GIR Colloquium Series | Social Networks, Governance Networks, and Unemployment

12 April, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm


Understanding the contemporary experience of unemployment, and the governance of services designed to assist unemployed people, requires a systematically derived knowledge of networks. Social or ‘informal’ networks influence the job-chances of those seeking employment, and governance or ‘formal’ networks affect the design of employment services. Research on the role of informal networks in job search is hampered by the predominantly quantitative and technical character of the literature, and by a lack of integration of that body of scholarship with how formal networks affect services, job-chances and wellbeing.

This presentation reports on an Australian Research Council Funded (ARC) study of the relationship between networks, unemployment and service delivery. It analyses qualitative data from eighty in-depth interviews with long-term unemployed clients of non-profit organisations within a national employment service-provider network, and twenty additional interviews with senior organisational leaders in the same network. The presentation covers data on: the size and quality of long-term unemployed clients’ networks; the role and relative significance of their familiar and less familiar social contacts - or ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ ties - both in-person and on social media; and the networking importance of service providing organisations. The unemployed client data is then set alongside the senior leaders data as a means to derive implications for governance and service delivery.


About the speakers:

Gaby Ramia is interim Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Sydney. His home Department is Government and International Relations, which he joined in 2016. Prior to that he was based in the Graduate School of Government, and before that at Monash University where he was Director of the graduate program in Public Policy and Management. His research revolves around public and social policy and public administration, particularly in relation to questions of welfare. Gaby is currently leading an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project on governance networks, social networks and the employability and wellbeing of long-term unemployed people. He has also conducted ARC funded research with collaborators on social security in China, and international education and the welfare of international students. Gaby has other, ongoing research interests on the governance of work, welfare and social protection. He has taught in a wide range of policy-related areas, including public administration, public policy, and international policy.


Michelle Peterie is a sociologist at the University of Sydney. She has previously worked at the University of Wollongong and the University of New England, and has done research consultancy work in the third sector. Michelle's main research area is the sociology of emotions and affect. She is particularly interested in emotional well-being in situations of inequality and injustice, and in the emotional complexities of 'care' and activism. Michelle's doctoral research - The Trauma Machine: Volunteer Experiences in Australian Immigration Detention Facilities - concerned the experiences of volunteers who support asylum seekers in Australian immigration detention centres and within the Australian community. Her current research focuses on the psycho-social aspects of long-term unemployment. Michelle is a member of the Contemporary Emotions Research Network (CERN), the Sydney Asia Pacific Migration Centre (SAPMiC), and the Australian Sociological Association (TASA). She co-convenes TASA's Emotions and Affect Thematic Group.


Dr Roger Patulny is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He is the co-founder of the Contemporary Emotions Research Network (CERN); and TASA Thematic Groupon the Sociology of Emotions and Affect (TASA-SEA); has been awarded several ARC grants (DP098810; LP140100033); and edited three special editions/sections on emotions for AJSI and Emotion Review. He is currently co editing a Routledge edited collection on Emotions in Late Modernity. His detailed profile and full publications can be found at:


Location: Merewether Room 498, Butlin Avenue, University of Sydney