Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

In a Lonely Place? Social Networks, Job Seeking and the Experience of Long-Term Unemployment

  • Colin Lindsay (a1)

Combating long-term unemployment remains a central strand of policies to promote social and labour market inclusion. One area of increasing concern is that the long-term unemployed (and especially those residing in disadvantaged communities) can find themselves isolated from the diverse social networks that can contribute to effective job seeking. This article draws on interviews conducted with 220 job seekers in two areas of high unemployment within the city of Glasgow to investigate: whether long-term unemployed people in these areas struggle to access social networks for job search; and the extent to which long-term unemployment is in itself associated with a more general erosion of social/community relations and a withdrawal from what has been termed the ‘tertiary sphere of sociability’. The article concludes with a discussion of the potential role for social policy in seeking to help the long-term unemployed and other job seekers to develop and broaden social networks and activities.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

K. Chapple (2002), ‘I name it and I claim it, in the name of Jesus, this job is mine: job search, networks, and careers for low-income women’, Economic Development Quarterly, 16, 4, 294313.

M. Fugate , A. Kinicki and B. Ashforth (2004), ‘Employability: a psycho-social construct, its dimensions, and applications’, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 65, 1, 1438.

D. Gallie , S. Paugam and S. Jacobs (2003), ‘Unemployment, poverty and social isolation: is there a vicious circle of social exclusion?’, European Societies, 5, 1, 132.

M. Granovetter (1973), ‘The strength of weak ties’, American Journal of Sociology, 78, 6, 1360–80.

H. Holzer (1988), ‘Search methods used by unemployed youths’, Journal of Labor Economics, 6, 1, 120.

I. Julkunen (2002), ‘Social and material deprivation among unemployed youth in Northern Europe’, Social Policy and Administration, 36, 3, 235–53.

M. Kleinmann (2000), ‘Include me out? The new politics of place and poverty’, Policy Studies, 21, 1, 4961.

G. Lai , N. Lin and S. Leung (1998), ‘Network resources, contact resources and status attainment’, Social Networks, 20, 2, 159–78.

M. Lévesque and D. White (2001), ‘Capital social, capital humain et sortie de l'aide sociale pour des prestataires de longue durée’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, 26, 2, 167–92.

C. Lindsay , M. Greig and R. W. McQuaid (2005), ‘Alternative job search strategies in remote rural and peri-urban areas: the role of social networks’, Sociologia Ruralis, 45, 1, 5370.

R. MacDonald , T. Shildrick , C. Webster and D. Simpson (2005), ‘Growing up in poor neighbourhoods: the significance of class and place in the extended transitions of “socially excluded” young adults’, Sociology, 39, 5, 873–91.

M. McPherson , L. Smith-Lovin and J. Cook (2001), ‘Birds of a feather: homophily in social networks’, Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 415–44.

R. W. McQuaid and C. Lindsay (2002), ‘The employability gap: long-term unemployment and barriers to work in buoyant labour markets’, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 20, 4, 613–29.

R. W. McQuaid and C. Lindsay (2005), ‘The concept of employability’, Urban Studies, 42, 2, 197219.

W. Maloney , G. Smith and G. Stoker (2000), ‘Social capital and urban governance: adding a more contextualized top-down perspective’, Political Studies, 48, 4, 802–20.

M. Mayer (2003), ‘The onward sweep of social capital: causes and consequences for understanding cities, communities and urban movements’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27, 1, 110–32.

C. Merrett (2001), ‘Declining social capital and non-profit organizations: consequences for small towns after welfare reform’, Urban Geography, 22, 5, 407–23.

N. Miles and J. Tully (2007), ‘Regional Development Agency policy to tackle economic exclusion? The role of social capital in distressed communities’, Regional Studies, 41, 6, 855–66.

T. Mouw (2003), ‘Social capital and finding a job: do contacts matter?’, American Sociological Review, 68, 6, 868–98.

D. Reingold (1999), ‘Social networks and the employment problem of the urban poor’, Urban Studies 36, 11, 1907–32.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
  • URL: /core/journals/social-policy-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 56
Total number of PDF views: 141 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 428 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.