2009 volume 27(6) pages 1008 – 1021

Cite as:
Gore T, Hollywood E, 2009, "The role of social networks and geographical location in labour market participation in the UK coalfields" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 27(6) 1008 – 1021

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The role of social networks and geographical location in labour market participation in the UK coalfields

Tony Gore, Emma Hollywood

Received 19 May 2008; in revised form 3 April 2009; published online 14 September 2009

Abstract. The demise of the coalmining industry has entailed an increased geographical separation of individuals from workplaces, highlighting the importance of understanding the spatial dimension of job search for those living in the coalfields. There has been an increasing interest among labour market researchers on the role of place and social networks in influencing labour market behaviour. A growing body of literature focuses on the importance of social networks in shaping people’s attitudes, behaviour, and decision making—in particular, the links between people’s social sphere and the nature and extent of their participation in the labour market. We aim to examine the area effects of social networks and how these affect labour market position. We will draw on material gathered from a Joseph Rowntree Foundation funded project on the economic, social, and governance links between coalfields and their neighbouring cities. Part of this research was composed of eighty-five interviews carried out with unemployed job seekers across three contrasting coalfields (Lothian, South Yorkshire, and the central Wales valleys). We will focus in particular on the issues of accessing of South Wales jobs, knowledge and experience of the spatial labour market, and the role of social networks in influencing job search and job knowledge.

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