“I, Daniel Blake”, a film to reflect on modernity and the disappearance of middle-class jobs

Brexit, Trump victory, both are fuelled by economic changes, but also the decline of once-cherished institutions, including family, church and labour unions, all contributing to a fear that the world is changing in ways that workers, or else their children, cannot keep up with. “There used to be a lot more middle-class jobs,” said Clyde bleakly, another concrete ladler (source). “These days there are just people high up working on computers and a lot of guys working in Denny’s.” Hence, Not only is capitalism creating a lot of pointless jobs, but making disappear “classic jobs” or middle-class jobs.

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Green gentrification in Barcelona: is it fair the disbribution of access to urban natural spaces?

Rosa M. Bosch writes this interesting article (in Spanish) in La Vanguardia on “green gentrification” in Barcelona. The sociologist and geographer Dr. Isabelle Anguelovski has analyzed how has changed the socioeconomic profile of people living near gardens and parks created in Barcelona between 1992 and 2000. The study suggests that the new areas have attracted wealthy neighbors and move away poor ones. Importantly, the article also echo the fact that Amguelovski will conduct a new cross national research, funded by EU (Starting Grant from European Research Council) with 1.5 million euros, in which the situation of 20 cities in Europe will be compared with other US 20. They will “make a ranking of environmentally fairer populations and determine their social impact and health”.

¿La distribución del acceso a los espacios naturales urbanos es justa? ¿La naturaleza beneficia a todos? En algunas zonas del Poblenou o la Barceloneta la respuesta es no. Esa es la conclusión a la que ha llegado un equipo de investigadores del Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA) de la UAB, liderado por la socióloga y geógrafa Isabelle Anguelovski, que ha analizado cómo ha variado el perfil socioeconómico de las personas que residen junto a 18 parques y jardines creados en Barcelona entre 1992 y principios de la década del 2000, en Sant Martí, Sant Andreu, Nou Barris, Ciutat Vella y Horta-Guinardó.

Vecinos de Nueva York, Boston o Portland hace años que batallan contra la “gentrificación verde”, proceso que se produce cuando la población original de un enclave de clase media o media-baja es desplazada por nuevos habitantes con mayor nivel adquisitivo que llegan atraídos por las mejoras que ha experimentado gracias a la implantación de áreas verdes. El precio del alquiler y de venta de inmuebles, ya convenientemente reformados, sube y las clases más vulnerables no tienen otra opción que marchar.

En Evaluando los impactos de la gentrificación ambiental en barrios históricamente vulnerables de Barcelona, Anguelovski utiliza seis indicadores: inquilinos con título universitario; inmigrantes no comunitarios y los procedentes de países ricos; residentes de más de 65 años solos; incremento de la renta de los habitantes, y valor de la vivienda. Hay gentrificación verde cuando confluyen tres de estos parámetros, como ha pasado en los parques del Poblenou y Nova Icària, ambos en Sant Martí, y en los jardines Príncep de Girona, en Horta. “Los cambios demográficos más importantes se han manifestado en el parque del Poblenou donde los vecinos con un mínimo de una licenciatura que viven a 100 metros de la zona verde aumentó en un 689% frente al 139% del conjunto de Sant Martí. También en los parques de las Cascades, Port Olímpic, Nova Icària y Carles I hubo un incremento, del 473%, frente al citado 139% de Sant Martí y el 127% de Ciutat Vella, de 1991 al 2001”, dice Anguelovski. Asimismo, los ingresos de las familias más cercanas al parque del Poblenou subieron en cinco años un 20,53% frente al 2,8% de media del conjunto de Sant Martí, y los extranjeros llegados de países del norte crecieron un 3.791 % en comparación al 228% de todo el distrito.

Sant Martí, y en concreto el Poblenou, es la zona de Barcelona donde se aprecia más este fenómeno. “El reverdecimiento de este ámbito del litoral ha ido acompañado de promociones inmobiliarias. Mientras que en barriadas estigmatizadas de Nou Barris o de Sant Andreu no ha habido gentrificación, sino todo lo contrario, sospechamos que han sido las que han recibido a los ciudadanos pobres expulsados de sus barrios”. Teniendo en cuenta que vivir cerca de una zona verde mejora la salud, tal como ha demostrado el Centre de Recerca en Epidemiologia Ambiental (Creal) de Barcelona en varios estudios, el ICTA pone estos datos al servicio de las administraciones para promover justicia ambiental.

Y para profundizar en este nuevo campo, Anguelovski coordinará desde Barcelona un extenso trabajo, financiado por la UE (Starting Grant del European Research Council) con 1,5 millones de euros, en el que se comparará la situación de 20 ciudades de Europa y otras 20 de EE.UU. “Haremos un ranking de las poblaciones ambientalmente más justas y determinaremos su impacto social y en la salud”, concluye Anguelovski .

