Postdoctoral Position in Social Media Data Research

Postdoctoral Position in Social Media Data Research

Published Deadline Location
17 May 15 Jun Amsterdam

Job description

Amsterdam School For Cultural Analysis currently has a vacant Postdoc researcher position as part of the University Research Priority Area on Trust in the Digital Society (TRUST RPA), led by main researchers Marc Tuters and Jan B. Engelmann. ASCA is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research.

What are you going to do?
The Media Studies department and School of Economics at the University of Amsterdam are looking for a jointly appointed postdoctoral researcher as part of the University Research Priority Area on Trust in the Digital Society (TRUST RPA), a five-year interdisciplinary research initiative concerned with trust production technologies and the disruption of existing trust relations. This position focuses on the latter, by tracing narratives of (dis)trust in social media datasets and by studying the underlying behaviors in human subjects.

Two recent socio-economic shocks have affected European societies: the Covid pandemic and the current war in Ukraine. Coming in rapid succession, they may have affected individuals' sense of security and their optimism about the future. In that trust binds us to one another, it can counteract these insecurities, yet European society has undergone multiple crises of trust in public institutions and in financial, scientific, and medical expertise over the last decade(s). Accordingly, recently we have witnessed the growth and spread of narratives of (dis)trust, which pose a significant challenge to liberal democratic norms. In these crises, social media technologies have served to bind people together while also, paradoxically, functioning as a primary vector for spread of narratives of (dis)trust.

This project aims to understand the dynamics by which these narratives of (dis)trust are propagated through social media and to investigate the underlying drivers that might make individuals susceptible to them. Accomplishing this necessitates a mixed-methods approach that entails a collaboration between the humanities and the social sciences: 1.) the Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) and 2.) the Center for Research in Experimental Economics and political Decision Making (CREED). Through this collaboration the project aims to bridge the gaps between different methodological perspectives.

The first part of the project will use social media to study how these narratives develop over time, through dynamics of connection, convergence, and antagonism. The objective of this part of the project is to develop a comprehensive understanding of how folk theories attribute malign intentions to institutions and experts attached to these matters of concern, which may range from climate change to the war in Ukraine, to the public understanding of science and technology. Through digital methods (such as co-hashtag semantic network analysis), this stage of the project will produce digital narratologies that will serve as an empirical baseline for the subsequent lab-based, experimental research stage of the project which studies how trust is affected in vulnerable population demographics.

Collaborating with scholars in the Behavioral Economics and Psychology department the second stage of the project differentiates between interpersonal trust, measured using economic games and questionnaires, general trust and specific trust towards governmental institutions and news sources, measured via a combination of novel and well-established questionnaires. Finally, we will assess the economic and psychological determinants of trust at an individual level, including current and projected future income, family status, social network support, levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness, as well as country-level determinants of trust, including perceived integrity of institutions and satisfaction with public institutions.

Broadly, this research will look at the dynamics and determinants of distrust and trust in times of crisis, yet applicants are invited to formulate their own specific research questions.

Your tasks and responsibilities:
  • collect and analyze social media data on (dis)trust narratives using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods including social network analysis and natural language processing.
  • be open to working with multiple methods across disciplines between the humanities and the social sciences.
  • work with interview- and questionnaire-based methods developed in collaboration with the Behavioral Economics and Psychology department
  • actively pursue external funding for research, notably funding from research councils, national as well as European;
  • actively contribute to and develop national and international research networks

Specifications

University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Requirements

You are passionate about developing innovative strategies for combining quantitative and qualitative research around the issue of narratives of (dis)trust. You are interested in how political debate is shaped by contemporary digital platforms. In addition, you have a social and cooperative attitude, and you thrive in a team setting. You are curious and open-mined towards research traditions you are less familiar with.

Your experience and profile:
  • a PhD degree in media studies, digital sociology, digital humanities, science and technology studies, or an equivalent discipline
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals (such as, for example, Big Data & Society) and/or with leading presses or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record;
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • excellent command of English
Candidates will be given extra consideration in the application process who have quantitative skills, including survey development, statistical analysis, and/or familiarity with R, python or any other programming language, and/or big data collection and analysis skills, and/or previous experience in the private or public sector. We strongly encourage members of minority socio-cultural groups to apply, including persons of color, feminist and/or intersectionalist scholars, and scholars from the Global South.

