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Sociology: People


Gil Viry

Gil Viry
Dr Gil Viry
3.09 18 Buccleuch Place Edinburgh UK EH8 9LN
+44 (0)131 651 5768; Twitter: @gil_viry
Research Interests
Spatial mobility, Family relationship, space and spatiality, Social network analysis, life course research, Quantitative Methods

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Tuesdays 11am - 1pm

Guidance and Feedback Hours

 Tuesdays 11am - 1pm

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome inquiries and proposals for doctoral research, honours and master dissertations in relation to any area of sociologial research that connects with one or more of my research interests:

  • Spatial mobility, in particular the links with personal and family relationships
  • Family in space
  • Distance relationships
  • Family and personal networks
  • Social network analysis
  • Life course research.

Learn more and apply for research degrees in Sociology.

Research interests

My research interests bridge the intersection of spatial mobilities, family and personal life and social networks. I am especially interested in exploring how geographical distance and mobility behaviours (travelling, commuting, moving) impact personal relationships, focusing in particular on the network structure of families. I use mainly quantitative research methods and social network analysis.

Current Research

I am currently working on two large collaborative research projects:

(1) The spatiality of family configurations and the life course (2015-18), Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) LIVES, IP208 (with Professor Eric Widmer, University of Geneva and Dr Jacques Antoine-Gauthier, University of Lausanne).

The project aims to examine the interactions between spatial mobility biographies, family development and family relationships using sequence analysis and SNA based on survey data.

(2) ‘Transgene: History, biology and translation: the postponement of healthcare delivery over the course of large-scale genomic initiatives’ (2016-2020) ERC Starting Grant  (with Dr Miguel García-Sancho Sánchez, STIS, University of Edinburgh).

My contribution to the project is to analyse the evolution of co-authorship networks based on publications funded by yeast, human and pig genome programmes using longitudinal SNA methods.

My research at the University of Edinburgh falls more particularly into two areas: (1) ways individual practices of spatial mobility are experienced over the family life course; (2) changes in personal networks in relation to spatial mobility histories.

I currently co-convene the Social Network Analysis in Scotland (SNAS) Group and I am an associate researcher at CRFR.


I joined Edinburgh Sociology as a Chancellor's Fellow in September 2012. Prior to this, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the centre for mobility research (CeMoRe) at Lancaster University, an Invited Scholar at Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden, Germany, a Teaching Assistant in the sociology department at Geneva University and a Research Fellow at LaSUR (Laboratory of Urban Sociology) at Swiss federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and at PAVIE (Laboratory of Life Course Research) at Lausanne University.

I completed my PhD in Sociology at the University of Geneva in 2011.


PhD in sociology (University of Geneva)

MSc in sociology (University of Geneva)

MSc in physics (University of Geneva)


I am co-directing the Taught MSc programme: Sociology and Global Change

I usually teach in the broad areas of spatial mobility, family life and social network analysis. In 2016-17 I will be teaching on:

Recent Publications

All publications on my personal web page:

(2017) Work-related travel over the life course and its link to fertility: a comparison between four European countries. European Sociological Review (In press). (with Heiko Rueger)

(2017) Family inclusiveness and spatial dispersion: The spatial consequences of having large and diversified family configurations. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 5, 350-367. (with Eric Widmer)


(2015) High Mobility in Europe: work and personal life. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (co-edited with Vincent Kaufmann)

(2015) Grandes mobilités liées au travail, perspective européenne et longitudinale. Economica (In press) (with Emmanuel Ravalet, Stéphanie Vincent, Vincent Kaufmann and Yann Dubois)

(2015). Under which conditions can intensive commuting be a way of life? In: C. Aybek, J. Huinink, R. Muttarak (Eds). Spatial Mobility, Migration, and Family Dynamics. Dordrecht: Springer. (with Stéphanie Vincent-Geslin).

(2014) Coparenting and children’s adjustment to divorce: the role of geographical distance from fathers. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage.

(2014) Migration and long-distance commuting histories and their links to career achievement in Germany: a sequence analysis. Sociological Research Online. (with Heiko Rüger & Thomas Skora) (full text:

(2013). Elite formation in the Third Industrial Revolution. In: T. Birtchnell, J. Caletrio (Eds). Elite mobilities. Routledge., pp. 62-77. (with Thomas Birtchnell & John Urry).

