[Air-L] Univ. Amsterdam - Postdoc in Narratives of (Dis)Trust & Social Media

rogers at govcom.org rogers at govcom.org
Mon Jun 5 02:04:53 PDT 2023

Postdoctoral Position in Social Media Data Research
Faculty/Services:  Faculty of Humanities
Educational level:  PhD
Function type:  Academic Staff
Closing date:  15 June 2023
Vacancy number:  11627

What are you going to do?
The Media Studies department and School of Economics at the University 
of Amsterdam are looking for a jointly appointed postdoctoral researcher 
as part of the University Research Priority Area on Trust in the Digital 
Society (TRUST RPA), a five-year interdisciplinary research initiative 
concerned with trust production technologies and the disruption of 
existing trust relations. This position focuses on the latter, by 
tracing narratives of (dis)trust in social media datasets and by 
studying the underlying behaviors in human subjects.

Two recent socio-economic shocks have affected European societies: the 
Covid pandemic and the current war in Ukraine. Coming in rapid 
succession, they may have affected individuals’ sense of security and 
their optimism about the future. In that trust binds us to one another, 
it can counteract these insecurities, yet European society has undergone 
multiple crises of trust in public institutions and in financial, 
scientific, and medical expertise over the last decade(s). Accordingly, 
recently we have witnessed the growth and spread of narratives of 
(dis)trust, which pose a significant challenge to liberal democratic 
norms. In these crises, social media technologies have served to bind 
people together while also, paradoxically, functioning as a primary 
vector for spread of narratives of (dis)trust.

This project aims to understand the dynamics by which these narratives 
of (dis)trust are propagated through social media and to investigate the 
underlying drivers that might make individuals susceptible to them. 
Accomplishing this necessitates a mixed-methods approach that entails a 
collaboration between the humanities and the social sciences: 1.) the 
Digital Methods Initiative (DMI) and 2.) the Center for Research in 
Experimental Economics and political Decision Making (CREED). Through 
this collaboration the project aims to bridge the gaps between different 
methodological perspectives.

The first part of the project will use social media to study how these 
narratives develop over time, through dynamics of connection, 
convergence, and antagonism. The objective of this part of the project 
is to develop a comprehensive understanding of how folk theories 
attribute malign intentions to institutions and experts attached to 
these matters of concern, which may range from climate change to the war 
in Ukraine, to the public understanding of science and technology. 
Through digital methods (such as co-hashtag semantic network analysis), 
this stage of the project will produce digital narratologies that will 
serve as an empirical baseline for the subsequent lab-based, 
experimental research stage of the project which studies how trust is 
affected in vulnerable population demographics.

Collaborating with scholars in the Behavioral Economics and Psychology 
department the second stage of the project differentiates between 
interpersonal trust, measured using economic games and questionnaires, 
general trust and specific trust towards governmental institutions and 
news sources, measured via a combination of novel and well-established 
questionnaires. Finally, we will assess the economic and psychological 
determinants of trust at an individual level, including current and 
projected future income, family status, social network support, levels 
of anxiety, depression, and loneliness, as well as country-level 
determinants of trust, including perceived integrity of institutions and 
satisfaction with public institutions.

Broadly, this research will look at the dynamics and determinants of 
distrust and trust in times of crisis, yet applicants are invited to 
formulate their own specific research questions.

Your tasks and responsibilities:
- collect and analyze social media data on (dis)trust narratives using a 
combination of quantitative and qualitative methods including social 
network analysis and natural language processing.
- be open to working with multiple methods across disciplines between 
the humanities and the social sciences.
- work with interview- and questionnaire-based methods developed in 
collaboration with the Behavioral Economics and Psychology department
actively pursue external funding for research, notably funding from 
research councils, national as well as European;
- actively contribute to and develop national and international research 

What do you have to offer?
You are passionate about developing innovative strategies for combining 
quantitative and qualitative research around the issue of narratives of 
(dis)trust. You are interested in how political debate is shaped by 
contemporary digital platforms. In addition, you have a social and 
cooperative attitude, and you thrive in a team setting. You are curious 
and open-mined towards research traditions you are less familiar with.

Your experience and profile:
- a PhD degree in media studies, digital sociology, digital humanities, 
science and technology studies, or an equivalent discipline
- excellent research skills demonstrated by a track record of publishing 
in high-ranking journals (such as, for example, Big Data & Society) 
and/or with leading presses or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a 
- a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in 
collaborative research;
- enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
- excellent command of English

Candidates will be given extra consideration in the application process 
who have quantitative skills, including survey development, statistical 
analysis, and/or  familiarity with R, python or any other programming 
language, and/or big data collection and analysis skills, and/or 
  previous experience in the private or public sector. We strongly 
encourage members of minority socio-cultural groups to apply, including 
persons of color, feminist and/or intersectionalist scholars, and 
scholars from the Global South.