The academic positions I’ll apply for…some day

PROFESSOR (W2) OF SOCIOLOGY /URBAN AND REGIONAL STUDIES

The Ruhr-Universität Bochum – faculty of Social Sciences invites applications for the position of a Professor (W2) of Sociology /  (successor Prof. Strohmeier) starting the earliest possible date.

 The Chair represents urban and regional studies from a broad spectrum. Applicants are required to have their main emphasis in the following topics:
  • spatial distribution patterns of life situations and life styles within the context of urban and regional social change,
  • labour and housing markets in an urban, a regional and global context,
  • social urban integration problems (immigration, small scale segregation and local participation) in cities,
  • social and demographic changes in comparison.

The professorship is coupled with responsibilities as head of the Centre of Interdisciplinary Regional Research (Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Regional­forschung, ZEFIR). The future holder of the post has to fulfil teaching perfor­mance for the Bachelor programme in basic and advanced modules and in the Master programme, specifically in the “Urban and Regional Development” study programme. The applicant is expected to contribute in the faculty’s research clusters “Labour and Social Structure” and “Public Sector and State Action” as well as interdisciplinary cooperation with other teaching and research units of the faculty and the university.

Positive evaluation as a junior professor or equivalent academic achievement (e.g. habilitation) and evidence of special aptitude are just as much required as the willingness to participate in the self-governing bodies of the RUB and to generally get involved in university processes according to RUB’s mission statement. We expect further more:
  • high commitment in teaching,
  • readiness to participate in interdisciplinary academic work,
  • willingness and ability to attract external funding,
  • fostering of international connections of the subject in research and teaching.

The Ruhr-Universität Bochum is an equal opportunities employer.

Complete applications with the usual documents should be sent to the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany (e-mail: dekanat-sowi@rub.de) no later than 07.11.2014.

Technology, social change and the need of market research

We tend to think that the technology is a quite recent development, but the truth is that it comes from the beginning of the human history. It has always been a crucial factor for the social change and for the change of our lives. Inclusive relatively simple inventions such as stirrup.220px-EnduranceStirrup

“This invention, that allows a horse riders remain firmly seated in the saddle, produced a major social change. This medieval innovation led to a completely new form of attack-combat on horseback in which a fast-moving warrior could stab or chop his opponent without fear of falling to the ground as ungentlemanly. This new form of struggle, in turn, brought new demands to the fighters. A free citizen simply could not take up arms and be fit for war. The new combat technique required many years of training, not to mention the huge expense in horses, assistants and equipment. Thus was born a social aristocracy-new-class of knights-and with it a new set of role models to the needs of affluent lifestyle of a warrior on horseback. “Few inventions have been so simple as the stirrup,” writes Lynn White Jr. (1962, p38) “but few have had so catalytic an influence on history”

What reality lies beneath this story which is relevant for market research? The rapid social change produced by new technology challenges our society as a whole, our society´s organizations and our everyday life. The primitive society was simply organized: tribes, low ranking (hierarchical), barter base economies and perhaps some differences regarding gender and age. As new technologies were emerging, as the example of stirrup, society is getting more and more complex, more hierarchical.globalization_b_1293566053-150x150

Spinning jenny, steam engine and many other inventions encouraged strong changes. Industrial revolution affected greatly European and American society. The rapidness of the changes over the last two centuries has increased exponentially. The estates of the middle age gave way to social class from the Marxist viewpoint. In recent decades, the Capitalism-communism antagonism gave way to the so called “globalization”: international integrating, multinational corporations, the dissolution of “old” social inequalities from the industrial society; the emerging subcultures, lifestyle and way of living, consumption, the rise of the Internet and the “network society”, but also climate change.

As a result, socities become more complex and all the countries over the world become economically and culturally interdependent. The 2008 crash in US eventually led and still lead to recession in most Western countries, any ecological catastrophe in Asia could eventually affect us; immigrants from all over the world habit the more and more dense urban areas. And no society, no organization can scape from this reality. Governments, countries, but also companies and other organizations, as well as families and ourselves are constantly challenged by these rapid changes.

So, why is market research needed? As a manager, researchers or consultant, the rapid social changes will constantly chalSNA_segmentlenge your organization. We are bombarded with messages that society keeps changing and technology keeps developing faster and faster, making extant professional knowledge obsolete at the speed of lighting. In conclusion, change is ongoing, and every issue in a company is exposed to change or the threat of change in the near future. Personnel, customers, government, environment, investors and suppliers´ relations might not be a problem when a company is doing well. But as “time are a-changing” such relations must be assess continuously. Sometimes, intuition based decision making is not enough nowadays to lead a company in the right direction. More systematic approaches are required.

Corporatte strategy, marketing strategy, organizational structure, business process reengineering, mergers and acquisitions, financial management, downsizing, outsourcing, relationship marketing, alliances, globalization and green policies may and must generally be based in any kind of previous research.

References

Craig J. Calhoun, Donald Light, Suzanne Infeld Keller. Sociology. McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited.
Gummesson, E. (1999). Qualitative methods in management research. Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Oliveto, Guillermo (2008). Market Research Explained. ESOMAR.