Xaquín S. Pérez-Sindín

Xaquín S. Pérez-Sindín

Guest Researcher

My research and teaching focuses on the interactions between structural changes and the society, including the following areas:

- (De)industrialization, population changes, social problems and democracy.

- Welfare policies, migration trends and well-being.

- Global value chain of energy resources, regional development and social problems in the societies of origin.

- Residential segregation, social cohesion and public participation.

- Energy systems and spatial inequalities.

- Postindustrial landscapes in Europe, social perception, public participatin and risk communication.

Broadly speaking, I am researching contemporary phenomena that impact the social cohesion of our society, including processes such as deindustrialization, economic globalization, migration, energy transition and the overall challenges associated with adapting to climate change.

Currently, under the project MAPSOCEXTRACT, we investigate social problems near sites of energy resources extraction in Colombia (crime, poverty, inequality, suicides). By bringing together proxies of economic activity and inequality estimated with satelite imagery and conventional statistical sources, we provide evidences that the large-scale-extraction of resources disrupt regional economies in a number of ways: increase in crime, poverty and inequality and the creation of an “economic dessert” in the surrounding of the extraction sites. The results are expected to contribute to current debates on global value change and regional development.

Under the project INNO-REJUST (Energy Transition in Spanish Coal Regions: Innovation, Resilience and Justice) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ref. PID2020-114211RB-100), and in collabortation with University of Zaragoza, Spain, we investigate the interrelation between coal industry decline and socio-demographic changes, values and environmental identities and democracy in the most affected areas. The results are expected to advice policy makers in the implementation of a just transition from a fossil fuels to revenable energy sources.

Finally, under the project ENABLIGHTS (Enabling long-term and small geographical scale studies of socio-economic change through Satellite Remote Sensing of Night-time lights), funded by the IDUB program of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, I am working with spatial scientist of both University of Copenhagen and Warsaw in the development of a new indicators of inequality. Using a combination of adavance statistical techniques and satellite imagery, the objective is to enable long-term and small geographical scale studies of inequality, particularly in rural areas.

I have taught courses on qualitative data analysis, general research methodology, urban sociology, and sociology of space. Additionally, I conducted a lecture session on the potential uses of remote sensing for social scientists and organized a seminar on research design for early career researchers.

Currently, I am an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of Warsaw, Poland, and a Guest Researcher in the Geography section at the University of Copenhagen.


Other research questions that my past and present research addresses are:

- How does resource consumption in major global urban centers influence the regions of origin, whether domestic or international, and what are the implications for regional development, well-being, and democratic processes? Under the project ReCurse , in collaboration with land scientist at the section for Geography of the University of Copenhagen, we explore the impacts of extracting the coal imported into Europe near the extraction sites, particularly in El Cesar, Colombia. During a three-month fieldwork expedition in 2019, I executed a comprehensive field survey and conducted interviews within communities affected by the expansion of coal mines. This fieldwork was a collaborative effort with researchers at the University of Magdalena in Santa Marta. To ensure a thorough data collection process, I hired students from the affected areas, providing them with training in survey methodologies and accompanying them through the entire door-to-door data collection process. My study contributes to  broader theoretical debates surrounding issues of land, environmental conflicts, and power dynamics, including themes of dominance and resistance. During my stay, I conducted semi-structured interviews with community leaders, local businesses, authorities, and stakeholders. The primary goal was to comprehend how the expansion of the mine has altered local culture and identity, as well as to discern the intricate connections between the mining activity (operated by a global corporation) and the local economy. I continue with this research topic in the above mentioned project MAPSOCEXTRACT.

- To what extend does the geographical distribution of social and environmental costs associated with energy infrastructures exhibit unevenness? How does the ongoing energy transition intersect with the rural-urban divide and influence the overarching social cohesion within society? In collaboration with energy engineers and energy social scientists from Denmark, US and South Korea, I have been engaged in analyzing the spatial distribution of energy prodcution in Spain, Denmark and South Korea. My research aims to improve current energy and regional planning policies in a context of profound transformations of energy systems, while contributing to more conceptual debates on envirronmental/energy and spatial justice and inequality. This research initiative is being pursued without specific public funds, except for the cost associated to the presentation of the paper in a conference on Energy Research and Social Science, which was funded by the University of Warsaw.

- How do alterations in landscapes influence cultural values, social imaginaries, and socio-demographic dynamics? In two of my research papers, I conduct qualitative analyses on the public perception of environmental restoration processes in two European coal mining regions: As Pontes, Spain and the southern part of Leipzig, Germany. Specifically, I explore the remediation of polluted land, the design of new green spaces, and the creation of artificial lakes by flooding mining openings. During my doctoral research stay in Germany in 2015, I engaged in ethnographic fieldwork and interviews to comprehend the social perception and extent of public participation in shaping these new landscapes. It's noteworthy that my research stay in Germany was financially supported by the EU Erasmus mobility program. This study aims to make a meaningful contribution to the field of Science and Technology studies, with a focus on ecological interventions and risk communication.

- What does "community" mean in the era of globalization? Can we cultivate a sense of belonging within our culturally diverse and ever-evolving neighborhoods, often characterized as "liquid" in contrast to the more traditional industrial and agrarian society where everyone knew each other and shared common values? One of my articles aims to define place-based communities today by bridging different social theories. While I published this paper in 2020, it was also part of my thesis. 

- Globalization, urban expansion, and the segregation of foreign population. In a paper from my Masters program I have investigated the segregation of foreign population in a medium size city in the Northwest of Spain: A Coruña. Drawing from social spatial analysis techniques and GIS, I estimated the disimilarity index of different foreign populaiton groups and analyse it in relation to previous studies on segregation in different cities of Spain and Northern Europe. 

ID: 200169532