ERC founded project TARGETS has started

Valentina Di Stasio’s project “TARGETS – What Makes People TARGETS: A Multi-Actor Study of How Ethnic Discrimination Is Perceived, Tackled and Avoided” has started. The project is funded by an ERC Starting grant (2021 call; €1,5 million).

Project description: Integrating literature from sociology, social psychology, organization and sociolegal studies, we develop and test a novel, multi-actor and dynamic theoretical framework to examine what makes people targets of ethnic discrimination. Both conceptually and empirically, we define and operationalize discrimination claims as, inherently, relational: claims need to be validated by other actors to be seen as legitimate. At the macro level, we map how structures and practices, such as anti-discrimination laws and diversity management policies, can confer or deny legitimacy to discrimination claims, in the workplace and courtroom. We then zoom in on the micro-foundations of the claims-making process.

Using multi-actor factorial survey experiments, we conceptualize discrimination as multidimensional, with episodes varying on a number of related but distinct dimensions, such as subtlety, formality and intentionality. We then capture the discrimination attributions made by multiple actors (targets, perpetrators, allies and bystanders) all simultaneously experiencing the same situation and calculate the level of (dis-)agreement between the actors involved. Finally, using daily diaries, we collect real-time longitudinal data on the job search strategies that ethnic minorities adopt to avoid becoming targets. This dynamic approach contributes to theory development on how supply-side behaviour can counteract labour market inequalities.

Valentina Di Stasio is an Associate Professor at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science and the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER) at Utrecht University and a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI). More about Valentina Di Stasio: