Postgraduate Prize announced

TGRG is pleased to announce that its 2013 Prize for the best paper presented by a postgraduate student at a session sponsored by the group at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference is awarded to Fariya Sharmeen of the Eindhoven University of Technology. Her paper was entitled “Dynamics of social interaction frequency: Role of Geography and Accessibility”.


Commonly, frequency of social interaction is modelled as a function of an ego’s sociodemographic characteristics and dyad characteristics of ego and alters. This study is based on the contention that proximity to alters, accessibility to services and degree of urbanization moderate this relationship. In addition, marking the contribution of this study to the literature, social interaction frequencies are dynamic and change over time. Therefore, face-to-face interaction frequencies are subjected to the history of interaction and distance between actors. By taking history into account, important research questions can be addressed, for instance, how often would the ego meet the alter who was living nearby but moved to a more distant location? Or, would the frequency of meeting increase if an alter now lives nearby, but was previously located far away? This study investigates these issues. It draws from the concepts of path dependency and accessibility and shows that history and accessibility indicators can explain part of the frequency of face-to-face interactions. Life-cycle events were taken as triggers of these changes. Retrospective survey data is used for the analyses. Face-to-face social interaction frequency between egos and their alters was recorded before and after the life-cycle event. A stepwise ordered logit model estimation reveals that social travel frequency can be better predicted when geographical indicators and path dependency are included in the model specification. The study findings can direct ways to promote social interaction in neighbourhoods and thereby create cohesive communities.

About the prize

The TGRG inaugurated its postgraduate paper prize in 2010, and this is the first year it has been sponsored by Emerald Publishing. The winner receives £100 and a book of their choice from the Emerald transport list. TGRG regards the paper prize as an important means of helping the group to support postgraduate research students, by giving them an opportunity to present their work at a major conference and raise the profile of their studies within the research community.


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