Concept of Social Sciences Winter School 2016

This ambitious project of Indo-French cooperation in social sciences has been designed with a view towards developing a multi-year programme of intensive and multidisciplinary training workshops addressing theoretical and methodological issues in social science research. This practical setup provides each and everyone with the opportunity of sharing experiences and research ideas.

MAIN OBJECTIVES

This training workshop has three main objectives:

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Workshop 1: Documenting Processes of Spatial Mobility: Qualitative and Ethnographic Approaches

Workshop 1 : Documenting Processes of Spatial Mobility: Qualitative and Ethnographic Approaches

Coordinators:

  • Dr Rémy Delage : Geographer (Centre for South Asian Studies, CNRS-EHESS, Paris / IFP, Pondicherry)
  • Dr Aurélie Varrel : Geographer (IFP, Pondicherry / Centre for South Asian Studies, CNRS-EHESS, Paris)

Invited Tutors:

  • Dr Tristan Bruslé : Geographer (CSH, New Delhi / Centre for Himalayan Studies, CNRS, Paris)
  • Dr Marie Percot : Anthropologist (Paris)

Argument-Purpose : This workshop focuses on the theory and practice of ethnographic fieldwork in South Asia and beyond, primarily discussing conceptual and methodological issues regarding the observation, description and analysis of various types of spatial mobilities (daily commuting, seasonal migration, international labour migration, etc.). The paradigm of the opposition between society of departure (homeland) and host society (hostland) being outdated, it is rather in terms of continuity and not rupture with the society of origin that we reason.

While drawing some concepts and innovative tools drawn from French human geography and Anglo-Saxon migration studies, our aim is to provide students with an intensive training course presenting theories, concepts and ethnographic research methods relating to mobility (Day 1). Mobility is not only envisaged as a research object, but also as a fluid process and as an efficient method of investigation, within a network of interlinked field sites. Indeed, historians, anthropologists and geographers share a common method for apprehending migration processes and describing transnational networks, that is the multi-sited and mobile/itinerant ethnography, as introduced and popularized by George Marcus (1995), brilliantly debated, critiqued and practiced by Alessandro Monsutti (2010), and well synthesized by Ester Gallo (2009), Karen O’Reilly (2009) and Novoa (2015), among others. Various case studies focusing on South Asia and diasporic contexts will then complement and illustrate the formal training (Day 2). The third day of the workshop will take the form of a collaborative session between scholars and students during which a research topic will be chosen and defined, developed and finalized into a formal research proposal while using the concepts and methods taught during the first two days (Day 3).

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Workshop 2: Using Survey Data to Understand Social and Geographical Mobility

Workshop 2:  Using Survey Data to Understand Social and Geographical Mobility

 Coordinator:

  • Dr Christophe Jalil Nordman – Economist (IRD, DIAL and IFP, Pondicherry)

Invited Tutors:

  • Prof. Aswhini Deshpande – Economist (Delhi School of Economics, New Delhi)
  • Dr Véronique Gille – Economist (IRD, DIAL, France)
  • Prof. Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay – Economist (Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi)
  • Dr Jean-Noël Senne – Economist (Université Paris-Sud, France)

Argument-purpose: Social and geographical mobility is of growing interest to policy makers and economists and is an expending research field. Economists usually use survey data to understand the determinants and the extent of social and geographical mobility. The analysis of data on social and geographical mobility requires the mobilization of specific knowledge.

In this proposed workshop, trainees will be introduced to the state-of-the-art in social and geographical mobility. The main objective of the course is to review what we know about mobility and what the open questions in this field are. At the end of the course the students will have understood what still needs to be done in this field, as well as the limitations of survey data to study these questions and how to overcome them.

The course will be spread over three days. It will combine interactive lecture sessions and tutorials. In the lecture sessions students will be exposed to the research frontier in the field of social and geographical mobility. In the tutorial they will be using the statistical software STATA to analyse survey data on social and geographical mobility. The empirical application will be using the longitudinal village level study from Palanpur (India).
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Workshop 3: Social Mobility in its Indian Complexity: Conceptual and Methodological Dynamics

Workshop 3:  Social Mobility in its Indian Complexity: Conceptual and Methodological Dynamics

Coordinator:

  • Dr. Thanuja Mummidi – Anthropologist (Pondicherry University)

Invited Tutors:

  • Prof. Partha N. Mukherjee – Sociologist
  • Prof. D.N. Dhanagare – Sociologist
  • Prof. Venkatesh Athreya – Economist
  • Dr. Alexandra De Heering – Historian

Argument-Purpose: Caste, class, structure, stratification and status have been the  mainstay   of sociological/social anthropological research on Indian society. Research on social mobility introduced as early as the 1930’s (Sorokin, 1937) in the west was slow to catch up in India in its given specificity. This specificity lies in the challenge of disentangling the mainstay concepts. With time social mobility research in India has progressed taking into consideration new dimensions of inequality. Consequently, social mobility research both from the conceptual and methodological aspects is made dynamic. This workshop hopes to encourage and orient a young generation of research scholars to probe this dynamism.

The workshop follows the following sequence: Day 1 is devoted exclusively to methodology of social science. Day 2 and part of Day 3 follows up with methodological and substantive research and issues in social mobility research specific to India. Day 3 also attempts to initiate the group into thinking over specific research designs as an outcome of the series of lectures. The concluding Day 4 is devoted to Group Work Restitution, sharing workshop experience and results.

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