3 year Postdoc in Vidi Project “Unravelling pornographic stereotypes”

3 year Postdoc in Vidi Project “Unravelling pornographic stereotypes”

Published Deadline Location
2 Nov 25 Nov Rotterdam

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Job description

Do you want to be at the forefront of cutting edge social science research using machine learning and large-scale survey experiments? And have you always wanted to study what drives people’s most intimate wishes and desires? This Postdoc will allow you to combine these interests in an innovative project on why people enjoy stereotypes in pornography.

Job description
Pornography has a history of relying on stereotypes to deliver its viewers sexual pleasure. On the Internet this type of entertainment attracts hundreds of millions of people around the world each day. The NWO Vidi project “Unravelling Pornographic Stereotypes” (PORN-TYPES), led by Dr. Samira van Bohemen, develops an interdisciplinary multi-methods approach for understanding why so many people with diverse social backgrounds enjoy watching stereotypes in online porn.

To analyze this, qualitative methods are combined with cutting edge statistical techniques, including the latest in machine learning: web scraping, Structural Topic Modeling and a unique survey video vignette study of implicit attitudes.

As a Postdoc on this project, you will work closely together with the PI and a Software Engineer from the Netherlands eScience center to conduct the first two subprojects, which respectively address:

#1 What are popular stereotypes in today’s online pornographic landscape, using Structural Topic Modeling on data on millions of videos from popular streaming platforms like Pornhub and XVideos.
#2 Which people, with what social backgrounds, take pleasure in watching these stereotypes, using a survey experiment with video vignettes. These video vignettes will be animated clips of pornographic stereotypes informed by the results from subproject 1.

These projects form important input for the final two subprojects, which will be part of a PhD trajectory. The PhD candidate (to be hired at a later stage) focusing on subprojects 3 and 4 respectively studies:

#3 How young people look at these stereotypes, using in-depth interviews and co-creation methods.
#4 How we can effectively prevent detrimental effects of these stereotypes for young people’s sexual development, by doing a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) around a new porn literacy program.

As a Postdoc, you will be embedded in the interdisciplinary research setting of the Erasmus Love Lab (ELL), as well as the Erasmus Institute on Culture and Stratification (EICS), which is part of the larger Governance and Pluralism team.

In collaboration with the PI and Software Engineer, you will be responsible for:
  • Elaborating the study design, conducting the data collection and the analyses in subprojects 1 and 2;
  • Writing scientific papers for leading international scientific journals;
  • Disseminating insights to non-academic audiences;
  • Participating in scientific meetings, (inter)national conferences, and departmental seminars;
  • Participating in the department’s educational programs (about 0.3 FTE).


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)


  • A PhD degree (to be completed before January 1, 2024) in Sociology, Clinical Sexology, Child and Education Studies, Communication Science, or a related field;
  • A strong background in quantitative research methods, preferably with experience with Structural Topic Modeling and survey experiments;
  • Excellent writing skills as expressed in the publication of several scientific research papers in international journals;
  • A curious mindset, with an eagerness to learn new skills and theoretical perspectives;
  • A creative, open personality with excellent analytical, communication and organizational skills;
  • Ability to work well in a team, as well as autonomously;
  • Strong commitment to methodological rigor, research integrity and ethics;
  • Excellent spoken and written command of English; being able to speak and write in Dutch is desirable but not essential.

Conditions of employment

We offer you an internationally oriented and varied job in an enthusiastic team, with excellent working conditions in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU).

The start date of this position is 08-JAN-2024 and you will be based at Campus Woudestein in Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB). This position is for 1 fte. The salary is dependent on your experience and knowledge and ranges from a minimum of € 4.332 to a maximum of € 5.929 gross per month (scale 11) on a fulltime basis (38 hours), in accordance with the CAO-NU. The contract is entered into for the duration of one year and will be extended with two years in case of a positive assessment.

Everything else we offer you, you can find below!


Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) is an internationally oriented university with a strong social orientation in its education and research, as expressed in our mission ‘Creating positive societal impact’. EUR is home to 3.700 academics and professionals and almost 33.000 students from more than 140 countries. Everything we do, we do under the credo The Erasmian Way – Making Minds Matter. We’re global citizens, connecting, entrepreneurial, open-minded, and socially involved. These Erasmian Values function as our internal compass and create EUR’s distinctive and recognizable profile. From these values, with a broad perspective and with an eye for diversity, different backgrounds and opinions, our employees work closely together to solve societal challenges from the dynamic and cosmopolitan city of Rotterdam. Thanks to the high quality and positive societal impact of our research and education, EUR can compete with the top European universities. www.eur.nl.

Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)
The Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences is home to a vast diversity of scientific disciplines: public administration, pedagogical sciences, psychology and sociology. In addition, the Erasmus University College, IHS, and two research institutes RISBO and DRIFT are linked to the faculty. This also reflects in the content of the (international) bachelor's and master's programs and in research. Our activities are always focused on people and society. At the ESSB fundamental, internationally oriented research is of paramount importance. In addition, social research for professionals, policy makers, and the society is part of our research activities. ESSB offers a stimulating research environment where major national and international research grants are received. Appealing guest researchers and ambitious PhD candidates come along to conduct their research. Our education is small-scale and works with innovative forms of education such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Both the Dutch and English programs are highly ranked by students and alumni. ESSB is home to over 4000 students and more than 400 staff-members. The different disciplines are supported by the Faculty Office (for more information, please visit www.eur.nl/essb).


Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

DPAS covers the disciplines of Public Administration and Sociology. Two related scientific fields with different profiles. Public Administration studies governance capacity and policy interventions. It focuses on the institutional power to organize and intervene in the relations between different social, political and economic actors. Public Administration in Rotterdam goes well beyond the public realm itself and pays attention to public-private cooperation and networks of organizations. Sociology investigates the social structure of societies and the way it evolves. Sociologists in Rotterdam focus among other things on processes of globalization and individualization and on the effects of these processes on international social relations, the labor market or family relations. Related social problems that are studied are migration, flexibilization and solidarity. The perspectives of Public Administration and Sociology complement each other. Together they guarantee a highly relevant and scientific approach to topical administrative and social issues. The bachelor- and masterprogrammes of DPAS are build on this profile and educate students to become scientifically schooled professionals.

Team Governance & Pluralism (G&P)
The faculty ESSB and DPAS have a team-based structure. DPAS works with four teams, of which Governance and Pluralism (G&P) is one. The team has about 45 members now. The team members assess complex, (inter)national and multilevel governance problems regarding a wide variety of societal challenges (shorthand: governance) and address social divisions and conflicts pitting various social strata, lifestyles and identities (shorthand: pluralism). While their proceedings are already highly valued by (inter)national peers, civil society, policy makers, and governments, these could be taken a step further by – in addition to fruitfully continuing their current research foci – jointly assessing how governance and pluralism interact.


  • Postdoc
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €4332—€5929 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3842


Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

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