Postdoctoral Researcher on Urbanization and Informal Settlements
The Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher to study urban growth and the development of amenities in historical and comparative perspective. This position is part of Justus Uitermark’s research project “Between collectivization and enclosure: examining the uneven provision of clean water, waste disposal and public space in rapidly growing cities,” which is funded by the Dutch National Science Organization (NWO) through a VIDI grant. The research project is embedded within the Department of Sociology, the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), and the Center for Urban Studies (CUS). In addition to the postdoctoral researcher, we are currently recruiting one PhD candidate to study Istanbul and one PhD candidate to study Accra.
Project and job description
Many cities in the Global South have been expanding rapidly, creating pressures on land, fueling conflicts over resources, and disrupting engrained power relations. The growing numbers of urbanites need access to basic provisions like clean water, sewerage, roads, public space, and electricity but governments are strapped for funds and often refuse to attend to the needs of deprived residents in informal settlements. This VIDI project studies what happens under these conditions. How do residents of rapidly expanding cities succeed or fail to access amenities when they cannot fulfil their needs through the state or the market?
As edifices of collective action, amenities – from plots of bare land used as football pitches to elaborate educational systems – bind people together but also pull them apart: in setting up amenities, collectivities organize and define themselves while erecting barriers to outsiders. The project develops a sociological and geographical approach to examine how people connect or disconnect in the process of setting up and governing different kinds of amenities, including clean water, public spaces, and roads. Theoretically, it draws on figurational sociology (as developed by Norbert Elias and Bram de Swaan) and the urban studies literature.
While the two PhD candidates in the project each study a specific city and examine collective action up close, the postdoctoral researcher will be responsible for providing a broader historical and comparative perspective. The postdoctoral researcher will examine changing urban morphologies and infrastructures over time, for instance through the use of Geographical Information Systems. In addition, the postdoctoral researcher will systematically review literature on the coevolution of collectives and amenities in rapidly growing cities.
The successful applicant will join a vibrant scholarly community in the Sociology Department, the AISSR, and at CUS. She or he will have access to travel support to attend conferences and carry out field work.
- conducting research within the framework of Uitermark’s VIDI project;
- publishing, together with the project leader, the results of the research in high-quality academic outlets;
- engaging with the work of other researchers within the project;
- write a literature review on rapid urbanization on the coevolution of collectives and amenities in rapidly growing cities;
- use GIS and other macroscopic methods to examine changing urban morphologies and infrastructures over time;
- participating in teaching (upon availability).
- A PhD-thesis in the social sciences, preferably with a specialization in urban studies;
- excellent command of English;
- proficient in geographical methods, ideally also competent in network analysis;
- capable and willing to work with urban studies theory and relational theory, specifically processual sociology;
- capable and willing to work in a team and engage in comparative dialogues and research.
For more information, please contact:
- Justus Uitermark, the principal investigator
This is a temporary appointment for 26.6 hours per week (0.7fte) and for a term of 36 months. The starting date is to be decided in consultation with the successful candidate. Salary depends on past education and relevant work experience, with a minimum salary of €3,545 and a maximum salary of €4,852 gross per month based on a full-time appointment for a 38-hour working week (in keeping with scale 11), as per the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).
We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary employee benefits, including a generous holiday scheme and year-end bonus. Because we value your continued personal development and professionalization, we also offer excellent opportunities for study and development.
The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is an active participant in a diverse, international community. Our goal is for you to feel at home here, regardless of your background, race, orientation and/or beliefs.
Does this profile sound like you? If so, we are eager to receive:
- a motivation letter of no more than 800 words explaining why you qualify for the position and how you intend to approach the research;
- two writing samples like a thesis chapter or an article;
- a curriculum vitae;
- the names and contact details of two referees.
These documents should be sent electronically in one document, preferably as a pdf-file. The deadline for applications is 21 November 2018. Please send your application to Applicationfirstname.lastname@example.org with the vacancy number 18-606 as subject.
A first selection round will be held late November, after which some candidates will be invited for an interview. After the interview round a decision will be made.