PhD Scholarship at University of Ghent

University of Ghent has an opening PhD position in political science. This position is available for two years. Applications are welcome before November 19, 2018.

We are seeking to fill four full-time, four-year, fully-funded PhD fellowships as part of the ERC-funded research project "Property and Democratic Citizenship" (ERC-CoG-2017 PaDC-771795). You will be based at the department of Conflict and Development Studies at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.

The research project is an ethnographic exploration of property relations within contemporary democratic contexts through an analysis of citizen (and non-citizen) experiences of eviction. Specifically, the project looks at how conflicts around specific properties bring together moral discourses, policy regulations and market mechanisms to create, transform and reinforce specific aspects of real landed property (used for housing) and what the consequences are of these "property regimes" on people's lived experiences of citizenship.

This is an ethnographic project based on participant-observation methods and as a PhD candidate you will be expected to spend at least one year of the four-year PhD trajectory working directly with people involved in conflicts over eviction/property.

I am looking for PhDs with knowledge of, and interest in, working in one of the following countries: Spain, Greece, the UK and the Netherlands.

Language skills required are fluency in English plus the language spoken in the context of choice.

This research explores the impact of property regimes on experiences of citizenship across five democratic countries: Greece, The Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Property rights are a foundational element of democracy, but the right to private property exists in tension with values of equality and a right to shelter. An investigation of property is urgent given the recent normalisation of economic models that have resulted in millions of evictions every year. Through an ethnographic study of eviction this research provides a comparative analysis of the benefits and limitations of contemporary property regimes for democratic citizenship.

A property regime is defined as the combination of moral discourses about real landed property with the regulatory policies and market mechanisms that shape the use, sale and purchase of property. The selected countries represent a diverse set of property regimes, but all five are experiencing a housing and eviction crisis that has exacerbated inequalities of race, gender, age and income, and led to social unrest.

This research critically examines the concept of property by examining conflicts resulting from the use, sale or purchase of specific properties to answer: how do property regimes shape people’s experience of citizenship and what can this tell us about the role of property in contemporary models of democratic governance? The goal of this research is to rethink the role of property within democratic societies based on extensive empirical data about how moral assumptions combine with particular ways of regulating and marketing property to exacerbate, alleviate or create inequalities within contemporary experiences of citizenship.

Applicants are invited to submit these documents (as a pdf file) via email to with the subject line "ERC PhD Application".

The deadline for submission is 19 November 2018.

A limited number of applicants will be invited for an interview in Ghent, most likely in the week of 3 December.

The starting date is 1 February 2019, or soon after.

For inquiries, please contact prof. dr. Marianne Maeckelbergh at the above-mentioned e-mail address.


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