Doctoral positions – Campaign 2018: Profile n° 1

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Photo : Matthias Ripp (Creative Commons)
“Exploring the role of cultural capital in the macro-regional integration of migrants from the New Member States in France and the UK”

Work-Package: Regional integrations

The deadline for the submission of applications is set for Monday, 15 October 2018 (inclusive).
Recruitment procedure and schedule

Position description

Recent migration from the accession countries in the EU presents an exciting context exploring international movements due to the large number of people involved in migration, complex settlement transitions and significant variations in migrants’ integration. It has been argued that the circular movement of New Member States (NMS) migrants to Western Europe represents a new migration system (Favell, 2008), where transnational mobility is not solely driven by economic reasons and reflects wider lifestyle choices and cultural motivations (Cook et al., 2011; Luthra et al., 2014). The predominant focus on either the practices of the movement of migrants or the role of structural factors in shaping mobilities (Rodriguez, 2004) highlights the growing need to develop an integrative approach linking together macro, meso and micro level processes of migration and integration.

However, existing literatures often present East–West cross-border mobilities as a form of traditional labour migration with labour-market integration and accumulation of economic and human capital prioritised over other migration outcomes (Barrett and Duffy, 2008; Dustmann et al., 2010). This study challenges the stereotypes of migrants as “homo economicus” (Ley, 2011) and draws on the concept of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1975) to explore their diverse experiences of integration, cross-border affective capacities and networked relationships. Bourdieu (1975) Cultural capital is described as a set of shared status cultural signals appearing in three states: embodied, institutionalized and objectified. Embodied capital includes attitudes and preferences used as markers for social distinction; institutionalized capital includes legitimised values such as those expressed in formal education; while objectified capital appears in the form of cultural goods such as pictures, books, etc. The project moves beyond rational evaluations of cultural capital and explores the role of emotional components, affective preferences and subjective tastes in defining cultural norms (such as emotional investment) and transforming the existing mechanisms of integration (redefining the meaning of “success” determined by the regime of values; Karpik and Scott, 2010; Boltanski and Thévenot, 2006).

First, it explores the production and circulation of cultural capital, focusing on evaluations and exchanges of capital in distinctive geographical places that are key to migrants’ integration. It studies the mechanisms through which cultural resources (linguistic aptitude, dispositions, preferences) that are important in migrants’ “places of origin” are made convertible and legitimised (as acceptable working qualifications) in the new contexts. Second, the project studies the development of values in cultural capital at multiple scales, questioning the meaning of a cultural distance as a factor affecting migrants’ integration (cultural norms from the migrants home country can be closer to cultural norms in the new environment. To this end, migrant cultures can be in a productive relationship with the host culture, but migrant-migrant interactions can also produce values that circumvent the host culture, thus renegotiating national and cultural boundaries.

Methodologically, the project will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to provide a multi-scale and relational understanding of the mechanisms of mobilisation and transformation of cultural capital in the process of migrant integration. First, it will start by conducting a discursive analysis of the media and policy publications on the deployment of cultural norms (acceptable behaviours, local cultural attitudes) at different levels (national/provincial/district) that underlie the classificatory processes defining integration of migrants in France and the UK. Second, it will use an online questionnaire survey to generate data on demographics and integration positions of migrants, the scope of integration support services provided, and patterns explaining valuation and exchange of migrants’ cultural capital to create certain stereotypes and channel them into specific occupations. We will combine online and face-to-face questionnaires to better understand mobile lives as they allow to trace the experiences of migrants “in-between” locations and follow migrants who are likely to move during the period of research. Third, the study will conduct interviews with migrants to examine the relationships between their personal biographies, accumulation and transformation of cultural capital in the immigration experience, with respect to different axes of social differentiation (gender, age, ethnicity etc.). Migrants will be asked to keep photo and video diaries (after de Leeuw, 2005), in which they will record their activities using key themes (emotional perceptions, “success”, integration).

The research will be carried out in 4 cities in Wales and France: Swansea and Cardiff (as a Wales capital) in the UK (‘Cities of Sanctuary’ that provide specific support for migrants), and Paris (as a French capital); and another city that will be chosen in France do not have commitment to providing help to migrants, a regional centre in France not too far from Paris (maybe Poitiers). This project considers migration impacts both at national scale and local scales and within urban contexts.

Planned collaboration

As part of ongoing programs:

Collaboration with the Centre for Migration Policy Research in Swansea (see below).

Within the Work-Package(s):

The person awarded this doctoral position will be expected to meet with the members of several WPs whose focus areas overlap with those of the project outlined above, in particular by attending the seminars they hold:

  • meet and discuss with researchers from the WP working on international migrations, notably William BERTHOMIÈRE (Regional Integrations WP, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, UMR Passages), Clarisse DIDELON-LOISEAU (Regional Integrations WP) and Mathilde MAUREL (“Regional Integrations” WP);
  • take part in the scientific gatherings run by the Regional Integrations WP to present its research findings: colloquium on regional integrations around the world, organized in 2019 by Anne BOUHALI, Pierre BECKOUCHE, Nora MAREÏ and Yann RICHARD for the LabEx; seminar by the Regional Integrations WP from fall 2019 to present the initial research findings on the relationship between international mobility/migration and regional integration;
  • attend the seminars run by other WPs, namely “Mobility” and “Producing the ordinary city”.


