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  3. 3 PhD candidates 'Sacralizing Security: Religion, Violence and Authority in Mega-Cities of the Global South' (1.0 FTE)

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3 PhD candidates 'Sacralizing Security: Religion, Violence and Authority in Mega-Cities of the Global South' (1.0 FTE)

Utrecht University's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is looking for 3 PhD candidates. Interested? Read more and apply here.

11 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


We seek to appoint 3 PhD candidates who will investigate the role of religious vigilante organizations. All three PhDs will be part of the ERC Consolidator project: Sacralizing Security: Religion, Violence and Authority in Mega-Cities of the Global South (SACRASEC). In mega-cities of the Global South, state agencies often lack the capacity to provide infrastructure and security to all citizens. In such contexts, religious organizations and non-state security actors (vigilantes) have merged into alternative governance organizations. The emergence of religious vigilantes suggests a different connection between religion and violence than emphasized in current research on religious fundamentalism and terrorism. While religious vigilantes use violence systematically, they generally do not aim to overthrow the state, nor do they seek a global audience to witness their violence. They operate side-by-side with state actors to maintain order. SACRASEC will analyze the production of authority of religious vigilantes in mega-cities of the Global South through an ethnographic comparison of groups in three mega-cities: Rio de Janeiro, Jakarta and Lagos. We seek to appoint PhDs that will focus on specific case-studies that have been designed for the project:

  • PhD 1: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Focus on evangelical vigilantes.
  • PhD 2: Jakarta, Indonesia. Focus on Islamic vigilantes.
  • PhD 3: Lagos, Nigeria. Focus on Yoruba vigilantes.

Candidates should indicate for which case study they wish to apply specifically and explain in a research statement why.

The project will draw on the methods of participant observation, ethnographic interviews, urban ethnography, content analysis, and sensory ethnography. It will also engage with the recent turn to materiality within religious studies, cultural anthropology and security studies. This project will be embedded in the Department of Cultural Anthropology’s research program Sovereignty and Social Contestation in Complex Societies (SoSCo), and the candidate will be supervised by Dr. Martijn Oosterbaan (PI of SACRASEC).

Job tasks/responsibilities

  • Conducting the research (literature research, ethnographic data collection and analysis, reporting the results), resulting in international scientific publications and a dissertation.
  • Assist in data collection and collective analysis.
  • To present results at national and international scientific conferences.
  • Teaching (max. 10% per year).
  • Active participation in the research group of the project and of the Department.
  • Ambition to collaborate with (inter)national partners.


We are looking for someone who: 

  • holds (or nearly holds) a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology or a related field, preferably with a specialization in the anthropology of conflict and security and/or anthropology of religion;
  • preferably has affinity with the case study she or he wishes to apply for (regional expertise, language skills, previous research in the city);
  • has good social skills;
  • is effective and efficient, and able to think conceptually;
  • is able to meet deadlines, and conduct research independently and as part of a team;
  • has good communication skills (written and oral) in English.


We offer a temporary position (1.0 FTE) for one year, starting preferably January 1, 2020. Upon a positive performance, the appointment will be extended for three further years. The gross salary - depending on previous qualifications and experience - ranges between €2,325 and €2,972 (scale P according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) gross per month for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information is available at: working at Utrecht University. 

Additional information

Additional information concerning this position can be obtained by contacting Babs van den Born (Secretary) via b.vandenborn@uu.nl. Please apply before October 13, 2019. Interviews will take place in the week of 11-15 November, 2019 in Utrecht.