(2013). Vivre loin de ses parents quand on est un jeune adulte : quel effet sur le lien de confidence? Enfances, Familles, Générations. (with Eva Nada) (full text:

(2013). Residential trajectories in the early life course and their effects. In: R. Levy, E.D. Widmer (Eds). Gendered life courses, between individualization and standardization. A European approach applied to Switzerland. Lit Verlag., pp. 141-160. (with Heather Hoffmeister & Eric Widmer)

(2013) Generations, intergenerational relationships, generational policy: A multilingual compendium. Generationes. (with Kurt Luescher, Andreas Hoff, Giovanni Lamura, Marta Renzi, Mariano Sanchez and Eric Widmer)

(2012). Residential mobility and the spatial dispersion of personal networks: effects on social support. Social Networks (full text:

(2012). Do regions matter in ALICE? Social relationships and data exchanges in the Grid. European Physical Journal Plus, 127(2), pp. 20-27. (with Eric Widmer, Federico Carminati, Giuliana Galli-Carminati).

(2012). Der zunehmende Einfluss der Bildung auf den Zeitpunkt der ersten Geburt in Deutschland, Frankreich und der Schweiz. Bevölkerungsforschung Aktuell. Mitteilungen aus dem Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung, Mai 2012 (with Jasmin Passet).

(2012). Mobile un jour, mobile toujours?. In: S. Vincent-Geslin, V. Kaufmann (Eds). Mobilité sans racines. Plus loin, plus vite, plus mobiles?Descartes & Cie. (with Stéphanie Vincent-Geslin).

(2012). Mobilités réversibles: un phénomène anecdotique ? Quantification des mobilités réversibles. In: S. Vincent-Geslin, V. Kaufmann (Eds). 2012. Mobilité sans racines. Plus loin, plus vite, plus mobiles?Descartes & Cie. (with Vincent Kaufmann & Iragaël Joly).

(2011). The impact of spatial mobilities and physical distance on interpersonal relationships. Do spatially mobile people have weakened intimate and family ties? Ph.D. University of Geneva, Editions SES.

(2010). Does it matter for us that my partner or I commute? Zeitschrift für Familienforschung, 22. Jahrg., Heft 2, pp. 149-170. (with Eric Widmer & Vincent Kaufmann).

(2010). Early life course relocation: Effects on motility, mobility, and social Integration. In: Collet,B. Schneider, N. Mobile Living across Europe, Volume II. Causes and consequences of job-related spatial mobility in cross-national perspective. Leverkusen-Opladen: Barbara Budrich. (with Heather Hoffmeister & Eric D. Widmer).

(2010). Generations, intergenerational relationships, generational policy: A trilingual compendium. Bern: Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften. (co-author, main author: Kurt Lüscher).

(2010). Carrières académiques: comment concilier mobilités spatiales et vie de famille ?. Revue Synergies. Pays Riverains de la Baltique, n°7. GERFLINT, pp. 77-94. (with Stéphanie Vincent & Vincent Kaufmann).

(2009). La grande mobilité géographique pour des raisons professionnelles en Suisse: une étape de vie pré-familiale ? Revue Recherches familiales, 6, pp. 67-80. (with Vincent Kaufmann & Eric Widmer).

(2009). Relational anchorings faced with commuting. In: Bergman, M. Maksim, H. Ohnmacht, T. (eds.).Mobilities and Inequality, Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 121-143. (with Vincent Kaufmann & Eric Widmer).

(2008). Switzerland - Mobility: a life stage issue? In: Meil, G. Schneider, N. Mobile Living across Europe, Volume I. Relevance and diversity of job-related spatial mobility in six European countries. Leverkusen-Opladen: Barbara Budrich. (with Vincent Kaufmann & Eric Widmer).

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome inquiries and proposals for doctoral research, in relation to any area of sociologial research that connects with one or more of my research interests: All forms of spatial mobility (travel, migration), Family in space, Distance relationships, Family and personal networks, Social network analysis, Life course research.

If you are interested in being supervised by Gil Viry, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology; MSc (R) Sociology