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The Department of Law, Technology, Markets and Society (LTMS) – home of TILT and TILEC – has a vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher (1.0 fte, 2 years). We are looking for someone with a background in (legal-)psychology or a related discipline to contribute to a legal-philosophical project regarding privacy in the data driven age.
The selected candidate will contribute to the research program ‘From Regulating Human Behavior to Regulating Data’. This project is part of the Digital Legal Studies track within the sector plan for Dutch Law Schools funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. This position fits within the project 'Privacy after the GDPR: Exploring the interaction of Privacy, Trust and Identity in the Data Driven Age' and concerns two of its sub-projects.
The first sub-project regards the relationship between privacy and identity. The traditional approach to privacy is that it revolves around the right or capacity of a person to block information-communication to others, for example by blocking access to one’s home, communication or body. This projects tries to understand to what extent privacy could also be conceived as revolving around blocking information communication to oneself. For example, a photo may revive an aspect of a person’s past (an experimental gothic phase; an anorexic period); a tech company may infer a person’s early pregnancy even before she does and inform her through pregnancy-related advertisements; etc. I may not want you to know that I had an anorexic period when I reached puberty, but I may equally not want to be confronted with such information myself, because I want to forget about that painful period and move on with my life. Being confronted with unwanted information about yourself challenges in a fundamental way a person’s capacity to form and maintain an identity, understood as involving building a personal narrative. Traditional coping strategies include rationalisation or suppression of unwanted information, but is this still possible in a world which is increasingly data-driven?
The second project looks into the way in which networked devices – e.g. smartphone apps and/or smart home applications such as voice assistants– mediate trust relations. Using these devices, we are not just making life more fun and convenient, we are also deliberately and inadvertently sharing a lot of personal data. While research indicates that people are highly concerned about their privacy, this is not reflected in their everyday actions. The starting point of this research is that end-users base trust in technologies often on their perceived functionalities and ease of use, while the values that are at stake – e.g. the value of privacy and/or freedom of choice– are hidden behind the interface. This research wants to combine philosophical/conceptual and empirical methodologies in order to understand the first-person, phenomenological experience of end-users and how this experience effects trust building. In particular this research project is interested in how both the design of the interface (micro-perception) as well as the end-users’ personal, historical, and/or cultural background (macro-perception) influence trust building.
If you are interested, we ask you to send us your CV, a motivation letter and a short research statement (maximum 2 pages) in which you describe what type of research you envisage for these two projects (your time should be more or less equally distributed between the two). What research methodology would you use, which literature is relevant, which specific aspects would you focus on, what are the results you envisage?
Fixed-term contract: 2 years.
The appointment will be for a fixed period of two years. Depending on the candidates’ experience and qualifications, the starting gross salary will vary between € 3,637 and € 4,978 per month (full time) based on scale 11 of the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO) Dutch Universities. Tilburg University is rated among the top of Dutch employers, offering very good fringe benefits, such as the possibility to determine your benefits individually through a labor choice model and reimbursement of moving expenses. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary.
Serving and enhancing society to help citizens. That is what drives us. It was the opinion of Tilburg University’s founding father, Martinus Cobbenhagen, that those who want to understand society should be actively and consciously involved in it.
This philosophy is still at the basis of what our university wants to contribute. Under the motto of ‘Understanding society’, its 2,000 employees develop knowledge, transfer it to others, and bring people from various disciplines and organizations together. In this way, we want to contribute to solving complex social issues. Our focus areas are economics, business and entrepreneurship, social and behavioral sciences, law and public administration, the humanities and digital sciences, and theology.
Tilburg University values a culture of openness and inclusion. We unite people from many nationalities and backgrounds and embrace the diverse range of perspectives this brings about. We strongly focus on (gender) diversity and offer equal opportunities for all.
Additional information about Tilburg University, Tilburg Law School and LTMS – home of TILT and TILEC can be found on https://www.tilburguniversity.edu/.
Tilburg Law School
Tilburg Law School (TLS) is a modern and specialized university. With a broad variety of international programmes and innovating research, the Tilburg Law School stands for high quality. Research at the Tilburg Law School is conducted in an organisation that fosters diversity. The Tilburg Graduate Law School is responsible for the training and guidance of its Research Master students and of the Faculty’s PhD researchers. With its open and inspiring atmosphere, this school is a congenial working environment.
LTMS – Department of Law, Technology, Markets, and Society
The Department LTMS is the result of a merger between the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) and the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC). With some 65 staff members, it is one of the leading European research institutes in the field of regulation and governance of economic activity (in a broad sense) in an age where information technology is the key driver behind innovation in many domains. LTMS is truly internationally oriented (with some 25 nationalities represented in its staff) and truly multi/interdisciplinary with legal scholars, STS and philosophy and researchers with other disciplinary backgrounds. LTMS research and education are highly ranked both nationally and internationally.
Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg