Postdoctoral Researcher ‘Consumers on the March: Civic Activism and Political Representation in Europe, 1970s to 1990s’ (deadline 4 November 2018)

The Department of History and Art History seeks to appoint a Postdoctoral Researcher for the project ‘Consumers on the March: Civic Activism and Political Representation in Europe, 1970s to 1990s’, funded by means of a VIDI Research Grant awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to Dr Liesbeth van de Grift.

The Postdoctoral Researcher will be working on the subproject ‘Governing a Consumers’ Europe: Consumer Politics and Interest Representation on the European level, 1970s to 1990s’.
(0.75 FTE)

From the 1970s, the European Community became increasingly focused on consumer protection. This change allowed transnational NGOs, such as consumer organisations, to enter the European political arena and influence cross-border issues like product safety, environmental protection, and public health. This project will analyse the arguments and political strategies by which consumer organisations and other political actors in the field of consumer politics sought to present themselves as experts on/representatives of consumers, and seeks to explain their different degrees of success. On the meta-level, the Postdoctoral Researcher will analyse how the European model of decision-making and the role of civil society actors therein shifted over time beginning in the 1970s. The Postdoc will study archival records and the publications of institutional platforms where interest groups were able to influence policy-making, such as the Economic and Social Committee, the Consumer Consultative Committee and the European Parliament; she or he will also conduct interviews with key players in the field of consumer politics. This project is part of ‘Consumers on the March: Civic Activism and Political Representation in Europe, 1970s to 1990s’, a project that seeks to assess the impact of consumer organisations on changing conceptions and practices of interest representation in European governance since the 1970s.

The successful candidate should preferably have:

  • a PhD degree in History, European Studies, or another relevant discipline, and a demonstrable affinity with the project;
  • an outstanding record of academic work;
  • excellent command of English, both written and orally;
  • good knowledge of modern languages (German, French). In addition, reading knowledge of one or more of the languages of EC/EU member states is an asset;
  • strong writing and analytical skills;
  • capacity to work both as an independent researcher and as part of a team;
  • ability to perform and publish high quality research, demonstrated for instance by a strong publication record (relative to experience) in international peer-reviewed journals.

Conditions of employment
The position will be offered for 0.75 FTE, start date from 1 February 2019 onwards, but no later than 1 May 2019. The appointment is for an initial period of 12 months, which after a satisfactory evaluation will be extended by another 24 months (3 years in total).

The gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience – ranges between €3,303 and €3,545 (scale 10/11 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.

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively on major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and teaching in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. Enthusiastic and committed faculty members and excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

Additional information
Enquiries can be made to Liesbeth van de Grift. An extended research description is available upon request.

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