Post-truth and Political Parties 1 full-time doctoral position/grant (3 years) in political science

Brussels, Belgium
07 Mar 2023
End of advertisement period
30 May 2023
Contract Type
Full Time

This is a call for applications for one full-time doctoral position in the framework of an Incentive Grant (MIS- FNRS) at Universit libre de Bruxelles. The project is led by Nathalie Brack (Centre d tude de la vie politique, Cevipol).

The selected candidate will start on 1st of September 2023 (or as soon as possible after that) and be funded by a FNRS (Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique) doctoral grant for 36 months.

Objectives of the project:

Since the mid-2010s, concern over misinformation has been growing. Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election have highlighted the potential impact of manipulative messages on political decisions. These events are key milestones signalling the beginning of a new era, one of post-truth. It is characterized by a systemic shift towards a political culture in which accuracy and factual veracity in public debates are less important than other concerns and the line between facts and opinions is increasingly blurred. This presents contemporary democracies with a major challenge. Democracy is not only a set of formal rights, procedures, and institutions; it also requires enlightened understanding. But if facts are downgraded as mere opinions and political actors cannot agree on whether a fact is a fact, how can the democratic process unfold?

This project aims at understanding post-truth politics and its implications for democratic societies by looking at one central actor: political parties, which play a vital role as opinion shapers. Therefore, this project seeks to determine to what extent, and why political parties in Europe contribute to post-truth politics. It will focus on one facet of this phenomenon: conspiracy narratives.

It is structured around 3 steps: first, it will examine how often parties use conspiracy narratives and the type of discourse. Then the second step seeks to understand why there is a variation among parties, with a hypothesis regarding the degree of populism and one on the relation between extremism and the use of conspiracy discourse. The last one focuses on the interactions between parties and citizens to understand the consequences for democracy.

The project will rely on a comparative analysis across 4 countries and will use mixed method

(Twitter data, quantitative analysis, citizens surveys and interviews with political elites).

Within this framework, the PhD candidate has some leeway to propose original doctoral research ideas which can contribute to achieve the objectives described above.


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