Conditions of employment

The Postdoc researcher will be appointed at the department of Media Studies of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam and will conduct the research in Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. The employment contract will be for one year. Contingent on a positive performance evaluation the contract will be extended with 1 year. The employment contract is for 30,4 hours a week. Preferred starting date is 01 September 2023.[TvV1]

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges between € 3703 to € 5439. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the '30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment we offer you multiple fringe benefits:
  • 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays between Christmas and 1 January;
  • 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
  • Partly paid parental leave;
  • A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
  • The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
  • Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
  • Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;
What else do we offer
  • the possibility to start up and grow a New Research priority Area at the UvA,
  • close working relations with five faculties of the UvA; and with TU Delft, and Erasmus University, Rotterdam
  • freedom to develop your own research agenda;
  • welcoming, international, dynamic teams;
  • an inspiring academic and professional environment in the heart of Amsterdam;
  • excellent possibilities for further professional development and education.

Employer

Faculty of Humanities

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Part of UvA's world #1 ranked Media Studies department, the Digital Methods Initiative (https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/) offers a rich empirical research environment that is internationally renowned for studying the effects and affordances of social media platforms. Located in the New Media Digital Culture, the DMI research group has built some 70 tools that collect online data, map, visualize social issues, and group formations on the web and in social media. Working together with OIlab (https://oilab.eu/) to study misinformation and darker corners of the web, DMI organizes three times yearly 'datasprints' that convene international students and scholars to research the politics on and of social media platforms. DMI is part of multiple Horizon Europe projects studying these topics, including Vera AI and SoMe4Dem.

The Center for Research in Experimental Economics and political Decision Making (CREED) at the Amsterdam School of Economics (https://www.creedexperiment.nl/creed/) is a leading experimental economics research institute. CREED members published their research in the top academic journals, in and outside economics. CREED is further known for its friendly and cooperative atmosphere. More info: http://www.neuro-economics.net/

The Amsterdam School of Economics is among the top economics research institutes in Europe. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the School has a strong focus on producing outstanding research and world-class teaching, and is highly active in international academic networks. Its researchers actively participate in the teaching and research activities of the Tinbergen Institute, the graduate school of the ASE. The ASE is known for its ambitious and supportive culture with many opportunities for personal development in an attractive international work environment.

Want to know more about our organisation? Find more information about New Media and Digital Culture, Economics and Business, the Trust Research Priority Area and working at the University of Amsterdam in general.

Additional information

Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information?

Specifications

  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 30.4 hours per week
  • max. €3703 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 11627

Employer

University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Learn more about this employer

Location

Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012CX, Amsterdam

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Application procedure

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by June 15th, 2023. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf):
  • a letter of motivation giving your reasons for applying, and detailing why you are an excellent candidate for the position (no more than 1,000 words).;
  • A full academic CV, including a list of publications and an indication of language proficiencies.
  • An academic writing sample in English (e.g., published book, journal article, section of a PhD dissertation), totalling no more than 10,000 words.
  • The names and contact details of two references who may be approached by the selection committee.
  • If invited for an interview, a draft research plan (2 pages maximum) on the call's topic, including possible research questions, relevant literature, methods.
We will invite potential candidates for interviews within four weeks after the closing date. Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by June 15th, 2023. You may apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf):
  • a letter of motivation giving your reasons for applying, and detailing why you are an excellent candidate for the position (no more than 1,000 words).;
  • A full academic CV, including a list of publications and an indication of language proficiencies.
  • An academic writing sample in English (e.g., published book, journal article, section of a PhD dissertation), totalling no more than 10,000 words.
  • The names and contact details of two references who may be approached by the selection committee.
  • If invited for an interview, a draft research plan (2 pages maximum) on the call's topic, including possible research questions, relevant literature, methods.
We will invite potential candidates for interviews within four weeks after the closing date. Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Jun 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).