[URBANTH-L] FUNDING: PhD Studentship: Ethnography of the construction site (UK)

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Tue May 19 19:01:28 EDT 2009

[forwarded from SEA-L at listserv.albany.edu]

PhD Studentship: An ethnography of the construction site

Departments of Civil and Building Engineering and Social Sciences

This is an exciting opportunity for a fully-funded 3-year PhD 
studentship to develop ethnographic research focused on the construction 

There is an urgent need for scholarly research in this area that can 
address applied questions relating to the specificities of construction 
sites and engage with public debates on this theme, while also making 
firm theoretical and methodological academic contributions. Therefore 
this is an ideal position for a student researcher keen to develop a 
high quality contribution to anthropological/sociological literatures 
while being at the forefront of developments in the fields of public and 
applied anthropology/sociology.

The construction industry offers a fascinating and under-studied context 
for ethnographic research. The industry has for many years been 
criticised for failing to meet customer needs, a poor health and safety 
record, inability to innovate and poor treatment of those from under 
represented groups - raising a whole series of questions about the 
social and environmental elements of construction work. Despite numerous 
government-backed reports and countless improvement initiatives, the 
industry appears entrenched in outmoded employment and working practices 
which have arguably held back its development and performance 
improvement. Despite these concerns, the dominant paradigm within 
engineering and construction has been to attempt to improve the 
performance of the sector by externalised performance improvement 
measures. In this context ethnographic understandings of the realities 
of construction sites and the practices through which they are 
constituted (including the use of visual and mobile media on sites) will 
make a new and important contribution to knowledge in this area - and 
are urgently needed.

The aim of this research would be to develop a deeper understanding of 
the construction site as an arena for power relations and forms of 
resistance which shape industry practice and stymie attempts at change, 
innovation and performance improvement. The aim here is to adopt a 
flexible and responsive approach which uncovers something about 
construction site socialities, human-material-technological relations 
and the dynamics of networks of temporal relations which define working 
within the sector. Given the many directions that this PhD research 
could take and the trans-disciplinary nature of the research supervisory 
team, this studentship would suit a graduate from a social sciences 
discipline with an interest in applied ethnography and a willingness to 
work in the field for prolonged periods.

Applicants should have achieved (or expect to achieve) a 2:1 degree or 
ideally should possess a masters degree in a relevant discipline. Higher 
degree fees will be paid at the home/EU rate together with a full 
stipend at the research council rate (£13,200). Registration will 
commence in October 2009.

For an informal discussion about this studentship please contact either 
Professor Andrew Dainty (a.r.j.dainty at lboro.ac.uk) in the Dept. of Civil 
and Building Engineering or Professor Sarah Pink (s.pink at lboro.ac.uk) in 
the Dept. of Social Sciences.

Completed application forms should be returned to Helen Newbold, 
Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, 
Ashby Road, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, email h.newbold at lboro.ac.uk). A 
Curriculum Vitae will only be accepted if accompanied by a completed 
University application form. Applicants should attach an outline 
proposal (maximum 2 sides) outlining how they would approach this 
research and what areas they would be interested in focusing on. The 
deadline for applications is 8 June 2009.

Professor Sarah Pink
Programme Director, Sociology
Department of Social Sciences
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

s.pink at lboro.ac.uk

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