ViCe, the interdisciplinary PhD programme Visual Culture at the University of Graz, encourages ethnographic study of social movements with a focus on, but not restricted to cities in south-eastern Europe. A team of three or four PhD students will be supported in applying for a joint DOCteam grant at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).
With this call, we are looking for researchers who are exploring this field, prepared to work in an interdisciplinary team and wish to direct attention to visual aspects of protest.

If you are interested, please send a short outline of your PhD project (1-2 pages), CV and covering letter until April 30th, 2014 to marion.hamm(at) The joint grant application to ÖAW will be finalised in August and September, deadline for submission at ÖAW is October 31st, 2014. If accepted, the grant would start in April 2015 and run for 3 years.

For formal requirements of ÖAW, please refer to their website, section DOCteam. Thematic requirements are outlined below. If you have any questions on the PhD programme Visual Culture, on supervision or subject area, please do not hesitate to contact me at marion.hamm(at)

Project outline: Performativity and Visibility. Visual Forms of Protest in urban social movements in Southeastern Europe

Visual forms of expression are firmly established in modern protest movements’ action repertoire. Red flag, human chain or colourful tent city; poster, banner, digital image or public performance: Such are the visuals used by social movements across time and space, such as the historical labour movement, the new social movements or the present post-identitarian movements. Nevertheless, investigation of the visual dimension of protest and its practices is still at an early stage.

By establishing a DOCteam, the PhD programme Visual Culture seeks to address this desideratum. In interdisciplinary collaboration, the envisaged DOCteam will draw, amongst others, on cultural anthropology, political science, history, southeastern European studies, religious studies and intercultural theology as well as social movement studies. Supported by the expertise available in ViCe, the DOCteam will put these approaches into interaction to develop analyses of protest with a focus on the explanatory power and potency of visual aspects.

Depending on individual PhD projects, the research period stretches roughly from the 1980s up to the present. As research fields, cities in Greece (e.g. Athens, Thessaloniki) and on the territory of former Yugoslavia (e.g. Belgrade, Pristina) are stipulated. Comparative studies of cities in neighbouring regions (e.g. Vienna, Prague) will also be considered. By focusing on south eastern European cities, ViCe aims to contribute to a decentralisation of social movement studies, which to date is still heavily transatlantic in its orientation.

All individual PhD projects will take a qualitative approach to the chosen city/cities, using ethnographic methods to approach their field (field research, participant observation, qualitative interviews) and hermeneutic methods of interpretation. They may also draw on archival sources. A working knowledge of the respective regional languages is indispensable for this approach.

The proposed interpretative and contextualising studies of visual protest repertoires in urban space will tackle research questions concerning adoption and functions of visual forms of protest. They will explore how they take effect in activist methods of mobilisation, in the affective construction of political subjectivities, in interaction with urban space and in the cross-regional circulation of conflict.

DOCteam Profile and Supervision

The individual PhD theses in this DOCteam will be supervised by Johanna Rolshoven (professor of cultural anthropology), Karl Kaser (professor of south-eastern European history/anthropology), Basilius J. Groen (professor of liturgical studies) und Florian Bieber (professor of political science/history/south-eastern European studies), all at the University of Graz.

PhD candidates will be able to draw on the expertise gathered in the PhD programme ViCe first for their grant application and later for their research process. An established space of interdisciplinary debate, ViCe incorporates influences from feminism, gender- and media studies, structuralism and post-structuralism, objective hermeneutics, critical theory and post-operaism. Contacts with relevant institutions abroad are also available.

In correspondence to ViCe’s receptiveness for a wide range of theoretical approaches, the academic profile of the future members of the DOCteam is considerably open. Besides excellent academic qualifications, a disposition to engage in interdisciplinary reflections on the visual dimension of protest throughout the research process, experience with ethnographic, interactive and dialogic research methods, and a working knowledge of the relevant languages are essential.

According to the formal requirements for a DOCteam grant at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, applicants must be younger than 30 years at submission date, or they must have completed their MA course later than Jan 1st, 2010. They also must be prepared to spend six months at an institution outside Austria. The PhDs will be situated at the University of Graz. The grant amounts to an annual 35000 Euro per person for 36 months.

We are looking forward to receiving your PhD outlines, CVs and covering letters until April 30th, 2014.

Johanna Rolshoven, Karl Kaser, Florian Bieber, Basilius Groen, Marion Hamm

Prof. Johanna Rolshoven (ViCe spokesperson)
Prof. Karl Kaser (ViCe deputy spokesperson)
Prof. Florian Bieber (ViCe member)
Prof. Basilius Groen (ViCe member)
Dr. des. Marion Hamm (ViCe coordinator)