Ongoing theses

Fixed terms. Sociology of the “home” challenged by flexibility : the case of Millennials subrenting or co-living in Geneva and London (working title)

Fiona Del Puppo – Dir. Luca Pattaroni & co-dir. Garance Clément (Morgan Centre, University of Manchester)

The thesis project dialogues with work sociology and housing sociology. It focuses first on the neoliberal flexibility ideal destabilizing the labor market. This ideal is also infusing all spheres of life, along with discourses fostering mobility, individual performance and self-accomplishment, even more for young individuals marketed as “Millennials”. They are going through an uncertain transition towards adulthood, as it is no longer established by traditional thresholds such as completion of studies, moving in with a partner, finding a stable job. We assume that the housing market answers this generation dealing with an increasing mobility and precarious employment status with flexible housing we define as shared and fixed-term: sub-renting and co-living. This research aims to sociologically study the distinctive methods employed to constitute a “home” within flexible housing as previously described. It relies on the study of this type of housing in Geneva and in London, using qualitative methods such as interviews and ethnographic observations, but it is also including original graphic observation and analysis methods valuable in the understanding of the spatial and material recompositions within the home. It focuses on the case of young individuals facing difficulties related to flexibilization, as it appears to offer a focus point from where to study wider social dynamics at stake. This thesis aims to renew the science of the “home”, along with the research project “Domotopy” on which it relies, that seeks to understand the effect of the transformations of life rhythms on the ways people live in and relate to their homes.

Motility as an asset for socio-professional integration (working title)

Éloi Bernier – Dir. Vincent Kaufmann & Rafael Lalive (HEC UNIL)

The scientific objective of this thesis, funded by the EPFL, is to develop an index measuring an individual’s ability to be mobile in order to integrate durably into the job market.

The index focuses on individual access, skills and mobility projects, related to the individual’s field of possibilities in terms of mobility and analysed in the perspective of his professional project. Its statistical construction allows the weight of each component within the index to be objectively weighted, based on data from a sample of jobseekers with a mobility coaching since 2021 provided by associations of the MOBIN network’s in several French regions.

Such an index can be used by the associations, among other things, to attest to the social impact of the coaching system for funders (by comparing the index at the beginning and end of the coaching). This index makes it possible to attest to the progress of recipients’ autonomy in more detail than by using the usual indicators, which are often binary and focused on obtaining a driving licence and finding a job.

Cohabitation-as-artiste (working title)

Mathilde Chenin – Dir. Luca Pattaroni & Olivier Desvoignes (HEAD, collectif microsillons)

This research focuses on contemporary forms of cohabitation-as-artist, that is on groups of artists which specificity is to inhabit a place together and thus to share a particular bond to this place — a bond of familiarity, proximity and habituation —, and whether they reinvent the concept of utopia.

Nowadays living-together-as-artists seems taken in a paradoxical movement: on the one hand, according to the institutions and artists who carry such initiatives, those forms of life still evoke the promise of a utopian and emancipatory horizon. One the other hand, they seem doomed in the contemporary art world to a neutralized becoming-installation, to be nothing more than a creative mode amongst others.

Taking artistic residency and its heterotopic dimension as a field of investigation, this research considers whether and in what way those communities of life produce utopian imagination, or in other words forms, gestures, discourses and representations which propose alternatives to the established order.

Urban hospitalities in Brussels (working title)

Marie Trossat – Dir. Yves Pedrazzini & Mathieu Berger (UCLouvain-la-Neuve)

On one hand, the hospitality refers to private realm – offering hospitality means welcoming home -, on the other hand, its affiliation belongs to the law. When we propose to study the hospitality of the city, the domestic hospitality can be amplified: how does the city shelter, feed, care for? Conversely, territorial politics can be circumscribed to the scale of the city: which are its spheres of power, its principles of affiliation and universality? Urban hospitality is thus produced by the individual gesture and by ethical and political intention. Moreover, urban hospitality takes place between different spaces, spheres and domains, both public and private, as a product resulting from urban form, urbanity, political and geographical situation and status of the city. Taking part in the SNSF project “Urban (In)Hospitality. What is the place of the newcomer in a precarious situation in the cities of Geneva and Brussels?” the thesis project aims to explore the situation experienced in Brussels by the newcomer without resources whose arrival is conditioned by the search for a better future. In a complex spatial approach built beyond the immediately visible and the public and mediatised space, we will analyze hospitality with the newcomer without means: where does he or she come from, what brings him/her here, what are his/her needs and difficulties, his/her dreams and projects? The hospitality whose he/she has claimed is thought in plural and is questioned in its positive as well as negative forms, by its ambivalence and limits. Institutional, community or associative, quantitative or qualitative, collective or individual, hospitality revels in daily commitments or more structural forms, is spatialised and effective or remains at the status of intention and discourse. By following individual trajectories and considering the temporalities of arrival, we will figure out the complex figure of the newcomer, look at the spatial issues of his/her course and investigate what is the “urban culture of hospitality” of Brussels.