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Study and Career

ESRC DTP Joint Studentship: Refugee Housing, Activism and Movement Parties in Athens and Rome

The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 14 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham.

We are now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Joint Studentship between Aston University (where the student will be registered) and the University of Birmingham to commence in October 2020.

Project details

The student will be based at Aston University and supervised by Dr Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik (Aston University), Dr Gaja Maestri (Aston University) and Dr David Bailey (University of Birmingham). The candidate recruited to this project will investigate the relationship between refugee housing activism and social movement parties in Athens and Rome. In both cities, activists, often linked to left or anti-austerity movements, mobilise to organise informal accommodation and squats, in ‘occupied’ derelict or abandoned buildings left empty after the financial crisis. However, there has also been an intertwining of antiausterity, housing, and refugee solidarity movements. These newer social movements have also contributed to the electoral popularity of a number of new ‘movement parties’ such as Syriza and Five Star (Della Porta et al., 2017). However, the roles of social movement parties in enabling or hindering refugee housing movements, in turn, has been complex and contradictory. This project explores the relationship between (both ascendant and declining) Movement Parties, housing activists, squatters and refugee housing movements, over a cycle covering the parties’ rise and fall.

The project will involve a period of fieldwork of four months each in Athens and Rome, where the candidate will carry out research and interviews with city officials, and refugee housing/antiausterity activists and refugees participating in housing activism.

Entry Requirements

Candidates with a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree in a social sciences or related discipline are encouraged to apply. The award may be made on a 1+3/3.5/+3 basis dependent on prior education and research methods training. It would be advantageous for the candidate to possess a working knowledge of Greek or Italian but it is not a requirement. The candidate must however be willing to undertake some language instruction.

Application Process

To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Joint Studentship application form available online here and email this, together with a covering letter, to Mr Dan Thomson d.thomson1 [at] Shortlisted applicants will also be required to provide two references. 

More information
United Kingdom
Aston University and University of Birmingham

Informal enquiries about the research or this project prior to application can be directed to Dr Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, j.obradovic-wochnik [at]