PhD candidate in Political Representation and Diversity

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research

Publication date
15 September 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
Closing date
29 October 2017
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is a university with an internationally acclaimed profile, located at the heart of the Dutch capital. As well as a world centre for business and research, Amsterdam is a hub of cultural and media activities. The University of Amsterdam is a member of the League of European Research Universities.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands. The Faculty serves 7,500 students in numerous Bachelor and Master programmes in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Social Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Educational Sciences. The academic staff are employed in education as well as research. There are over 1,100 employees in the Faculty, which resides in a number of buildings in the centre of Amsterdam.

Project description

This PhD position is part of the project 'Misrepresenting Diversity? How personal identities clash with ethnic pigeonholing in politics' funded with a NWO Vidi grant coordinated by dr. Liza Mügge.

Ideally, democracies should accommodate the citizenry’s full diversity. This especially matters for structurally underrepresented persons, such as ethnic minorities with a migration background. Misrepresenting Diversity? provides a bottom-up analysis of the mechanisms that drive representation in ethnically diverse societies. It empirically investigates how citizens and politicians themselves experience diversity in politics and fill it with life. It reverses the usual telescope: instead of assuming that we can read people’s identities from their birth certificates, it researches how and with whom politicians and citizens identify, and how they give meaning to their backgrounds.

The PhD candidate will focus on individual minority citizens’ experience and expectations of representation in the Dutch, French and German parliaments. The aim is to reveal citizens’ personal experience of representation and how this is mediated by their personal characteristics and identity. The findings will show whether, and if so how, citizens believe that direct representation by politicians who are “like them” matters. The central question is: How do minority backgrounds shape the experience and expectations of representation among individual citizens? This project primarily relies on original large-n nationwide surveys with embedded experiments in the Netherlands, Germany and France.


The successful candidate will be expected to have a high level of competence and motivation to undertake the following tasks:

  • complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration (four years);
  • develop and coordinate a cross-national survey with embedded experiments;
  • contribute (both as sole author and as co-author) to the writing up of research papers to be submitted to academic journals;
  • regularly present intermediate research results at the UvA and at international workshops and conferences;
  • contribute to the organisation of research activities and events of the project, such as conferences, workshops and joint publications;
  • teach in the field of political sciences (in consultation);
  • participate in the AISSR PhD programme, including attendance of courses.


Ideal candidates:

  • have obtained a (research) master’s degree in a field relevant to the theme of the research;
  • are persons with initiative, excellent communication skills, the ability to work independently as well as in a team and move easily between international contexts;
  • have well-developed analytical skills as well as creativity and perseverance;
  • possess good academic writing, presentation and organisational skills;
  • can demonstrate a strong interest in the topic of this PhD project;
  • are familiar with (some of the) academic literatures relevant to the project;
  • have excellent quantitative methodological skills, with a particular focus on surveys and experiments, or are willing and able to acquire these skills, and are open to mixed methods;
  • are able to communicate effectively in English both orally and in writing;
  • have a strong interest in pursuing an academic career.

Further information

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 4 years for 38 hours per week. In the first instance, a contract will be given for 12 months; if positively evaluated, the contract will be extended for another 36 months. Salary will be €2,222 during the first year, rising to €2,840 on the basis of a full-time appointment during an eventual fourth year. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

The successful candidate will begin their project on or around 1 January 2018.

Job application

Applications should comprise the following materials:

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a full CV, including official grade transcripts and a copy of the relevant diplomas;
  • two letters of reference;
  • a statement of how the candidate would envision investigating the issues laid out above (1,000 words max).

These should be sent electronically in one document, preferably as a pdf-file.

Applications must be sent to before 30 October 2017. Emailed applications should mention vacancy number 17-453 in the subject line and should contain the documents as an attachment (in one single pdf-file).

Interviews for this position will be held by mid-November.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam