[Air-L] Vacancies: scientific collaborators at Ghent University (Belgium) for a research project on extremism and social media

cbouko catherine.bouko at ugent.be
Wed Jul 17 06:15:27 PDT 2019

The Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication is looking
for two scientific collaborators for the project PRECOBIAS, funded by the
Civil Society Empowerment programme of the European Union.

*Duration of the contract: between 3 and 6 months*, starting in October or
November 2019


PRECOBIAS is a user-centred counter-narrative campaign project that centres
around the mental processes and cognitive biases at stake when youngsters,
especially the ones either vulnerable to radicalisation or already
radicalized, are faced with extremist/terrorist discourses on social media.
The project aims to counter radicalisation in the long term by enhancing
digital resilience and critical thinking of the target audience. PRECOBIAS
helps them get to know themselves better by revealing the mental processes
and cognitive biases that underlie their interpretations and analyses.
PRECOBIAS aims to bring about behaviour change, dissuading target
youngsters from promoting extremist content online.

To reach these objectives, PRECOBIAS targets:

- vulnerable and radicalized youngsters directly through a social media
campaign, comprising a test to increase selfawareness, videos and an
Instagram contest;

- the social workers and teachers who are in charge of the target
youngsters by providing them a MOOC about cognitive biases and
radicalisation, together with 2 specific toolkits with ready-to-use

- civil-society organizations across the EU with an international one-day
training programme that will afford them to train professionals involved
with counter extremism at local level, to increase PRECOBIAS impact.

The PRECOBIAS campaign will be based on tangible evidence about cognitive
biases, radicalisation and social media and is the result of preliminary
multidisciplinary scientific research, together with grass-roots
professional experiences of civil society organizations, teachers and
social workers alike. PRECOBIAS will be performed in 8 EU languages,
including the 6 most common mother tongues (EN, DE, ES, FR, IT, PL) as well
as 2 minor EU languages (SK, HU).


Ghent University is leading the research activities that focus on the
analysis of extremist posts on Facebook and Twitter (related to far-right,
far-left movements and jihadism). The scientific collaborator and another
researcher will perform a multimodal and multilingual content analysis of
the corpus to identify potential discursive strategies used in such
extremist/terrorist narratives in order to reinforce specific cognitive
biases (e.g., authority bias, declinism bias, bandwagon effect and hostile
media effect).

To do so, they will first make a review of the literature about: 1) the
(multimodal) discursive strategies and markers of far-right, far-left and
jihadist extremism on social media; 2) cognitive biases in (social) media
communication. Then, they will prepare and perform a manual content
analysis of the corpora, based on the literature review.



   - PhD or Master’s degree in media communication, law, social sciences or
   a related discipline
   - Scientific expertise in extremism in (social) media communication
   - Understanding of content analysis research methods
   - Excellent communication skills in English – both oral and written.
   Commands of other languages is an asset.
   - Living in Belgium or ready to stay in Belgium during the research

Candidates are invited to apply by submitting two types of documents by
e-mail to Prof. Catherine Bouko (catherine.bouko at ugent.be) by *10 August
2019*, 23:59 (CET):

1) A single pdf-document with :

- a letter of application

- a CV including the contact details of one person we may contact for a

- a copy of the required Master’s degree or PhD degree

2) a personal piece of (scientific) writing in the form of a student paper
or publication (e.g., Master thesis or scientific article) in English,
demonstrating the applicant’s academic skills.

On the basis of these documents, candidates will be selected for an
interview (if necessary, interviews can be held via Skype if the applicants
live abroad).

Catherine Bouko

Ghent University
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
Groot-Brittanniëlaan 45
9000 Gent
Bureau: B2.06

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