RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016


110 Contemporary and Future Debates for Postgraduate Population Geography
Affiliation Postgraduate Forum
Population Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Catherine Waite (Loughborough University, UK)
Chair(s) Catherine Waite (Loughborough University, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 31 August 2016, Session 4 (16:50 - 18:30)
Session abstract Population geography as a sub-discipline has much contemporary significance with discussion about global flows of people at the forefront of academic, media and policy debates. Postgraduate research plays a key role in advancing theoretical, conceptual and empirical knowledge of population geographies. Against this background, the aim of this session is to provide postgraduate population geographers the opportunity to present their research in a friendly and supportive environment at a major international conference. Rather than being a traditional paper and questions format, this session comprises of five short papers. Then, following the presentations the remainder of the session will be a roundtable discussion on current and future issues for population geography. This will be facilitated by both an established and well-known population geographer alongside an early career population geographer in order to provide insights from individuals at different stages of their careers.
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2016@rgs.org
Assembling Population and Place: Social Theory and the on-going conversation for Early Career Population Geographers
Paula Duffy (University of St Andrews, UK)
Tim Stojanovic (University of St Andrews, UK)
Allan Findlay (University of St Andrews, UK)
This paper looks to explore 'Assemblage' thinking as a framework for Population Geography research. We discuss this amidst the ongoing conversation with population geography and social theory. The Paper highlights the recent prominence of Assemblage thinking/theory more broadly in Human Geography; before exploring the potential opportunities for engagement by population geographers from relational and critical perspectives. In particular we focus on three sets of concepts: Emergence and Contingency, De/territorialisation and Coding/de-coding.
The Empirical lens for this study is a multi-level typology, classifying 149 of Scotland's coastal localities (populations of 1000 - 49,999). typologies are commonly used in evidence for coastal planning. We can therefore critically examine this as a real world example of technical knowledge produced by Population Geographers. We consider the limitations of technical knowledges. In particular the limitations in capturing emergence, contingency and process when addressing demographic change. Considering the Assemblage practice 'Rendering Technical', we reflect on the role population geography and demography plays in the practice of the assemblage in authorizing knowledge and policy. This paper concludes that a reflexive approach to researching with assemblage theory is the way forward if using this conceptual framework within the sub-discipline of Population Geography. This is promising for continuing an open dialogue with social theory and relational approaches. However, such an approach may challenge the intimate relationship between Population Geographers and the state. Key Words: Population, Space, Assemblage, Emergence, Coasts

ELL – 'go to ELL and back'!
Charlotte Bolton (Loughborough University, UK)
The geographies of English language schools remain a lacuna in academic studies to date. Despite extensive research on the international migration, and intra-national migration, of students for undergraduate and postgraduate study, English language learners (ELL) are a unique, yet under-explored population within studies on youth mobility, and wider analysis of migration more generally. Whilst the effects of students in higher education institutions on their host communities have been extensively researched and documented in literature on 'studentification', there have been few enquiries into the relationships between ELL and their study destination, including their role in the development of the homestay industry. This paper is the first to provide empirical research to show the national scale of the English language industry in the UK using data sourced from the British Council. Using interviews with ELL and host families, this research will situate ELL within migration research by exploring their experiences of mobility processes and identifying why, and with what effect, host families engage in the English language industry. This research will be undertaken in Brighton and Hove: one of the most popular destinations for ELL, and a city that already hosts thousands of students studying at the universities of Brighton and Sussex. Keywords: English language learners; migration; mobility; homestay; education; schools; youth
Evaluating the concept of 'social vulnerability'
Amber Wilson (University of Sheffield)
Although, considerable attention has been given to identifying issues of social exclusion and poverty for people and areas within British society, less emphasis has been placed upon outlining and addressing issues of 'social vulnerability'. Therefore, this paper aims to discuss the importance of 'social vulnerability', in contributing to our understanding of marginalised populations, within specific geographies. Specifically, there are two key theoretical underpinnings, which form the basis of the concept of 'social vulnerability', those of; 'social risks' and 'social disadvantage' which have resulted from post-industrial structures and changing socio-demographic structures within modern society (Ranci et. al., 2010). In which: 'Social risks', are 'events' or 'transitions' across the life-course which can potentially interrupt or prevent individuals participating in key domains of everyday life, for example; entering the labour market, reconciling paid work with caring for a family, partnership dissolution, or having a long-term illness or disability (Taylor-Gooby, 2004); 'Social disadvantage': describes situations in which people or areas experience a combination of the mutually-reinforcing 'social risks of society', for example; long-term unemployment, being or caring for a dependent, or single-parent families (Hasluck, 2011).
Mind the educational attainment gap, placing child poverty and ethnicity
Helen Packwood (University of St Andrews, UK)
Almost one in six children in the UK (2.3 million) are affected by child poverty (HM Government 2015). It is clear that the ambitious Government target (announced in 1999) to eradicate child poverty by 2020 looks set to be missed by considerable margin. Recent studies reveal that the gap between the educational attainment of pupils from high and low-income families continues to grow; resulting in some pupils leaving school earlier, having poorer long term job prospects and remaining in persistent poverty as adults. This paper seeks to develop a critical understanding of how child poverty interacts with issues of ethnicity, migration and educational attainment. It asks whether factors such as educational provision, migration histories and local place effects can enhance our understanding of the persistent inequalities among certain disadvantaged groups. Following a critical review of the literature, the paper will present some initial secondary analysis which forms a part of this mixed methods doctoral research. By shedding light on the interaction between child poverty, ethnicity and the education system this research hopes to contribute to scholarship and wider policy debates around integration and inequalities.
Population change and the impacts of HMO
Andreas Culora (Loughborough University, UK)
Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has dramatically emerged as a key dimension of local housing markets across the UK during the last three decades. The proliferation of HMO has been rapid and penetrated into many towns and cities across the UK. However, few attempts have been made in academia to understand the processes governing and facilitating the proliferation of HMO (for exceptions see Smith (2012), Ward (2014). This paper is the first to make use of administrative, 'Big Data', in order to empirically analyse the diverse geographies of HMO using a specific case study. This research integrates a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore the diverse processes which underpin the geographies of HMO, before exploring how different geographies of HMO are connected to wider social processes of population change. Key here are linkages between geographies of HMO and 'childless spaces', which are illuminated via analyses of 2011 UK census data. This research will be the first explore this relationship so that we can begin to build an understanding of how HMO is part of a wider social process that will present one of the greatest challenges for policy-makers and urban planners in the years ahead. Key words: Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO); 'Big Data'; Urban change; Childless Spaces