Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Political Representation and Diversity

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Political Science

Publication date
1 October 2018
Level of education
Salary indication
€3,545 to €4,852 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
Closing date
31 October 2018
26,6 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a 2.5-year postdoctoral research fellowship. The position is part of the research project ' Misrepresenting Diversity? How personal identities clash with ethnic pigeonholing in politics', led by dr Liza Mügge and funded by the Dutch National Science Organisation (NWO).

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.

Real-world representation has a strong collective dimension: individuals do not form opinions about failed or successful representation in isolation, but in conversation with others – neighbors, colleagues, family members, etc. The postdoc project investigates this collective dimension which includes, for example, the criminalization of ‘Arab men’ or the victimization of Muslim women for wearing headscarves or Burkini’s.

 Project description

The postdoctoral researcher will focus on minority citizens’ collective experience and expectations of representation in the Dutch, French and German parliaments. The aim is to reveal bottom-up experience of representation of ethnic minority groups and how this is mediated by their personal characteristics and identity. It asks: How do minority citizens collectively assess group representation? How do they define relevant groups in representational politics? The findings will show whether, and if so how, citizens believe that direct representation by politicians who are 'like them' matters.

It will use focus groups to study collective expectations that emerge out of participant discussions. Focus groups will be held in capital city neighborhoods with a high concentration of minority citizens. The project will establish how citizens delimit politically relevant groups and identities. How much does it matter to have an MP who 'looks like them'? And why (not)? How do they evaluate sitting MPs? What would representation ideally look like according to them?


  • Conducting research within the framework of the above-described project;
  • publishing, together with the project leader, the results of the research in high-quality academic outlets;
  • contributing to the organisational aspects of the project and to knowledge valorisation activities;
  • contributing to and initiating bids for further external research funding;
  • coordination of research meetings with PhD and MA students in the ‘Misrepresenting Diversity?’ team, helping them with theoretical and practical guidance where necessary;
  • regularly present intermediate research results at international workshops and conferences, and publish them in proceedings and journals.


  • A completed doctoral thesis in political science or another field in the social sciences with clear relevance to the research project;
  • some experience with qualitative methods and, potentially, with focus group interviews and ability to work in a methodologically plural team;
  • an ongoing programme of research and publications, focused on international peer-reviewed journals and/or books published by internationally recognised academic presses;
  • evidence of affinity with the study of political representation and/or politics of diversity.

What can we offer you ?

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and sufficient scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organisation. We cherish enquiring minds and persevering spirits, and allow you space to dig deeper with your questions. Diverse, unique, dynamic, internationally oriented and ambitious: these are all characteristics which typify UvA staff. Strongly committed to the city of Amsterdam and the international society of which it is part, the UvA stands for independence, creativity, innovation, an international perspective and a critical yet open mindset.

Further information

Additional information about the may be obtained from:

Would you like to learn more about working at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)? Visit our website.


The position concerns a temporary appointment from 1 January 2019, for 26.6 hours/0.7fte per week  and for a term of 30 months/2.5 year.

Salary depends on past education and relevant work experience, with a minimum salary of €3,545 to €4,852 gross, based on a full-time appointment for a 38-hour working week (in keeping with scale 11, as per the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary employee benefits, including a generous holiday scheme and year-end bonus. Because we value your continued personal development and professionalisation, we also offer excellent opportunities for study and development. 

 Job application

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is an active participant in a diverse, international community. Our goal is for you to feel at home here, regardless of your background, race, orientation and/or beliefs.

Applications should comprise a letter of motivation, a full CV including a list of publications and contact details of three referees, and 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. Please do not send us additional documentation at this stage. The deadline for applications is 31 October 2018. Please send your application to with vacancy number 15-587 as subject.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.

Interviews will be held in the last week of November.

Dr Liza Mügge (chair);
Dr Evelyn Ersanilli and
Sanne van Oosten, MA


No agencies please

Published by  University of Amsterdam