Sinead Marian D’Silva is a research fellow at ICS-ULisboa. We are pleased to introduce you to her study – Youth negotiation of tourism-based employment in Goa and Lisbon – funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, through a ‘Widening Fellowship’, accepted for funding via the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Individual Fellowship scheme. The project has the scientific supervision of Dr. Vitor Sérgio Ferreira.
Sinead, tell us about your research project…
My research is on young people working in tourism in Goa and Lisbon, while being ‘local’ to either respective place. In both locations, reactions by ‘locals’ to tourism are represented as either highly contested or completely endorsed as both economies are geared towards the industry. As I begin my research, I hope to understand why young people decide to work in tourism and how they negotiate their participation in it. This includes who they are in society, how they perceive their futures and their relationship with place.
What excites you most about this research plan?
I suppose this is two-fold. In terms of academic interests, the focus on youth futures is a continuation of my previous work. The consideration of it within a contentious industry allows me to take further an interest I have as a researcher, in the empirical sense, as I must confront perspectives that may be different from mine or are not popularly presented. I must then treat them in the way that those narrating them intended while simultaneously maintaining a critical perspective. There is also a personal aspect to it which I will speak later…
Did the global pandemic situation influenced your initial research design? How?
The current pandemic has definitely had an impact on the initial plan for my research. It has sent my fieldwork for a toss – I had just started in March – and made me re-construct it to be back-to-front. My fieldwork has been delayed further by a need to re-apply for ethical clearance – understandably so.
At the moment how are you trying to solve difficulties?
I would not call these difficulties, but rather inconveniences, mostly bureaucratic ones. I suppose such times call for a mobilizing of ‘Plan B’. As social researchers, we are usually prepared to eat some humble pie and realize that circumstances change and our ‘dream project’ may not play out as planned. In practical terms this has meant that rather than starting off with observations and encountering participants ‘organically’, I need to have a virtual approach to contacting people, using the networks I have and my own knowledge. In addition to virtual interviews which will be flexible, I have included a diary method for participants to go their thoughts and experiences in multiple ways, including sharing social media posts they might feel demonstrate this, doing videos, voice messages, and so on. The uptake is yet to be known as I await amended ethical clearance, but if anyone would like to help, here is a link to share.
How does this research fits into your biographical/academic background?
As said previously, this fits with my academic interests in work, youth futures and place-making. I cannot stress how important it is to have some sense of financial stability – even if temporary – when doing research. I feel a sense of confidence and freedom to pursue my work. I hope to demonstrate part of my capacity through this project. On a personal level, following my PhD I feel determined and confident to return to (research about) my home context of Goa. I have also wanted to know more about Portuguese culture and society for a while now, which can perhaps bring me a step closer to understanding my own social and cultural history. It gives me a good opportunity to be critical and appreciative.
Where have you spend most of your life and what would you like to highlight from that place?
I lived in Goa for the most part of my life – in proportion anyway. Following my schooling I lived in Bombay for 7 years and then Leeds in the North of England for 6 years before coming to Lisbon. I am not sure what to say and about which context, but perhaps my research will shed some light on the situation in Goa!
Social scientist/researcher whose disciplinary background is an intersection of Sociology and Geography. Formal academic focus on work, youth futures and a senses of place. Engaged with research and community-based action for social justice and equality, such as being a member of the steering group for the Inequalities Research Network at the University of Leeds.
Follow her on…
Twitter: @CianydeArgentum – https://twitter.com/CianydeArgentum