Ebook: Unequal networks
Does the neighbourhood in which people live matter for the resourcefulness of their personal network and thus for their opportunities in life? Do residents of a multi-ethnic ‘problem’ area maintain fewer relationships with fellow residents compared to residents of a homogeneous problem-free neighbourhood? And do ‘diversity-seekers’ who choose to live in a mixed neighbourhood translate their liking for diversity into more mixed networks and more bridging ties? This book brings together key insights from urban studies and network studies in order to understand whether and how spatial segregation matters for personal networks and inequality. By approaching these questions through different urban sociological perspectives, the book engages with current debates on poverty concentration as well as ethnic diversity, gentrification and social capital. The study is based on detailed quantitative and qualitative data on the personal networks of people living in three differently composed neighbourhoods in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands.
I always enjoy reading the acknowledgements in academic books. It has become a habit to glance over the many names: Anyone I know? Any ‘big names’? Where did the author travel to write and present draft papers? Where would academics be without their (semi-)professional network?
I thank my promotoren Talja Blokland (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Peter Boelhouwer (Delft University of Technology). I am glad that Talja and I spoke more than two times during the four years of my study: our discussions were inspiring and stimulating and they always helped me to take things a few steps further. I am also grateful for the opportunity that Talja opened up to visit New York and New York University, for preparing me for this (intellectual) journey and for helping me on my way with my academic career. Thanks to Peter for his confidence in the quality of my work.
Thanks to OTB for funding my researchfor providing the freedom to explore and wander. I enjoyed being part of the section Urban Renewal and Housing and working with my (former) colleagues (in order of geographical proximity to my desk): my roommate Leeke Reinders, Reinout Kleinhans and Anirban Pal, Saskia Binken and Eva Bosch, Wenda Doff and Mariska van der Sluis-van Meijeren, Carlinde Adriaanse, Christien Klaufus, Alex Curley (now unfortunately on the other side of the Atlantic), André Ouwehand, Ton van der Pennen and Frank Wassenberg, and coordinator Marco van der Land. I thank them for commenting and advising on many earlier drafts of parts of my thesis. Our Books & Breakdowns and Animated Arguments (of Academic Abracadabra and what not) will stay in my mind! Thanks in particular to Reinout for reading some of my chapters and helping me to straighten out my argument, and to Wenda for checking my English summary. Martine de Jong-Lansbergen and Truus Waaijer offered secretarial support and helped tremendously by entering loads of data into Excel sheets and transcribing lengthy interviews. Sylvia Jansen helped me with the questionnaire and statistical data analyses. Thanks to Dirk Dubbeling and Itziar Lasa Epelde for making the transcript publishable. Finally, I much appreciated the collegiality of and outings with (former) fellow PhD candidates at the OTB.
Thanks to the people that made my fieldwork possible: the 204 people living in Hillesluis and Blijdorp who took the time, some of them two or three times, to sit through long interviews and to answer difficult questions about their personal lives and relationships; the team of (then) students of the Erasmus University Rotterdam for their enthusiasm during the fieldwork; and Marco Bik and Piet Burger of the municipality of Rotterdam for providing statistical data on the research areas.
Thanks to Harvey Molotch for having me as a visiting scholar at the Sociology Department of New York University in the spring semester of 2008. Harvey's lectures were thought-provoking and I enjoyed our talks on draft writings of mine. I learned a lot, about urban sociology, about NYC and about academic life. Thanks to Candyce Golis for administrative support.
I am indebted to many people for reading draft papers and parts of my thesis and for having fruitful discussions: Tim Butler (King's College London, also for supporting me with my first post-thesis career steps), Peter Eisinger (Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy), Jan Fuhse (visiting scholar at Columbia University), Herbert Gans (Columbia University), Ade Kearns (University of Glasgow), Ronald van Kempen (Utrecht University), Nicole Marwell (Baruch College), John Mollenkopf (The City University of New York, also for showing interest in my future career), Mike Savage (The University of Manchester), Pat Sharkey (New York University), Beate Völker (Utrecht University, also for advice on the survey questionnaire), and many others I met in NYC and at conferences and gatherings.
Thanks to fellow board members of PromooD (the representative body for PhD candidates at Delft University of Technology) for offering a semi-professional network for fun and a different experience of academic life. Thanks to Hans Suijkerbuijk and Hans Beunderman for the opportunity to participate in the development of the PhD policy at Delft University of Technology.
Many thanks to my paranymphs my sister Leanne Langeveld and friend Rudy Negenborn for offering support in many ways over the (pre-thesis) years and for standing by me during my PhD defence.
Thanks to Joop van Eijk, my father, for offering advice and guidance, for keeping track of my googleability, for making my Dutch summary readable and for having taught me to always explore all opportunities.
I thank Jeroen for lattes, love, and so much more.
Gwen van Eijk
Delft/Amsterdam, March 2010