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Postdoctoral Fellowship in Social Anthropology or Sociology for Research Project “The Politics of Insecurity”

Applications are invited for a 2-year postdoctoral position in social anthropology or sociology (or similar) to be based at the Department Political Science and Public Management at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, as of August 1, 2020. For more information about the department organization, research and teaching, please visit the website

The position will be part of the newly established Core Group “The Politics of Insecurity (POINS)”, led by professor (wsr) Peter Starke, and funded by the Velux Foundation. The successful candidate will become a member of the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies (DaWS), which has a strong international profile in comparative public policy and welfare state research. It is a cross-disciplinary unit which includes political scientists, historians and literature scholars. Postdoctoral fellows are expected to actively take part in research seminars and other centre activities. For more information, please visit the website.

The Project

The Core Group POINS investigates how citizens’ rising subjective insecurity – broadly understood – is reflected in social welfare and criminal justice policymaking. The postdoctoral position will be in Subproject 1.

Questions guiding the Core Group are: 1) How does insecurity affect citizens’ policy attitudes? 2) When and how do political parties respond to insecurity? And, finally, 3) how does insecurity influence policy reforms? These questions will be systematically analyzed in three subprojects by an interdisciplinary team using both quantitative and qualitative methods and data from Denmark and a sample of EU and OECD countries. Subproject 1 combines ethnographic interviews of Danish citizens with survey experiments to capture the meanings, contextual dynamics and the causal effects of insecurity, especially at the emotional level. Subproject 2 – which is a PhD project – uses observational data for 20+ European countries from cross-national attitudinal surveys and party positions for multi-level regression analyses to study the dynamics of party competition under conditions of rising insecurity of groups of voters. Party positions on crime and welfare will be taken from existing datasets and additionally coded from manifestos via manual coding or automated text analysis. Subproject 3 uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to examine key legislative changes in the two policy areas across OECD countries. An Outreach Group with members of civil society will accompany the project.

The ideal applicant
To qualify for the postdoctoral position, you must hold a PhD in social anthropology, sociology or a closely related discipline, have substantial training in ethnographic and related methods, and be able to outline an individual research project on the lived experience and meanings of insecurity (broadly understood), embedded as part of Subproject 1 in the larger project "The Politics of Insecurity" described above. The ideal candidate for the job will have strong qualitative methods skills and fieldwork experience. A background in research on emotions, fear of crime or economic insecurity is a benefit.

Candidates are expected to:

  • Have native or near-native Danish language skills
  • Be curious and willing to actively engage in interdisciplinary research activities
  • Present a 2-year research agenda that clearly fits into the POINS project and examines the lived experience of (in)security in everyday life of middle-class Danes
  • Document a strong research outcome and publication record with international peer-reviewed journals or presses.

We are looking for candidates who are able to work independently in consultation with the project coordinator. Candidates are also expected to have good interpersonal skills, be interested in engaging with the national and international research community, be present and contribute to the academic and social environments at the department. Detailed departmental guidelines on recruitment, gender equality and the Scholarly Qualification Matrix can be found here.

For further information about the position or the research project, please contact Professor (wsr) Peter Starke phone +45 4022 4307, e-mail

Application, salary, etc.
Appointment to the position requires a PhD or equivalent and will be in accordance with the salary agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.

An application must include:

  • Application letter
  • A detailed CV
  • A research agenda (max. 5 pages) for the next 2 years that describes:
    • the potential to advance the field (both empirically and theoretically)
    • the relationship to the overall aims and subprojects of the POINS core group
    • planned national and international collaborations
    • the potential for obtaining further external funding
  • Certificates/Diplomas (Master and PhD degree)
  • A complete list of publications, indicating which publications are most relevant for the position
  • Up to 3 of the most relevant publications. Please upload a pdf for each publication. NOTE: If publications have been co-authored, co-author statements must be a part of this pdf and must include information like in this example. The statement is just for your inspiration.

All documents in languages other than Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English, or German must be translated into English. The research agenda, letter and CV must be written in English.

Applications that are incomplete with regard to the above requirements may be rejected without any substantive evaluation.

Assessment of applications will be done under existing Appointment Order for universities. Applications will be assessed by an academic assessment committee that determines whether applicants are qualified. The committee may request additional information, and if so, it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the necessary material. The committee reserves the right to arrive at a decision solely based on the material submitted.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

When the assessment committee has submitted its report, the applicant will receive the part of the evaluation that concerns him/her. The assessment report will subsequently be forwarded to the Head of Department who will assemble an appointments committee. The appointments committee will manage and complete a series of job interviews with especially promising applicants. On the basis of the applications, the written assessments, the job interviews, and a deliberation within the appointments committee, the Head of Department determines which candidate(s) will be offered the position.

Applications must be submitted electronically no later than April 14, 2020 using the link below. Uploaded files must be in Adobe PDF (unlocked) or Word format.

Read the guideline for the applicants

Each field can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb.


Send application
Deadline 2020-Apr-14

You can apply for the job at Faculty of Business and Social Sciences by completing the application form