Vacancy: Post-Doc Position – Université libre de Bruxelles

One post-doctoral position, 12 months, Project “Governing values,
governing through values, governed by values? The European Union as a
risk polity”, Cevipol-IEE, Université libre de Bruxelles (2018-2019)

This is a call for applications for one full-time post-doctoral position
(12 months) on an interdisciplinary project on European politics and
values based at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Brussels,
Belgium). The researchers will join a team under the supervision of a
scientific committee (Ramona Coman, François Foret [spokesperson],
François Heinderyckx). Prospective candidates are hereby invited to
submit their application as described below. The deadline for submitting
applications is the 25th of June, 2018 but earlier applications are
strongly encouraged. Successful candidates are expected to start working
in Brussels on the 1rst of September, 2018.

Outline of the project: “Governing values, governing through values,
governed by values? The European Union as a risk polity” (ValEUR)

Values at the core of European integration have been widely discussed in
recent years due to several major evolutions in EU governance. The
enlargements and the constitution-making process were structures of
opportunities for claims to define common values susceptible to hold
European countries and citizens together and to justify public action.
Nevertheless, resistances showed that interpretations of these common
values may differ.
References to values may have three incentives. Firstly, it may be a
call to identity, memory and communicative resources in a quest for
legitimization (governing through values). Secondly, it may come from
the necessity to deal with ethical issues calling for normative policy
choices (governing values). Thirdly, values may cause legal and
political conflicts and challenge established balances of powers and
regulation (governed by values). The EU has encountered the three
scenarios. In each configuration, “European values” are invoked with
different meanings and purposes. The hypothesis is that common patterns
can still be found, turning the EU into a “risk polity”, a political
system where values become a usual part of European politics either as
an answer to or a factor creating uncertainties.
The project aims at a better understanding of the reasons and modalities
of the emergence of “European values” on the EU agenda; of the way they
create unity or division, circulate and frame different models of
political community for Europe.
Three distinct Work Packages will take on three empirical case studies:
morality politics/policies and European values; interactions between
“rule of law” and regulation of/by values; debates on European values in
the public sphere.

WP1: European values in morality politics Morality issues have
multiplied on the European agenda. This category includes all policy
questions related to the fundamental conception of human being, from
conception, birth, sexuality, gender identity, legal and economic status
of the human body, to death. Sometimes also, the category is extended
to include identity and memory issues reformulated in normative terms.
Different narratives are competing to define what are the “European
values” likely to frame ethical choices in all these fields. The purpose
is to trace the production and trajectories of these narratives. It is
also to assess whether this reference to “European values” in the
political, policy and public spheres create patterns of union or
dissensus, and what are the effects on the European polity.

WP2: Interactions between “rule of law” and regulation of/by values Over
the last decades the EU has put the rule of law at the center of its
internal and external policies. The aim is to examine when, how and why
supranational institutions use the rule of law to legitimize the raison
d’être of the EU and its internal and external policies, and how it
interacts with values. Applications are especially encouraged on topics
which unveil how the “EU governs the rule if law”, “through the rule of
law” and “by the rule of law”. Sociological approaches dealing with the
adaptation and resistances to international norms and policies as well
as projects on the circulation of values are welcome.

WP3: European Values and the Public Sphere The European institutions are
actively trying to promote, enhance and support a number of Europe-wide
public spheres, or spheres that at least transcend national boundaries
and, as such, defuse any build-up of nationalistic tension by
identifying and enhancing shared values. An investigation into the
external communication of European institutions will focus on explicit
and implicit references to European values, with particular attention to
policy areas with high levels of uncertainty and/or associated with
divisive issues. Given the apparent failure to create any significant
European public sphere, alternative scenarios will be explored,
including one of increased interconnectedness among the resilient
national public spheres as a way to enhance the experience of European

Workload linked to the post-doctoral mandate will include various
contributions to the project, among others: state of the art of the
debate; management of the collective research; contribution to fieldwork
through interviews, document analysis, etc.; writing and publishing. A
priority will be given to a personal investment on WP1 “European values
in morality politics” and/or WP3 “European Values and the Public

The post-doc will have to fulfil the requirements but will also have
opportunities for self-development in order to prepare subsequent steps
in a scientific career. Teaching may be part of the duties. Management
and communication tasks are also included.

Candidates should demonstrate their ability to evolve in a
multi-cultural environment; their expertise and/or interest for European
politics; their proficiency to work in French and English. Each
candidate should explain clearly his/her interest for the project and
how and why he/she can contribute to the development of the collective
reflection. Experience and achievements in academic research and
education in areas relevant to the project will be taken into
consideration at the time of selection.

Working environment and conditions

This multidisciplinary project will take place within three research
teams: the Centre d’Étude de la vie politique (Cevipol), the main
political science research unit of the ULB; the Institute for European
Studies (IEE), one of the oldest Jean Monnet Centres of Excellence in
Europe; the Research Centre in Information and Communication (ReSIC), a
large gathering of competencies in media sociology, journalism studies,
textual analysis and other fields.
Our activities are also inscribed a dynamic international network of
collaboration with other universities in Europe, US and Asia. Travels
and short research stays may be included in the activities.
The successful candidate will have an office and relevant administrative
support at the ULB. Living in Brussels for the period of the mission is
required. The working contract will be managed by the university
according to Belgian standards.

Profile of the post-doc researcher:

– Ph.D. in political science or a directly related field (international
relations, sociology…) with a focus on identity and cultural aspects of
European integration, ethical matters, religion and politics
– Proved expertise in European studies at doctoral level
– Strong record in qualitative research and fieldwork (interviews,
observation, documentary analysis…). Quantitative skills are an extra
– Experience with working in an international environment
– Very good command of English and preferably French
– Ability to work in a team, to meet deadlines and to combine autonomy
with respect of guidelines

Legal conditions and status of the post-doctoral position

– According to the regulation of the grant, the postdoctoral researcher
must have obtained his/her PhD no more than eight years ago
– S/he must be in “international mobility”, meaning that s/he should not
have lived or worked in Belgium for more than 24 months in the last
three years.
– The contract will be established for 12 months
– According to the experience of the candidate, the monthly net income
will start from 2200 euros.

How to apply

The candidates will be selected on the basis of the quality of their CV,
research achievements, motivation and congruence with the project.

The following application documents are to be consolidated into one
single PDF file sent by email to: François Foret (

– a one-page motivation letter explaining the candidate’s general
interest for the project
– A short project (5000 characters, spaces included) explaining the
possible scientific contribution of the candidate to the collective
research, on which working package, with some bibliographical references
– a curriculum vitae listing all academic qualifications, relevant
research experience and previous publications
– name, affiliation, e-mail and phone number of three referees who can
be contacted if necessary
– a copy of the passport/ID, PhD and/or master diploma

Applications are open until the 25th of June, 2018. A phone or
face-to-face interview may be organized. The final decision will be
taken at the beginning of July at the latest.
The hiring and the required presence in Brussels will be effective on
the 1rst of September, 2018.

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