Postgraduate research student members of CCS come from the participating faculties of Arts and Social Sciences and Business and their research reflects the interdisciplinary focus of the Centre, drawing on expertise from across the University.
Postgraduate research students undertake research in disciplinary areas that include sociology, cultural studies, media and communication studies, ethnography, economics, management including change management, community management, environmental management, human resource management and leadership studies, politics, social policy, women’s studies, entrepreneurship, social enterprise, education, events, leisure, sport and tourism management, international relations, globalisation studies, and corporate-social responsibility.
Their research is undertaken within the context of the Centre’s focus on issues relating to civil society in a global context, community capacity building, migration and cultural studies, human rights and governance, and education and social action.
Focus On ...
PhD Alumni Saswati Basu
Saswati Basu completed her PhD with the Faculty of Business, School of Management and a PhD research member of Cosmopolitan Civil Societies. Her principal supervisor was Professor Jenny Onyx.
Saswati's PhD research project was located in West Bengal State, India, where she studied the activities of social entrepreneurs in successful community organisations. Amongst other issues, her research investigated the self-sustainability of community organisations once the social entrepreneurs withdraw.
The field study villages were plagued by multidimensional poverty caused mainly by the failure of the Government’s development policies, the lack of resources, corrupt administration, and the adversity and unpredictability of the local climate.
The villagers earned their income mainly from agricultural activities that depend mostly on nature as they lack technologically improved farm practices. They were caught in a vicious cycle as their low income prevents them from adopting improved farming techniques, which in turn guarantees that their income will continue to be low. The villagers had little initiative to change their situation.
The school enrolment of village children was poor. This was partly because the Government school failed to provide quality education and a joyful environment suitable for the children. It was also because of the heavy domestic demands on all the children, where they must either contribute to the family income or take responsibility for household chores so that the parents can earn money outside the home.
Building social capital
Against this background, social entrepreneurs took the initiative to establish village organisations and in doing so, brought about significant improvements to the villagers’ lives. The social entrepreneurs promoted learning. The villagers learnt participatory management, such as how to organize collective action. They undertook vocational training. The children enrolled in the community school, participated in various academic activities outside the school and regained the pleasure of childhood.
Sawati's research explored the many ways in which the intervention of the social entrepreneurs has changed the existing behaviors and social norms of the villagers, building social capital and strengthening social networks both within and between villages. The villagers participate in every way, no matter how small, to help strengthen the community organization, as in the example of a village woman who now helps the children with their homework in the time between her household chores. Women now start small businesses. They work as physical trainers in the school and undertake physical training outside the villages, activities they would not have engaged in before. The young girls who spent most of their time in caring for their siblings have been learning dance and drama in a community school set up as an initiative of a community organisation. Villagers, both men and women, formed savings and credit groups to collect money from their own savings to fund small businesses or other activities.
School enrolments have increased as village children enjoy learning in a participatory environment
Villagers have learned the principles of participatory management
A village housewife volunteers her time to supervise children’s homework
The village women use collective action to build social capital
Village women work at rolling cigars as part of their contribution to economic development
Physical training for girls is an important addition to school activities
Micros loans fund small business activities like processing palm juice