Marie Curie PhD positions at University of Aberdeen


The University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme, is delighted to offer 6 Early Stage Researcher (PhD) positions, lasting 3 years starting in September 2019, for ground-breaking research on how political concepts, such as nation, citizenship, civil society and rule of law, are used in the world.

ESRs will complete a PhD with an inter-disciplinary supervisory team and benefit from a world-class training programme, including placements with one or more of our 23 international partners.  They will also actively participate in the activities of the Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and the Rule of Law ( We welcome applicants from across the social sciences and humanities, including anthropology, cultural and literary studies, education, history, legal theory and socio-legal studies, philosophy, politics, religious studies, sociology, and theology.

ESRs will be employed by the University on a salary of £26,489 per annum, and will be eligible for a range of additional benefits including ample travel and research funding.

One of the topics that we invite applicants to consider is Traditions of citizenship within and beyond Europe. Citizenship has become a major topic of scholarship, not least because it has become a concern of political constituencies around the world. At least, the term ‘citizenship’ has been used widely, if not always in quite the same way as scholars use it. For example, the anthropologist Catherine Neveu criticises scholars for assuming there could be a universal definition of citizenship, noting that citoyenneté can be translated only loosely as citizenship and that even within Europe “there are as many conceptions of citizenship… as there are political histories and cultures” (2005). There is variation in the formal eligibility criteria for citizenship, for example between jus solis and jus sanguinis, and in the sets of legal rights that are reserved for citizens. Yet scholars have come to recognise that citizenship has other dimensions, which also vary from one tradition to another. Citizenship, originating in the Roman republican tradition of ‘civis activus’ linked to the notion of the ‘common good’, also bears obligations, including some that are formal—in some countries jury service and in others voting. Other obligations are informal. Civic education encourages pupils to go beyond what is legally required – for example, pupils are to be ‘global citizens’ in showing concern for issues such as climate change and poverty – and such informal obligations vary considerably. PhDs will select an aspect of citizenship and develop their understanding through one or more case studies in past or present, or alternatively through a pedagogical, philosophical or theological approach.

Other indicative topics listed in the Further Particulars are

  • “We the people” beyond the nation-state
  • The “nation” resurgent?
  • Rule of law and constitutionalism
  • Sovereignty and the state
  • Teaching political concepts in post-truth times
  • The ‘democracy Phoenix’ – are young people changing the meaning of democracy
  • Protest, populism and social movements
  • Digitalising ‘democracy’ – transforming the concept?
  • Civility and understanding the political
  • ‘Radicalisation’, ‘extremism’ and the role of ‘civil society’
  • Conceptualizing secularism, post-secularism and religion itself
  • The politics of ‘religious pluralism
  • Horizons of the ‘political’

These are indicative topics – applicants are free to propose their own projects on how political concepts are used in the world.

Candidates are required to meet the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher eligibility criteria. In particular, at the time of the appointment candidates must have had less than 4 years full-time equivalent research experience and must not have already obtained a PhD.

Additionally, they must not have resided in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the appointment.

Any appointment will be offered a contract of employment that will be conditional upon satisfactory references, a 12 month probation period, the fulfilment of any conditions specified in the offer of a place on a PhD programme, and confirmation of the right to work in the UK and ability to secure a valid visa, if required, from UK Visas and Immigration.

Deadline is 5th of March 2019. Further details are available here.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326

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