Research

Gil’s research is on the links between spatial mobilities, family and personal life and the networks of personal relationships.

The JobMob project

Gil is currently working on the second wave of the European project ‘Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe‘ (JobMob) about the interactions between work-related high mobility and personal lives.

This project is the first large longitudinal survey studying the interactions between family life, job career, and all forms of work-related intensive spatial mobility (e.g. daily and weekly long-distance commuting, frequent business trips, migration, dual location households, long-distance relationships). The first wave of this project was funded by the European Commission in the Sixth Framework Programme (1,277,350 Euro). 7,200 persons in six European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Switzerland) were interviewed in 2007 on the causes, obstacles, and consequences of spatial mobility on their personal lives, including partnership and family development, family organisation and social integration. This pioneering research project led to an important number of original findings and publications (further information here).

In 2010-12, a second wave of the project was carried out in four countries, with the aim of exploring changes over the life course. In addition to the panel sample, new highly mobile partipants were interviewed. 40 in-depth interviews were also conducted. The Mobile Lives Forum created by the French Railway Company (SNCF) funded the project in Switzerland and France.

The StepOut project

The interdisciplinary project Social Capital and Family Processes As Predictors of Stepfamily Outcomes (StepOut) is the first large-scale, quantitative Swiss survey comparing stepfamilies with first-time families. In this project we analyse to what extent family relationships provide distinct types of social capital in stepfamilies compared with first time families. We also analyse the impact of prior life trajectories of family members on social capital.

Based on personal networks data, Gil is working on the spatial dispersion and relational dynamics of stepfamilies and first-time families in Switzerland.

The 2013 MOSAiCH-ISSP survey in Switzerland

MOSAiCH (Measures and Sociological Observation of Attitudes in Switzerland) is a survey financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and is conducted every two years. MOSAiCH can be considered a new version of the Eurobarometer in Switzerland. It includes the Swiss version of the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP).

In 2013, a module on family networks was included in the data set. Gil is studying  the spatiality of family relationships. In particular how geographical distance relate to social support.

Twitter pre-drinking  social networks project

Social networks support drinking habits and rhythms, and drinking in groups nurtures and structures friendship bonds. Pre-drinking is a common at-home drinking practice among young people. Participants arrange to meet at a private home for what is often rapid and ritualised drinking, prior to going out to a nightclub or pub much later in the evening.  The benefits of pre-drinking are reduced cost, intimacy, sociability and group solidarity with like-minded people. Participants can calibrate their intoxication to each other and arrange the atmosphere to their taste.  However pre-drinking also increases consumption rates and levels outside the general public’s or other adults’ control and can involve greater risk of intoxication related harm.

We can use naturally occurring data from social media to analyse how the underlying pattern of communication ties supports and structures pre-drinking interaction. Twitter is often used to arrange pre-drinking sessions. This project uses social network analysis of a 3 month set of Tweets to analyse pre-drinking interaction.  We map communication ties through followership, retweeting and mentioning.  We look for the social and structural characteristics of  the actors,relationships between them and wider social networks of those involved belong to. We test whether this can be used as a proxy for consumption patterns and if it can allow public health interventions and education to be targeted at particular kinds of friendship groups.

Promoting Family Resilience in Early Onset Dementia in Scotland and NE England

This project aims to advance knowledge and practice in relation to promoting family resilience in early onset dementia (EOD). Based on a personal network approach, we hypothesise that families most likely to adapt and thrive in EOD are those which display the highest levels of social capital , i.e. dense patterns of support ties from various social milieus.

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