PhD Opportunity: Debt, Precarity and the Poly-drug Economy

Job Description

About the Project
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To explore the core economic structure of engagements of young men and young women with both the formal labour market and the informal drug economy, identifying journeys in and between them.

The proposed socially engaged research project aims to explore the economic structure of engagements of young men and young women with both the formal labour market and the informal drug economy. The research will analyse participants’ experiences with education, training and labour market transitions, together with their previous interactions with drug markets in terms of peer-to-peer distribution, debt collection or disciplinary roles in debt management or recoupment. The project will also examine the specifics of gender differences in the way in which young men and women’s experiences are distinct). The research will also examine the drivers of entry and exit to drug markets specifically the role of consumer goods in young people’s lives; the power of local drug distribution networks; and, family and kin ties and neighbourhood effects. Using an ethnographic methodology, involving life history methods and in-depth qualitative interviewing, the project will build a detailed narrative analysis on the articulation between labour and informal market participation. The project builds upon the PI’s engaged social research in the local community surrounding TU Dublin City Campus (Bowden 2019a; McCreery, Bowden & Keane, 2021) that gave some early insights into precarious experiences with the labour market. The study will use an ethnographic methodology that combines life history techniques with qualitative interviewing.

Student Requirements

At least a 2.1 primary degree in the areas of sociology, criminology, law, social policy, anthropology or cognate discipline;

A master’s level degree in a relevant social science discipline (desirable);

An interest and curiosity to work on issues related to the drug economy and drug related harm;

A familiarity with issues surrounding labour market precarity and / or political economy of social marginality.

Excellent communication and writing skills, together with an ability to engage young people;

Familiarity with qualitative research methods and data analysis.

Funding Notes
Funding Agency: TU Dublin Researcher Award
Student Stipend per annum: €18,500
Materials & Travel Budget per annum: €2,600
Duration of Funding: 48 months