What can we offer you?
The Postdoc researcher will be appointed at the department of Media 
Studies of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam and 
will conduct the research in Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. The 
employment contract will be for one year. Contingent on a positive 
performance evaluation the contract will be extended with 1 year. The 
employment contract is for 30,4 hours a week. Preferred starting date is 
01 September 2023.[TvV1]

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant 
experience, ranges between € 3703 to € 5439. This sum does not include 
the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable 
tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The 
Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Besides the salary and a vibrant and challenging environment we offer 
you multiple fringe benefits:
- 232 holiday hours per year (based on fulltime) and extra holidays 
between Christmas and 1 January;
- 7 weeks birth leave (partner leave) with 100% salary;
Partly paid parental leave;
- A pension at ABP for which UvA pays two third part of the contribution;
- The possibility to follow courses to learn Dutch;
- Multiple courses to follow from our Teaching and Learning Centre;
- Multiple courses on topics such as leadership for academic staff;
- Multiple courses on topics such as time management, handling stress 
and an online learning platform with 100+ different courses;

What else do we offer
- the possibility to start up and grow a New Research priority Area at 
the UvA,
- close working relations with five faculties of the UvA; and with TU 
Delft, and Erasmus University, Rotterdam
- freedom to develop your own research agenda;
- welcoming, international, dynamic teams;
- an inspiring academic and professional environment in the heart of 
- excellent possibilities for further professional development and 

About us
The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, 
offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 
students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in 
a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with 
a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de 
field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the 
faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the 
capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary 
collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Part of UvA’s world #1 ranked Media Studies department, the Digital 
Methods Initiative (https://wiki.digitalmethods.net/ <https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwiki.digitalmethods.net%2F&data=05%7C01%7Cr.a.rogers%40uva.nl%7C0be6b0c70b0f4cc1200108db62b6221c%7Ca0f1cacd618c4403b94576fb3d6874e5%7C0%7C0%7C638212306647366136%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=yGJH%2Bz6DbkpHtKOdzo4uxvHNk1%2BGODROmsgM9QMK2zk%3D&reserved=0> 
offers a rich empirical research  environment that is internationally renowned for studying the effects 
and affordances of social media platforms. Located in the New Media 
& Digital Culture programme, the DMI research group has built some 70 tools that 
collect online data, map, visualize social issues, and group formations 
on the web and in social media. Working together with OIlab 
  (https://oilab.eu/ <https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Foilab.eu%2F&data=05%7C01%7Cr.a.rogers%40uva.nl%7C0be6b0c70b0f4cc1200108db62b6221c%7Ca0f1cacd618c4403b94576fb3d6874e5%7C0%7C0%7C638212306647366136%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=mjUbFS983EFffMKbD4cPZ0aGXJydkK6niNSFdBuZOAU%3D&reserved=0>  to study misinformation and 
darker corners of the web, DMI organizes three times yearly 
‘data sprints’ that convene international students and scholars to 
research the politics on and of social media platforms. DMI is part of 
multiple Horizon Europe projects studying these topics, including Vera 
AI and SoMe4Dem.

The Center for Research in Experimental Economics and political Decision 
Making (CREED) at the Amsterdam School of Economics 
(https://www.creedexperiment.nl/creed/ <https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.creedexperiment.nl%2Fcreed%2F&data=05%7C01%7Cr.a.rogers%40uva.nl%7C0be6b0c70b0f4cc1200108db62b6221c%7Ca0f1cacd618c4403b94576fb3d6874e5%7C0%7C0%7C638212306647366136%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=ctJbQ4KVeRBvM%2BimTh93eOKf%2FmeC3Je3JadLEhXrZPU%3D&reserved=0>) is a leading experimental 
economics research institute. CREED members published their research in 
the top academic journals, in and outside economics. CREED is further 
known for its friendly and cooperative atmosphere. More info: 
http://www.neuro-economics.net/ <https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.neuro-economics.net%2F&data=05%7C01%7Cr.a.rogers%40uva.nl%7C0be6b0c70b0f4cc1200108db62b6221c%7Ca0f1cacd618c4403b94576fb3d6874e5%7C0%7C0%7C638212306647523538%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=rzvZHxcaLTWnIDChTDeWcITff%2FeAikcsPhpujVVKqFA%3D&reserved=0> 

The Amsterdam School of Economics is among the top economics research 
institutes in Europe. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the School has 
a strong focus on producing outstanding research and world-class 
teaching, and is highly active in international academic networks. Its 
researchers actively participate in the teaching and research activities 
of the Tinbergen Institute, the graduate school of the ASE. The ASE is 
known for its ambitious and supportive culture with many opportunities 
for personal development in an attractive international work environment.

Want to know more about our organisation? Find more information about 
New Media and Digital Culture, Economics and Business, the Trust 
Research Priority Area and working at the University of Amsterdam in 

Any questions?
Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information?
Contact dr. Marc Tuters: M.D.Tuters at uva.nl <mailto:M.D.Tuters at uva.nl> 
For practical questions, contact dr. Eloe Kingma (asca-fgw at uva.nl <mailto:asca-fgw at uva.nl>)

Job application
Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to 
receiving your application by June 15th, 2023. You may apply online by 
using the link below.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one 
- a letter of motivation giving your reasons for applying, and detailing 
why you are an excellent candidate for the position (no more than 1,000 
- a full academic CV, including a list of publications and an indication 
of language proficiencies.
- an academic writing sample in English (e.g., published book, journal 
article, section of a PhD dissertation), totalling no more than 10,000 
- the names and contact details of two references who may be approached 
by the selection committee.
- if invited for an interview, a draft research plan (2 pages maximum) 
on the call's topic, including possible research questions, relevant 
literature, methods.

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