Accepted paper:

“It’s so-called two-body problem…” – digital ways to increase stability of social relations in mobility of young academics

Authors:

Paweł Witanowski (Jagiellonian University)

Paper short abstract:

PhD studies graduates usually face necessity to become mobile and apply on many post-doc positions. I would like to present how this forced mobility influences their perceived sense of stability of social relations and how they struggle to maintain it by digital means of communication.

Paper long abstract:

Graduates of doctoral studies that want to continue academic career usually face necessity to apply on postdoctoral researcher position to many universities and research institutes. Low number of open positions virtually precludes applying only to home university or within one country. Perspective of such forced mobility is a major decision factor when choosing one’s career path and may lead to disturbance of sense of stability, despite being simultaneously perceived as a chance to gain experience, professional development or improving one’s social status. Necessity of changing places of living and short-term contracts are reasons for their reduced perceived levels of stability – not only in economic sense, but also connected with social relations. For many young academics that means separation from their friends and significant others, making digital communication necessary to maintain social relations. This is especially important since for many post-docs it is hard to allocate time to build new social networks. I have carried out multi-sited research accompanying, observing and talking with PhD students and graduates in Cracow, London, Stockholm and Zurich and in this paper I would like to present the importance of such means of communication for dealing with non-permanent migration. However digital presence is seen as a mere substitute for the physical and this aspect is often an important factor during negotiations of ways in which they wish to experience mobility, influencing decisions relating places they apply or how many years they wish to spend in a state of academic precarity.

panel P083
Creating locality in mobile times: intimacy, friendship and belonging between digital and physical co-presence [ANTHROMOB]