PhD candidate in Political Science on the topic of affective polarization

Research / Academic

Are you fascinated by the causes and consequences of polarization in our society, and aspiring to become a social science researcher? We’re looking for a PhD candidate with strong methodological skills who can further the understanding of affective polarization, with a focus on the role played by the ideological diversity citizens encounter in their daily lives.

The Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a PhD candidate to develop a research project within the field of political behaviour on the topic of Echo chambers, affective polarization, and democracy. This position is part of the projects Democracy in an Age of Populism (funded by the Norwegian Research Council) and Divided democracies? Causes and consequences of affective polarization in Europe (funded by the Swedish Research Council).

The aim of the PhD project is to understand how the ideological diversity in citizens’ daily lives (or a lack thereof) shapes their tolerance towards ideological opponents and their democratic norms. ‘Echo chambers’ (online or offline) might lead to affective polarization: a dislike and intolerance towards people with a different worldview. A more elaborate proposal for the PhD project can be found here: PhD proposal. However, the selected PhD candidate is encouraged to develop their own focus within this theme. The supervisors are prof. dr. Wouter van der Brug and dr. Eelco Harteveld. The PhD candidate will be embedded in the programme group Challenges to Democratic Representation and tasked with a limited amount of teaching of bachelor students.

During the four-year PhD project you:

  • develop your own four-year research agenda on the theme of echo chambers, affective polarization, and democracy, resulting in a PhD thesis;      
  • conduct research both independently and in collaboration with other team members (for more information on Divided democracies, see this project’s description);
  • have the opportunity to collect large-N survey data to answer your research questions, as part of the data collection of the overarching projects.


You have:

  • a Master’s degree in Political Science, Communication Science, or any other relevant social or behaviour science;          
  • an excellent command of quantitative research designs and statistical methods;    
  • a strong affiliation with the themes of the project.

You are:

  • enthusiastic about doing social science research;
  • interested in doing research that crosses disciplinary boundaries.

Salary Benefits:

The intended starting date of the PhD position is 1 September 2019.
The position concerns a temporary appointment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of 4 years. The initial appointment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events. You will also be tasked with teaching Bachelor's students.
Your salary will be €2.325 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €2.972 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities). We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8,3%.

What else can we offer you?

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organisation. The social and behavioural sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.
To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

Work Hours:

24 - 38 hours per week


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