In the UMRs:

  • communication on scientific issues with a number of researchers from the Geographie-cités and Prodig UMRs, which are developing research projects on international mobility and migration: Clarisse DIDELON-LOISEAU and Yann RICHARD (research into international student mobility in Europe), Ségolène DEBARRE, Alice Franck and Marie MORELLE (in charge of a research project for the Institut Convergence Migrations Internationales, Campus Condorcet).
  • communication on scientific issues with the researchers involved in research on regional integration, including Pierre BECKOUCHE, Claude GRASLAND, Nora MAREÏ, Yann RICHARD and Frédéric SANTAMARIA.


With the Centre for Migration Policy Research:

  • the project will draw on previous experiences of projects on mobility and integration conducted by the Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR) at Swansea University. In particular, it will use the methodology successfully implemented (in particular, photo/video diaries) in the large-scale £1.2 million project funded by the UK government and co-led by CMPR (
  • in so doing, it will draw on a range of high-quality expertise and bring the study of mobility and integration to the international level by means of establishing research partnerships between the colleagues whose goal is to achieve the inclusion of migrants on the international scale.
  • the project will also use informal links with the established centres of international migration and mobility research at the MIGRINTER laboratory, the ESRC Centre for Population Change at the University of St. Andrews and Glasgow’s Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network, which are involved in other projects headed by Swansea’s CMPR.
  • the CMPR has already developed a sustainable knowledge transfer programme and joint conference events between the French and UK partners, starting from the interdisciplinary seminars hosted by CMPR and funded by Swansea University ( The proposed research is the first step in developing strategic partnership between Swansea and Parisian universities (Panthéon-Sorbonne and Paris-Diderot), which is aimed at developing mobility and mentoring opportunities for the MSc and PhD students from both universities, broadening high-quality expertise and helping them to disseminate their innovative ideas on the international stage.
  • through knowledge exchange, communication and engagement activities during this project we intend to set up a research network and to seek strategic funding and collaborative support from a wide range of European research programmes, including the Horizon-2020 programme “Towards forward-looking migration governance” (MIGRATION-02-2018).
  • the student will benefit from the activities of ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), which provides postgraduate support for students ( Besides, the College of Science has a dedicated Doctoral Training Centre to support PhD students in developing interdisciplinary research and methods, research networking, public engagement and impact (;
  • collaboration with the College of Science, Swansea University and Centre for Migration Policy Research, Swansea University.

  • Candidates for this doctoral position must hold a Master’s degree in human geography or cognate social science discipline;
  • they must be proficient in the use of both qualitative research methods (interviews, analysis of photo and video material) and quantitative methods (statistical surveys). These methods will be used to carry out discourse analysis and online surveys, for example;
  • candidates must be fluent in French and English. An advanced level in the non-native language is required. It should correspond to the ‘Proficient User’ Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or equivalent;
  • this scholarship is open to candidates of UK/EU nationalities only.
Additional information

Contract start date: 07/01/2019

Length of contract:

Co-financed by LabEx and Swansea:

  • LabEx will finance 18 months;
  • the University of Swansea will pay the allowance for the remaining 18 months.

Host laboratory: UMR 8586 Prodig (2 rue Valette – 75005 Paris) et Centre for Migration Policy Research (Singleton Park Campus / Swansea University – Swansea / SA2 8PP / Wales, UK)

The candidate will spend 18 in the UMR Prodig (Paris) and 18 months at CMPR, Swansea University.

Thesis supervisors:

  • Yann RICHARD, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, UMR 8586 Prodig
  • Sergei SHUBIN, Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR), Swansea University (Wales)

Net monthly remuneration: this project is jointly funded by the College of Science, Swansea University and LabEx DynamiTe.  Swansea University and LabEx DynamiTe will each finance 18 months. This is a three-year fully-funded scholarship which covers UK/EU tuition fees and a monthly stipend of approximately €1,350 / £1,195.


Recruitment procedure and schedule

The application must be submitted electronically by application form ( and in English. It must demonstrate that the candidate fulfils the requirements indicated in the position profile (specified tasks and skills).

The application will include:

  • a description of the doctoral project (2 to 5 pages maximum) indicating the theoretical basis of the research, the research-related issues, the methodology to be used, a feasibility report with a 3-years period and project schedule;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • transcript of higher education record for first year of masters studies (Master 1) and the research masters (Master 2);
  • a letter of recommendation from the supervisor of the research master’s thesis;
  • a certificate or diploma of the Master’s degree.

It is recommended for the candidate to establish contact with the thesis supervisor in advance.

The deadline for the submission of applications is Monday, 15 October 2018 (inclusive).

Following the evaluation of the applications, the interviews will take place during the week of 22 October 2018. They will be held both in English and French.

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