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Two assistant professor/postdoctoral researchers in political science on bystander reactions to online political hostility

The Department of Political Science at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, invites applications for two positions as assistant professor or postdoctoral researchers offering applicants an exciting opportunity to join the ERC Consolidator Grant project “Standing by: Pro-social Bystander Reactions to Online Political Hostility” (STANDBY). Depending on the field of candidates, each position may be offered as either a 4-year position as assistant professor or a 3-year position as postdoctoral researcher.

The starting date is 1 September, 2021 or subject to mutual agreement.

The research project
Online political hostility, such as online hate speech, constitutes a challenge to democracy through negative effects on political participation. The challenge is amplified by widespread apathy among witnesses. While research within political science has focused on the aggressors and explored how politically hostile behavior develops, much less attention is given to bystanders and the potential of pro-social bystander reactions to mitigate the negative impact of online political hostility.

This project advances a new research agenda, shifting focus from explaining the anti-social behavior of online political hostility to explaining pro-social bystander reactions and their consequences. Advancing the social-psychological study of bystanders, the project develops a new inter-disciplinary theory of pro-social bystander reactions, theorizing bystander decision-making in the context of online political hostility, and its short- and long-term consequences.

In addition to theoretical innovation, the project breaks new methodological ground by combining survey and behavioral experiments with a longitudinal design, and developing an innovative methodology for bystander research: The Immersive Bystander Video Environment.

The key empirical contributions of the project are to ground this new research agenda in real-time observations and first-hand experiences of bystander reactions to political hostility; to conduct a series of innovative survey and behavioral experiments, exploring the causes and consequences of pro-social bystander reactions; and to establish proof-of-concept as to which interventions can encourage pro-social bystander reactions.

The project is unique in its scientific ambition: it addresses the challenge to democracy from online political hostility by turning attention to the unexplored role of bystanders in mitigating its immediate negative impact, and in longer-term prevention by strengthening norms of civility in political interactions.

The project is led by Professor Lasse Lindekilde and funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant for the period 2021-2026. A short interview about the project can be found here.

Job description
The STANDBY-project consists of four empirical work packages involving computational analysis of social media data, conjoint experiments, original survey experiments, longitudinal surveys and behavioral experiments using a mock social media platform. Candidates are expected to have strong competencies in one – and preferably several – of these areas. Applicants should demonstrate expertise within research on social media communication, online political hostility/hate speech, political communication, bystander reactions and/or pro-social behavior. Successful applicants will be involved in developing novel conceptualizations and operationalizations of project key concepts of ‘cyber-bystanders’ and ‘pro-social bystander reactions’ to ‘online political hostility’, building on real-life social media data, and designing and implementing survey and behavioral experiments testing the causes and consequences of pro-social bystander reactions to online political hostility.

The successful applicants will be employed as part of a research group consisting of Professor Lasse Lindekilde (project leader/principal investigator), a total of four assistant professors/postdoctoral candidates and research assistants. Research will primarily be carried out collaboratively with other project members, but there will also to some extent be opportunities for pursuing independent work within the focus of the project. The project includes significant funding for research assistants, data collection, traveling and workshops. A position at the Department of Political Science, AU, as assistant professor implies significant teaching obligations whereas a position as postdoctoral researcher implies modest teaching obligations. Applicants are thus encouraged to describe their potential contributions to teaching obligations in the BA or MA programs of the department.

Your qualifications
Applicants are expected to hold – or be close to completing – a PhD in relevant areas within political science, communication, (social) psychology, sociology or cognitive science. In addition to an interest in conducting collaborative research within the focus area of the project, applicants must demonstrate knowledge of social media research, have experience with designing and implementing experiments, the ability to collect and conduct automated analyses of social media data, have an excellent command of spoken and written English, and preferably have experience with publishing in international, peer-reviewed journals.

Interested applicants should submit an application letter (2-3 pages) motivating why the applicant is interested in being part of STANDBY-project and how the applicant can contribute to the success of the project, outlining potential avenues for research relevant to the focus of the project. Selected candidates will be asked to come for an interview and present research ideas.

Who we are
The Department of Political Science is one of the six departments at Aarhus BSS, one of the five faculties at Aarhus University. Aarhus BSS unites the business and social science-related research fields and brings them closer together to reflect the close relationship between society and the business community. As part of a Top 100 university, Aarhus BSS – and specifically the Department of Political Science – has achieved the distinguished AASCB, AMBA and EQUIS accreditations.

At the Department of Political Science, we emphasise a dynamic and flexible research and teaching profile characterised by pluralism and openness. With around 90 academic staff members and 40 PhD students, we offer a lively and ambitious research and teaching environment.

The research carried out at the department not only covers a variety of political science disciplines, but also represents a variety of methodological approaches. This not only enables us to focus on new problem areas as they appear on the national and international political arenas, but also allows us to contribute actively to the development of the discipline. We also emphasise communicating our research results to the political-administrative system and to the public in general.

For more information about the Department of Political Science, please see here.

Further information
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Professor Lasse Lindekilde per email: lindekilde@ps.au.dk prior to submitting their application to learn more about the positions and the research project.

If you need help uploading your application or have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact HR supporter Anne Arnfeldt Källberg, Tel.: +45 8715 3631, email: aak@au.dk

Place of work
Department of Political Science, Bartholins Allé 7, DK - 8000 Aarhus C
International applicant?
Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here and here

Terms of employment
The appointment is made in accordance with the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities as well as the circular on the Collective Agreement for Academics Employed by the State (in Danish).
The job content and qualification requirements are described in further detail in the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

Application procedure
When you apply for this position it is mandatory to attach the following:

  • Application
  • Curriculum Vitae. You are encouraged to declare any periods of leave without research activity, including, for example, maternity leave, since your research activities are assessed in relation to your actual research time
  • Education (diploma for master's, PhD and possibly higher doctoral degree)
  • List of publications (the enclosed publications must be clearly marked on the list of publications)
  • Publications. Up to three publications may be submitted. In the event of several authors the publications must be accompanied by a co-author statement concerning the applicant's share of the collaborative work with the consent of the co-authors. Please use this template
  • Teaching portfolio. The specific requirements regarding the documentation can be found here

Materials that cannot be uploaded together with the application may be submitted in three copies to Aarhus BSS HR & PhD, Aarhus University, Tåsingegade 1, 2nd floor, DK-8000 Aarhus C.
Read more about how to apply for an academic position at Aarhus BSS here.

The evaluation process
After the application deadline, an assessment committee is appointed. Please note that the assessment of applicants is based solely on the material received prior to the application deadline. For further information, see Guidelines for Assessment Committee, Aarhus BSS.
All interested candidates are encouraged to apply regardless of personal background.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at www.international.au.dk/.

Deadline:
1. May 2021.

 


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