Expanding research opportunities through the Postdoctoral Mobility Scheme
Marion Lieutaud is Research Fellow in Computational Social Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Thanks to the CIVICA Research Postdoctoral Mobility Scheme, she stayed for 3 months in the Sciences Po - Centre for Research on Social Inequalities (CRIS) laboratory.
Could you tell us a bit more about your main research goals, and in particular the gender focus?
My research focuses on gender, inequalities and migration. I investigate how the gender division of paid and unpaid labour in migrants’ couples can be connected to the constraints and process of international migration. I also work on the links between income inequalities and paid domestic and care work; and on the impact of the gig economy (a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations hire independent workers for short-term commitments) in this kind of work, especially through the development of online platforms for care and domestic labour. The connecting thread between these projects is an interest in how the current modes of reproductive labour – labour that is disproportionately provided by migrants and precarious, low-paid workers – is contributing to redefining and arguably entrenching inequalities, notably at the expense of minority women and women from the Global South.
Why choose Sciences Po / CRIS?
There are many reasons but the main one is that the CRIS hosts a terrific group of scholars working on migration, inequality and discrimination, and who do so with advanced quantitative methods. I knew that in terms of fit, it would work; and I knew the CRIS to be a very international environment and that appealed to me too. I thought of it as a way to regain some familiarity with French academia, but in a space that is also very engaged with international scholarship.
Once this stay over, what type of advantage has it brought to your research? What did you do during those three months?
It allowed me to make the acquaintance of and learn from many people at Sciences Po, at the CRIS and beyond, current faculty as well as emeritus faculty and PhD researchers. This research stay gave me the space and time to really focus on my research in an environment that was highly conducive to it. By attending the seminars, I gained a much better understanding of what research, methods and theoretical perspectives are being developed at Sciences Po. The engagement and feedback I received after the seminar presentation I gave at the CRIS were also very astute and very stimulating. By the end of my stay, I felt myself to be both welcome and included in this academic community, which meant a lot to me, as I left France a long time ago and have sometimes felt a little cut off from French academia.
What is the main difference that you will underline between French research in sociology, in London and in Paris?
In London, I’m a quantitative sociologist working in an interdisciplinary department of Methodology for the social sciences, so I can hardly speak for sociology departments in the UK in general. What is more, it is my understanding that the CRIS itself is rather an unusual institute in the extent to which it is turned towards international scholarship and involved in advanced quantitative methodologies. So I think in my experience there was a lot more overlap and similarities than one might perhaps expect if one were to compare a department of sociology in the UK and a sociological laboratory in France. One thing perhaps is that at LSE and in the UK there seems to be more sociologists turning to social data science and computational methods, whereas in France it seems to me to be more contained.
How does your professional future look?
I was recently awarded a Leverhulme Early-Career Fellowship so I’m about to embark on 3 years of research funded by this grant. I expect that should give me the time to publish and develop my research agenda. I will then be applying for permanent academic positions – I imagine both in the UK and in France. But that’s still a long way away.