We are the people beyond the nation-state

Political Concepts in the World – ‘We the people’ beyond the nation-state

The University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme, is delighted to offer 6 Early Stage Researcher (PhD) positions, lasting 3 years starting in September 2019, for ground-breaking research on how political concepts, such as nation, citizenship, civil society and rule of law, are used in the world.

ESRs will complete a PhD with an inter-disciplinary supervisory team and benefit from a world-class training programme, including placements with one or more of our 23 international partners.  They will also actively participate in the activities of the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and the Rule of Law (CISRUL). We welcome applicants from across the social sciences and humanities, including anthropology, cultural and literary studies, education, history, legal theory and socio-legal studies, philosophy, politics, religious studies, sociology, and theology.

ESRs will be employed by the University on a salary of £26,489.40 per annum, and will be eligible for a range of additional benefits including ample travel and research funding.

One of the topics that we invite applicants to consider is “We the people” beyond the nation-state

The ‘nation’ which is the focus of topic 1 is but one form of ‘people’ in the world today. When Scotland voted on Independence, the debates were followed not only by the world’s nationalists, but by movements as different as the Spanish indignados (now Podemos Party) with their critique of conventional politics, and the Kurdish rojava cities in Syria which claim to offer plural and hospitable democracy. Meanwhile, although hopes for a ‘European people’ have faded, a string of events such as the introduction of the new Hungarian Constitution in 2012, the Greek elections of 2015, and Brexit in 2016, have reignited debate on the standing of Europe’s ‘peoples’ vis-à-vis the EU government. Scholars have considered the interface between political community and other forms of community, such as among aboriginal ‘First Nations’ Canadians, who are members of both their ancestral tribe (which have certain sovereign treaty rights in Canada) and of the Canadian nation state. Scholars and political actors may also look to history for alternatives to nation, desirable or otherwise, for example in medieval city-states, in early modern proto-democratic movements, or in the totalitarian ideologies of ‘people’s republics’. The PhD may choose one or more of the myriad notions of the people across these and other contexts, developing a multi-faceted account of what claims are (and should be) made to act in the name of a people.

Other indicative topics listed in the Further Particulars are

  • The “nation” resurgent?
  • Traditions of “citizenship” within and beyond Europe
  • Rule of law and constitutionalism
  • Sovereignty and the state
  • Teaching political concepts in post-truth times
  • The ‘democracy Phoenix’ – are young people changing the meaning of democracy
  • Protest, populism and social movements
  • Digitalising ‘democracy’ – transforming the concept?
  • Civility and understanding the political
  • ‘Radicalisation’, ‘extremism’ and the role of ‘civil society’
  • Conceptualizing secularism, post-secularism and religion itself
  • The politics of ‘religious pluralism
  • Horizons of the ‘political’

These are indicative topics – applicants are free to propose their own projects on how political concepts are used in the world.

Candidates are required to meet the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher eligibility criteria. In particular, at the time of the appointment candidates must have had less than 4 years full-time equivalent research experience and must not have already obtained a PhD.

Additionally, they must not have resided in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the appointment.

Any appointment will be offered a contract of employment that will be conditional upon satisfactory references, a 12 month probation period, the fulfilment of any conditions specified in the offer of a place on a PhD programme, and confirmation of the right to work in the UK and ability to secure a valid visa, if required, from UK Visas and Immigration.

Deadline is 20th January 2019. Please click here for Further Particulars and details of how to apply.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326.

%d bloggers like this: