Vacancy: Postdoc position ‘Governing Trust in a Changing Media Landscape’

Postdoc position ‘Governing Trust in a Changing Media Landscape’ (0.8 – 1.0 FTE)

Job description

We are currently looking for a Postdoc to collaborate with the Utrecht University delegation in the Horizon2020 project: Policy, Expertise, and Trust in Action (PEriTiA), coordinated by Maria Baghramian (University College Dublin).  This large multi-disciplinary EU-funded project aims to enhance a clear understanding of the conditions of trust in (and the trustworthiness of) expert opinion that plays an increasingly central role in policy decisions. The specific actions proposed will feed into various initiatives to restore and improve trust in governance and enhance the quality of democracy. The project will also contribute to improving trust in science and to constructing trust-enhancing narratives for policy makers relevant both to national governments and EU governance.

Work package 4 of this larger project aims to develop a better understanding of the conditions of trust and trustworthiness in the context of digital platforms and social media networks, with a specific focus on trust in experts. This work package studies mechanisms of detecting trust and trustworthiness in the context of online communication and digital platforms. It will also investigate the role of social media in enhancing and spreading emotional content in the course of transmitting seemingly factual information (fake news, disinformation, fake science narratives). Online communication via social media creates problems in detecting and signaling trustworthiness. The digital channels for spreading knowledge often give users little basis as to who says what in which context and based on what authority or expertise. Information can sometimes be traced to recognizable organizations, but often users have to find and assess the reliability of a source. Defining a source’s validation, independence, and accuracy may prove difficult if it has all the outer features of a ‘trustworthy’ scientific source. Even users and producers of content with best intentions may have difficulty assessing trustworthiness of online content.

The Postdoc will be stationed at the University Utrecht, as part of the focus area “Governing the Digital Society”, chaired by Professor José van Dijck; He/she will collaborate with colleagues from across Europe and join the larger project team of this Horizon 2020 project at various occasions.

Expected deliverables:
• two or three (co-)authored articles in academic journals or book contributions;
• helping to prepare and organize an academic conference on this topic in Berlin (in collaboration with ALLEA—All European Academies in Berlin);
• input and qualitative research contribution to related subprojects in the context of the H2020 project. In particular:  helping develop a survey to be sent out in Phase 2 (empirical phase) of the project; providing narratives regarding social media and trust to be tested by WP9; contributing to the construction of a Trustworthiness Toolkit, WP11.

Specifications
Requirements
We are looking for a colleague who has:
● a completed PhD in media studies, cultural studies, visual studies, communication sciences, history, philosophy, information sciences or other relevant discipline, or a scheduled defense date;
● excellent track record in digital humanities research;
● excellent academic writing and presentation skills;
● excellent knowledge of English, both written and spoken;
● proven passive knowledge of Dutch (ability to read and understand written Dutch);
● proven track record in digital methods, digital tools, digital archives and blended learning;
● a resultdriven and hands-on mentality;
● the ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team;
● the ability and willingness to collaborate across the academic disciplines of media and communication studies, history, philosophy, and information sciences;
● a problem-solving attitude and ability to deal with complexities and uncertainty;
● excellent organizational, social and communication skills, preferably at an international level.
Conditions of employment
We offer a temporary position for 18 or 15 months, depending on FTE, starting 1 February 2020 or soon after. Tenured faculty who are seeking a part-time replacement are also invited to apply. The gross salary ranges between €2,709 and  €4,138 gross per month for a full-time employment (scale 10/11 of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). In addition, we offer attractive and flexible secondary terms of employment such as an annual holiday pay of 8%, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year and partially paid parental leave. We also provide an attractive working environment and a vibrant research climate. More information is available at our website: working at Utrecht University.
Employer

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The Faculty of Humanities has around 6,000 students and 900 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the Faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city center of Utrecht, where the Faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

The Department of Media and Culture Studies provides education on and carries out research in the fields of film, television, games, new media and digital culture, theatre, dance and performance, gender and ethnicity, music and cultural policies. Culture is a dynamic mix of artistic, creative and everyday practices with which people shape their identities and actions, and within which societal structures and institutions take shape. Media (old and new) are crucial factors in these processes. The scholars in media and culture studies from the various research groups often work together to explore issues surrounding different facets of the role played by art, culture, and media in present-day society. The research focuses on a broad range of media and cultural and artistic performances, which are studied within their intermedial context. We pay particular attention to the relation between historical and contemporary developments, transmedial and intermedial phenomena, cultural diversity, emancipation, heritage and the digital humanities.

Additional information

If you are  interested, you can contact the project Supervisor Prof. dr.  J.F.T.M. (José) van Dijck (j.f.t.m.vandijck@uu.nl) for more information.