PhD Position in Social Sciences
University of Amsterdam

PhD Position in Social Sciences

Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Educational level:  Master
Function type:  PhD position
Closing date:  22 April 2024
Vacancy number:  12583

Are you interested in exploring how digital technologies are reshaping cities? Are you well-versed in social science theory and qualitative research methods, specifically ethnography and interviews? Are you willing and capable of working with computational researchers in a mixed-method project?


The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam invites applications for a fully-funded four-year PhD position on digital urbanism. The position is part of the NWO-funded project “Curating the Digital City,” which is led by Professor Justus Uitermark and embedded in the Urban Geographies program group.


What are you going to do

The “Curating the Digital City” project examines how cities are reshaped through digital platforms, such as Google Places, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. Using Amsterdam as its research site, the project is interested in how rankings and representations on digital platforms change the way that places in the city are made.

The reactivity between the constitution of place and the making of digital hierarchies is central to the project. Through a combination of computational and interpretative methods, the project examines: (1) patterns of uneven visibility by mapping the representations of places across multiple digital platforms; and (2) the strategies of digital curators who represent and change places to improve their position online.


This PhD position focuses on this second aspect and examines how digital curators select, craft, and assemble images and text to represent places on digital platforms. Just as important, it studies how places are changed so that they can be better represented online. The PhD project uses three methods: media analysis, interviews, and participant observation. More detailed information on the project is available from Justus Uitermark.


Your tasks and responsibilities

- Collecting data within the framework of the "Curating the digital city" project

- Writing academic articles with other team members

- Taking courses to hone your academic skills

- Producing a PhD thesis on digital urbanism

- Engaging with practitioners and civil society organizations by means of collaboration and participant observation

- Contributing to the project, the program group, and the department


You have

- a Master’s degree or equivalent with a relevant specialization within the social sciences

- excellent qualitative research skills

- skills to converse and work across epistemological divides

- knowledge and research experience on cities and digital technologies

- excellent oral and written communication skills in English

- excellent oral and written communication skills in Dutch (needed for the fieldwork in Amsterdam)


Our offer


We offer a temporary employment contract of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of four years. The initial employment is for one year and the preferred starting date is September 1, 2024. Following a positive assessment, this term will be extended by a maximum of three years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. You will attend courses offered by the AISSR and the Graduate School of Social Sciences as part of the PhD program. In addition to doing research, publicizing your findings, and participating in academic events, you will be involved in teaching (roughly 10% of your time).


For this position the University Job Classification profile “Promovendus” applies. Your salary will be €2,770 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,539 in the final year, based on full-time employment of 38 hours per week and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.


About us


The Urban Geographies program group is part of the AISSR and the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (GPIO). The AISSR and GPIO stimulate researchers to develop research programs that push the boundaries of social science. They provide talented social scientists with an inspiring intellectual environment, foster theoretical and methodological pluralism, and promote a culture of interdisciplinary and international collaboration.


The AISSR is part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG), which plays a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands, and Amsterdam. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. We strive for a diverse staff and student composition, equal opportunities, and an environment where people feel safe to be different.


The UvA is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programs. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds. Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Job application


Have you become excited about this opportunity? Then we look forward to receiving your application by April 22, 2024. You may apply online by using the link below.


Applications in one bundled .pdf should include:

  • An application letter (no longer than 2 pages). This letter should explain why you aspire to participate in the “Curating the Digital City” project and how you intend to contribute to it. It should also outline you intend to develop your scholarly profile through the project.
  • Your Curriculum Vitae
  • At least one writing sample of no longer than 25 pages. If you want to include a longer text (such as a master’s thesis), please provide an excerpt.
  • The names of two referees. We will not contact the referees before the interview stage.

The committee will not provide individual feedback to applicants.


Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview. The first round of interviews is planned for May 13 and May 14.


The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.


These regulationscontain more information about the procedure for recruiting, selecting and redeploying staff and applicants at the University of Amsterdam.


No agencies please.


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