Doctoral Fellow in Political Sciences
Ghent University Department of Political Sciences

Doctoral fellow in Political Sciences

Last application date:Jul 10, 2020 20:09

Department:PS03 - Department of Political Sciences

Employment category:Research staff group 1

Contract:Limited duration

Degree:Master in political science, Master in sociology, Master in public administration, or Master in any other field of human sciences with comparable qualifications.

Occupancy rate:100%

Vacancy Type:Research staff

Job description

The research group GASPAR is looking for a motivated and enthusiast researcher in order to conduct a PhD based on the 4-year research project ‘Through thick and thin. How do party members react to difficult party decisions and which factors moderate their reaction?’

Below, we give a short summary of the content of this project:

Policy-making has become increasingly difficult the last few decades, as policy-makers have become more reluctant to take difficult decisions paralyzed by phenomena such as ‘permanent campaigning’ and the threat of populist parties. But occasionally, all parties have to take such difficult decisions. This project investigates how party members react to difficult party decisions and which elements moderate their reactions, using an experimental design. Particular attention will be paid to the kind of decision-makers and the use of negative campaigning.

The reaction of people who do not obtain what they want in a democratic process (so-called ‘losers’) has attracted much research attention in recent years. We assume that in case of a party decision that is at odds with the party’s principles, all party members could be described as ‘losers’ in one way or another. But findings and theories on citizens cannot simply be transferred to party members. Party members are more committed than citizens, who often do not have clear-cut opinions on many issues and/or no interest in policy-making discussions. Consequently, party members are more likely to consider themselves as ‘losers’ and to react more radically. Moreover, the reaction of party members is highly relevant for parties because members can function as party ambassadors convincing others, but also for the democratic system as a whole as party membership decline constitutes a threat to the current system of party democracy. It is the goal of this research project to investigate whether difficult decisions are more accepted if they are taken by means of an inclusive procedure and when negative references to other parties are made.

Profile of the candidate

  • You hold a Master in political science, a Master in sociology, a Master in public administration, or a Master in any other field of human sciences with comparable qualifications.
  • You have a scientific and critical attitude
  • You are strongly motivated to conduct scientific research
  • You are prepared to write a PhD based on this project (including following a PhD Training)
  • You are able to elaborate and execute this research project autonomously
  • You are able to plan and follow-up the practical execution of this project
  • You are familiar with theories and research in political science
  • You are familiar with experimental research methods, or you are ready to deepen your knowledge on these methods
  • You are familiar with statistical analyses, or you are ready to deepen your knowledge on these methods
  • You obtained excellent study results
  • You possess good writing skills both in English and in Dutch, or you are ready to improve these language skills in the short term
  • You are a team-player, and you are prepared to take up some responsibilities in the GASPAR team
  • You are prepared to participate to international conferences and to publish in international outlets

How to apply

Send us by Friday 10 July 2020 at the latest your motivation letter, your CV and an overview of your study results, and an essay (in English) of 1 page where you critically reflect on aspects of the topic at stake here. All these documents are preferably merged into one PDF-file. This merged file should be sent to Prof. B. Wauters ( and Prof. A. Kern (

For more information about the content of the job and/or the project, you can contact also them.

Last-year students (graduating in June) are especially encouraged to apply.

Job interviews will be held in the last two weeks of August.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Socioloxy


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