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  3. Two PhD Candidates in VIDI project “Curious constellations of political attitudes” (1.0 FTE each)

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Two PhD Candidates in VIDI project “Curious constellations of political attitudes” (1.0 FTE each)

Curious constellations characterize contemporary political disputes on the EU, the welfare state and development aid. Apparently opposing groups of citizens …

bijna 4 jaar geleden


Burgemeester Oudlaan, Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur


Curious constellations characterize contemporary political disputes on the EU, the welfare state and development aid. Apparently opposing groups of citizens share salient attitudes on these issues, and citizens are seemingly unresponsive to related information campaigns.

To solve these puzzles, insights from cultural sociology and political science are synthesized, theorizing that the same level of support for an issue has radically different meanings for different social groups. To analyze this, qualitative methods are combined with recent statistical techniques: Relational/Correlational Class Analysis (RCA/CCA). Unlike conventional methods, these enable the inductive uncovering of different ‘belief systems’ (i.e., configurations of attitudes).

Three sub-projects respectively address Euroscepticism, welfare state criticism, and opposition to development aid. All involve four phases:
#1 (Exploration): focus groups, informed by qualitative content analyses of information campaigns, map relevant aspects and reasons for support for/opposition to the issues at hand.
#2 (Clustering+interpretation): RCAs/CCAs uncover different belief systems featuring distinct ways in which support/opposition is clustered with tailor-made survey items informed by phase#1. Follow-up focus groups ensure the careful interpretation of the meanings of these belief systems.
#3 (Explanation): theoretical scenarios explaining why different groups have different belief systems are developed through focus groups and tested with additional representative survey data.
#4 (Experimentation): population-based survey experiments test whether the impact of information provision on political attitudes differs between groups with different belief systems.

The PhD Candidates are responsible for elaborating the study design, data collections and analyses in all phases, as well as disseminating insights to non-academic audiences. In collaboration with their supervisors, the Candidates will write scientific papers for leading international scientific journals. The Candidates will participate in scientific meetings, (inter)national conferences, and departmental seminars. Following PhD training in the Graduate School and attending courses on theory and/or methods are part of the positions, and the Candidates will participate in the department’s educational programmes (about 0.1 FTE each). Each project will be completed by means of a doctoral dissertation (PhD thesis).


- A Master’s degree (to be obtained before October 1, 2018) in Sociology, Political Science, Communication Science, or a related field (preferably a Research Master);
- Experience with qualitative and quantitative research methods;
- Excellent writing skills;
- Excellent command of both Dutch and English;
- A strong drive to conduct social-scientific research;
- Flexibility and dedication;
- A creative, open personality with excellent analytical, communication and organizational skills;
- Ability to work well in a team, as well as autonomously.


Internationally-oriented and varied work within an enthusiastic and ambitious team of top researchers and lecturers, with attractive fringe benefits in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU).
Employment preferably starts in October 2018. The initial contract will run for a term of 1,5 years, which – depending on performance – will be extended with a second term of 2,5 years. The conditions of employment correspond with the CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten (CAO NU). The Erasmus University offers a salary of € 2.222,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2.840,- gross per month in the final year in accordance with the Promovendus scale of CAO NU. Salary is based on a fulltime occupation. Objective of the temporary 4-year position is the production of a thesis leading to a PhD degree. Candidates are to submit yearly progress reports to the faculty’s standing committee for research.

The EUR has attractive employment conditions, which include holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, an end-of-year payment of 8.3% of the yearly salary and 232 hours leave per year (based on a full-time appointment of 38 hours). In case of a working day of 8 hours, you will weekly save 2 hours extra for annual leave (totally 328 hours).

In addition, EUR takes part in the ABP pension scheme, and we also offer partially paid parental leave. Moreover, EUR staff members can make use of the facilities at the EUR campus, including the Erasmus Sports Centre and the University Library. Substantial tax benefits apply to non-Dutch citizens, conditional on permission granted by the Dutch Tax Office. Applicants should have the right to work in the Netherlands for the duration of the contract.
More information about working conditions a can be found at:

Based on our internal career policy, internal candidates are given a prior position, relative to external candidates. Furthermore, diversity is one of our strategic priorities. Female candidates and/or candidates from an ethnic minority, candidates with an international background are encouraged to apply. Under the condition of equal quality and suitability, these candidates will have a priority position.

Additional information

The vacancies are part of dr. Willem de Koster’s NWO-funded Vidi-project “Curious constellations in contemporary political disputes: A sequential mixed-methods approach for understanding the varying social meanings of political attitudes”. The three subprojects (respectively on support for / opposition to: the EU, the welfare state, and development aid) will be carried out by two PhD Candidates and Willem de Koster.
This Vidi team will be embedded in an enthusiastic group of junior and senior sociologists who use cultural-sociological insights to study the antecedents and implications of political attitudes and behaviours (e.g., institutional distrust, electoral preferences) and health outcomes and behaviours (obesity, mental well-being, unhealthy consumption patterns).
You can obtain more information about the Erasmus University Rotterdam on https://www.eur.nl/english/
You can obtain more information about the Department of Public Administration and Sociology on https://www.eur.nl/en/essb/research/sociology.
If you have questions concerning the vacancy, please send an email to dr. Willem de Koster (dekoster@essb.eur.nl).
Please note that information about the application procedure appears if you press “Apply now”. Please follow these instructions carefully.