociology and Social Research.
The University of Trento is committed to equal opportunities in recruitment and career progression. We seek to increase the percentage of female employees in areas where they are under-represented. Qualified women are therefore highly encouraged to apply.
Project title: Retracing precarious self-employment: self-sustainable networks in the food sector
Within an overarching Action Research framework, the project focuses on work precariousness and solo self-employment in the context of food industry and policies. The PhD student will engage with grassroots food organizations as well as institutional stakeholders in Italy, Croatia, and partly Denmark (see "Planned secondment(s)" below), to map their practices, discourses, and network of collaborations. The research will identify good practices and barriers - at the economic, political, and cultural level - for/to both human and social (e.g. decent work), and environmental sustainability. The study will also explore participatory approaches to designing for the improvement of work, social, and ecological conditions in the food sector.
Objectives: (1) Perform qualitative research on self-employment in the context of alternative food production, distribution and consumption, focusing on precariousness, safety nets (e.g. by welfare state or trade unions), network relationships, organising, and everyday life. (2) Identify and describe the roles of grassroots organisations and their network of relations both internally and externally, particularly with institutions. (3) Undertake a comparative and comprehensive analysis of multiple stakeholder roles in grassroot networks and their relation with food policies, in order to propose Participatory Design (PD) approaches that go ‘beyond the local’.
Expected Results: (1) Comparative and comprehensive analysis on vulnerable self-employment in food production and distribution. (2) Multi-stakeholder roles analysis of grassroots networks in the food sector, with an analytical map and a series of requirements. (3) Outline of a PD approach for ‘beyond the local’ food policy, by reworlding work conditions in food production and distribution.
Planned secondment(s), i.e. shorter and longer stays to benefit from a range of experiences working with other institutions both inside and outside academia: (1) Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Filip Majetic: to perform situated qualitative and PD research within a food cooperative from a social science perspective (2) University of Aalborg, Maurizio Teli: to learn and gain hands-on experience in a different context of labour, welfare and food industry, and to kick-off the PD approach that go ‘beyond the local’.
Reworlding Doctoral Network
This doctoral student position is part of a European Doctoral Network funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action: “Reworlding: Repositioning Participatory Design to Tackle Socio-Environmental Challenges”. The Doctoral Network provides high-level training to doctoral researcher. The general theme links 11 students, providing them with both collective and individual learning opportunities. These take place across nations and practices. Successful Doctoral Candidates (DCs) will be employed by a host institution and will enjoy the opportunity to take on secondments within the Reworlding training network (shorter and longer stays to benefit from a range of experiences working with other institutions both inside and outside academia). As a DC, you will work on your own research project and work together with your fellow DCs and the consortium on important overarching questions through cross-discipline collaborations. The overall theme of the network is as following.
Ecological issues are experienced differently by different actors, communities and organisations, leading to societal polarisation and inhibiting urgently needed actions around these issues. As Participatory Design (PD) researchers, we observe a need for design approaches that can bring diverse actors together to tackle these challenges in participatory ways, with particular attention to those who remain silent, both as human and non-human actors (e.g. plants, rivers and insects). The Reworlding network aims to investigate and outline such a careful and situated PD approach that can better understand and create synergies between the different worlds in which people live and work, and the more-than-human worlds they are entangled with. This is achieved through interdisciplinary methodology based on collective learning and participatory action research, embedded in inter-sectoral collaborations with non-academic partners who address socio-ecological issues from diverse perspectives. In doing so, the network identifies and articulates reworlding design capabilities that can support next-generation researchers in tackling the connections of social and ecological challenges. Design capabilities link research and training in Reworlding. The research program explores the capabilities needed to address socio-ecological issues, and their translation to specific skills and training needs. Based on research insights, the training program iterates the proposed courses and enhances identified capabilities by exposing the researchers to non-academic socio-environmental practices.
The programme includes the Retracing lecture series, Reconnecting methods training, Reimagining summer schools, Reinstitutioning webinars and Reworlding assemblies. Through articulated pathways to gain impact, we will be connecting the project activities with various stakeholders at different scales and with relevant programmes at European and international level (such as SDGs and European Green Deal).
- More information on the Reworlding Doctoral Network
The one appointed to doctoral student position shall devote herself or himself to their studies in the context of the above project. Whilst required to ensure their work fits broadly within the overall doctoral network by working closely with the project coordinator, the doctoral student will complete independent research.
The doctoral programme comprises four years of full-time study and concludes with a doctoral degree. The programme consists of a course component and a dissertation component. An important part of the doctoral programme itself is to actively participate in and contribute to the research and educational environment both at the department and across the Reworlding network.
- More information about doctoral studies in Sociology and Social Research
Requirements and qualifications
The general entry requirements for doctoral education and the specific requirements for the position will be met by those who:
- have been awarded a second-cycle degree in Sociology and/or in another subject within the social sciences relevant to the program (entry requirement);
- have experience with qualitative methods for social research (specific requirement);
- have excellent knowledge of the English language (specific requirement);
- have a professional-scientific CV in line with the research program described (specific requirement).
Selection among applicants who meet the entry requirements shall be made with regard to their capacity to complete the training programme and contribute to the to the field of research and the collaborative research environment, both at the University of Trento and within the Reworlding Doctoral Network. This will be demonstrated also by an application that addresses the theme of the research a) in general (Reworlding) and b) the specifics of the project described above (Retracing precarious self-employment). A research plan (max. 3000 words) outlining how the applicant’s intended research question will address these issues must accompany the application.
Preferred qualifications are the following
Proficiency in other relevant European language(s) [Croatian, Italian]
Knowledge of participatory design, co-design, human-centred design; direct experience with such approaches is considered a plus.
Eligibility: According to the project funder’s regulations, the applicant must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date (December 1st, 2023).
- For questions related to the doctoral project, contact Chiara Bassetti, project coordinator, chiara.bassetti [at] unitn.it
- For questions regarding the doctoral education, contact school.socialsciences [at] unitn.it
You may apply for this position at the application form