Research Fellow - Gurus, anti-gurus, and media in north India University of Edinburgh United Kingdom

Research Fellow - Gurus, anti-gurus, and media in north India

Vacancy Ref: : 045978

Closing Date : 10-Dec-2018

Contact Person : Jacob Copeman

Contact Number : 0131 650 6860

Contact Email :

You will conduct qualitative research on mediatised anti-superstition activism and related themes in Delhi and Mumbai on a Leverhulme Trust funded project that aims to document and interpret the mediatisation of anti-superstition activism in north India. You will have a PhD in anthropology or a related field such as media studies, sociology, religious studies, and expertise in qualitative research and media/discourse analysis. Travel to India to conduct the research will be required.


This full time (35 hours), fixed term post is available for 36 months from 10 March, 2019.
Salary: £33,199-£39,609 per annum.


Closing date: 5pm (GMT) 10th December 2018.


Job Purpose

You will conduct qualitative research on mediatised anti-superstition activism and related themes in Delhi and Mumbai.


The research aims to document and interpret the mediatisation of anti-superstition activism in north India. Research methods will consist primarily of in-depth discussions with activists, TV production teams, TV viewers and guru-devotees, with use of snowballing techniques and purposive selection within the sample population, and social media analysis.

This full time, fixed term post is available for 36 months from 10 March, 2019.


Main Responsibilities

  1. Design and conduct qualitative research in Mumbai and Delhi, including sourcing and interviewing activists and guru-devotees, and examining a variety of forms of media usage. Research will include use of snowballing techniques and purposive selection within the sample population, and social media analysis

  2. Create, update and maintain the project website (including producing and soliciting content for it from both within and beyond the project team), and lead in planning and organising an international workshop on the subject of the research in the third year of the project.

  3. Collaborate with the PI and other members of the team in analysis of data, and authoring of publications, single-authoring one and co-authoring two peer-reviewed 
    articles (with applicant and co-applicant), and deliver at least two talks at suitable interdisciplinary conferences (e.g. Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin; British Association for South Asian Studies Annual Meetings) during the course of the project.

  4. Conduct research design/literature review activities, including designing a survey and sourcing and conducting content analysis of extant anti-superstition media activism.

  5. Participate in bi-weekly reading group/update meetings with fellow project team members.


Key Contacts / Relationships

PI and other members of the project; research participants; academic colleagues in Social Anthropology; support staff in School Research Office.


Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job 
• Appropriate degree in a field relevant to the research area, with relevant postgraduate research experience. Normally a PhD in anthropology or a related field such as media studies or sociology, or equivalent professional qualification and experience. 
• Expertise in qualitative research and media/discourse analysis. 
• Ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing, and to publish high quality scholarly publications. Ability to assess resource requirements and organise and manage allocated resources 
• Ability to work effectively both independently and as a member of a team 
• Knowledge of social media infrastructures. 
• Knowledge of Indian religions 
• Ability and willingness to undertake travel to India to conduct research


• Ability to conduct research in India in Hindi.


Job Context
You will join a Leverhulme Trust funded project led by Drs Jacob Copeman (Social Anthropology) and Arkotong Longkumer (Religious Studies) at the University of Edinburgh. This research study examines social/visual media as a site of interaction between gurus and the anti-superstition movement in India. Using a range of religious studies, media studies and anthropological approaches, the project examines how these frequent antagonists employ media techniques to both extend their influence and counter one another, aiming to produce new insights which can enhance existing interpretations of the relationship between religion and media.


The post will be based at the University of Edinburgh, but part of the period of the fellowship will be spent in India in order to conduct research.


Application Procedure
To apply please send 1) a CV, including a list of your publications and names of three referees and 2) a cover letter (maximum 4 pages) outlining your prior research experience and qualifications, and the approach you would take to this research study.


Please contact Dr Jacob Copeman with any questions about the post:


All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

The closing date is 5pm (GMT) 10th December 2018.

Eligibility to Work
In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).
To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.


For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work webpage


If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:

  1. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website
  2. Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).


Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

For further information please visit our Pensions website.



The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,199 to £39,609 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.


Social Anthropology


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The research work of staff and students spans a broad range of theoretical approaches and the prevailing attitude, reflected in the subject’s lively and popular weekly seminars, is intellectually challenging and non-doctrinal. Its key areas of distinctive and innovative research include work on the following themes:

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Social Anthropology at Edinburgh was ranked 3rd among UK Anthropology Departments in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Social Anthropology staff have obtained external funding from the ESRC, DFID, Leverhulme, Nuffield Foundation, AHRC, Wellcome Trust, European Research Council and other bodies both for individual and collaborative research.

Social Anthropology’s PhD students are part of a unique research training consortium, with colleagues from Aberdeen, Glasgow and St Andrews - the STAR Programme (Scottish Training in Anthropological Research), which has been incorporated into the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, as hosted by SSPS at Edinburgh.

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The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is a large and diverse part of the University. Led by Vice-Principal Professor Dorothy Miell, it has 13,800 undergraduates, 5,500 taught postgraduates, 1,300 research students and more than 3,800 academic and professional services staff. The College incorporates 11 Schools (Business; Divinity; Economics; Edinburgh College of Art; Education; Health in Social Sciences; History, Classics and Archaeology; Law; Literatures, Languages and Cultures; Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences; and Social and Political Science), the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Centre for Open Learning. The College is located on multiple sites across Edinburgh, with the majority of Schools and College Offices based close to the central George Square area. The College, which is recognised as one of the world's leading centres for the arts, humanities and social sciences in research and teaching, has been growing and investing strongly in recent years.

Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014)

The College operates at the highest levels of international quality across a very wide range of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences and submitted the work of more than 750 staff to 23 Units of Assessment in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. The College achieved a superb result, combining a large-scale, broad and diverse submission with very high quality outcomes: 86% of its research impact and 76% of the overall quality profile were assessed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*). Using the widely used Research Power index (which combines the submission's overall score for 3* and 4* work with the volume of staff submitted), 12 of the College’s Units were ranked within the top five in the UK, and 18 were ranked first in Scotland. With an assessment of more than 95% at 3* and 4*, we're particularly proud of the outstanding research environment we create for staff and research students.


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For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 13,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

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