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Call for Applications: Four positions for doctoral researchers (Praedoc) in ERC-funded project “Protest and Order. Democratic theory, contentious politics, and the changing shape of western democracies” (POWDER), Department of Political and Social Sciences, Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science, Research project “POWDER”

Four positions for doctoral researchers (Praedoc)

  • 65% part-time job
  • limited to 4 years
  • Entgeltgruppe 13 TV-L FU
  • Reference code: POWDER-DRP-2017
  • Starting date: 1 April 2018

ERC-funded project on “Protest and Order. Democratic theory, contentious politics, and the changing shape of western democracies” (POWDER)

The research project aims to analyze the interrelationship between protest and political order under the contextual conditions of the changing shape of modern western democracy. Two groups of questions are connected to this study perspective, which will be answered by means of a democratic-theoretically-led synchronous comparison of four selected contemporary protest movements – (1) anonymous digital protest, (2) transnationally organized alter-globalization protest, (3) protest of undocumented migrants and (4) rightwing identitarian protest.

The aim is to clarify the extent to which the new forms of protest question the premises of democratic orders, what potential for further development lies within the new forms of protest on the one hand, and what are the challenges to democracy on the other. Furthermore, the project seeks to determine the influence and relevance held by the democratic order itself in an age of the changing shape of democracy with regard to the specific formation of the new forms of protest, and what statements can be made on how the formation of the order is changed, in turn, by the new forms of protest themselves.
Job description:

Mission and activities: The appointed doctoral researchers will work closely with the project’s Principal Investigator Christian Volk, Professor of Political Science with a special focus on Politics and Law, and three research assistants. Each doctoral researcher will be responsible for the study and analysis of one of the four respective protest movements.

Specifically, the doctoral researchers will be required to:

Conduct research in the externally funded POWDER project; within the framework of the research project, the oopportunity for a doctorate is given, including:

  • Collaborate in refining the project design and methodology and further developing the theoretical frame,
  • Conduct (empirical) research on one of the four protest movements (case studies),
  • Prepare and participate in joint publications;
  • Collaborate in the preparation of workshops;
  • Present the project and related research at conferences;
  • Meet project interim goals and strictly adhere to project timelines;
  • Carry out administrative and coordination duties associated with the project, including interim reporting to funders.

Completed degree of university education (Magister, Diploma or Master’s degree) in Social Sciences (preferably in Political Science or Sociology).

  • Excellent degree of university education;
  • Verifiable skills with respect to qualitative research methods (preferably experiences in ethnographic research and/or discourse analysis);
  • Knowledge of and experience in social movement research and deeper knowledge in one of the issue areas relevant to the project (digital protest, alter-globalization protest movements, protest of undocumented migrants or rightwing identitarian protest);
  • Strong interests in questions of democratic and political theory;
    Strong organizational skills and ability to work autonomously;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work in a team and accommodating of diverse views;
  • Very good command of English, both in writing and in speaking (further language skills are an asset, e.g. French, Arabic, Spanish);
  • Two letters of recommendation (German or English) should be sent by the referees to:

All applications quoting the reference code should be addressed no later than January 29, 2018 as an email to Prof. Dr. Christian Volk:

We look forward to receiving your electronic application via Email in one PDF file (maximum 5 MB), including your CV, letter of motivation, as well as a short research proposal in English (2500 words) for one of the four issue areas addressing the question of how to study and analyze the respective protest movements.

For more information, candidates are encouraged to consult the website of the research unit.

Click here for the PDF version of the call.


Date: 3 November 2015, 9.15 a.m – 6.30 p.m.
Venue: Franz-Mehring-Platz 1, Berlin-Friedrichshain

The workshop „Refugee Mobilizations“ goes back to a collaboration of the Institute for Protest- and Social Movement Studies, the Working Group Social Movements within the German Political Science Association, and the Research Area Social Movements, Technology, and Conflict at the Center for Technology and Society (TU Berlin).

We invite scientists and knowledge activists to a one-day workshop on the latest wave of refugee mobilizations throughout Europe. Scholars, activists, and activist scholars have systemativally gathered a great deal of knowledge about these mobilizations – in research projects, discussion groups, and publications.

We organize this workshop to connect people active in this field and to facilitate the discussion about:

  • the challenges and problems of collecting information on refugee mobilizations in a systematic way,
  • the role that scholars assume and the position they choose when they engage in research activities,
  • the visibility of refugee mobilizations both within the academy and in the wider public,
  • options for a sustained network of scholars and knowledge activists,
  • research methods suitable to address central questions related to refugee mobilizations.

We are very happy that Imogen Tyler of Lancaster University, co-editor of „Immigrant protest“ (2014) and „Protesting Citizenship“ (2014), will join us for the workshop. The proposed schedule is:

09.15-09.30 Welcome and introduction
09.30-10.30 Input by Imogen Tyler and discussion
10.30-10.45 Break
10.45-12.30 Presentation of research projects (à 5 minutes) and comments
12.30-02.00 Lunch break
02.00-04.15 World Café discussion: Challenges of research | role of scholars | visibility | networking | methods
16.15-16.45 Coffee break
16.45-18.30 Plenary discussion

Participation: If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact Simon Teune (teune(at)

Vom 21. bis 25. September findet der DVPW-Kongress „Vorsicht Sicherheit! Legitimationsprobleme der Ordnung von Freiheit“ an der Universität Duisburg-Essen statt (das Gesamtprogramm als pdf-Datei). Der Arbeitskreis soziale Bewegungen hat insgesamt vier Panels organisiert, die am Donnerstag (24.) und Freitag (25.) stattfinden werden. Hier ist das Programm im Einzelnen:

Universität Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstr. 65, Duisburg, Gebäude LB, Raum 104

24. September, 14-15.30 Uhr

Lokale Protestbewegungen und internationale Politik. Destabilisierung oder Demokratisierung?
Gemeinsames Panel der Arbeitskreise soziale Bewegungen und Soziologie der internationalen Beziehungen

Chairs: Dr. Matthias Ecker-Ehrhardt (FU Berlin) und Dr. Simon Teune (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung und TU Berlin), Discussant: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Nina-Kathrin Wienkoop (Leuphana-Universität Lüneburg): Impact of socioeconomic protests on democratization – A scale-centered comparative research agenda

Dr. Andrea Schapper (TU Darmstadt): Lokale Forderungen in internationalen Verhandlungen: Prozedurale Rechte in der Klimapolitik

Jun.-Prof. Carola Richter und Almut Woller (FU Berlin): „Terroristen“ und „Aufwiegler“? Internationale Dimensionen von Protest in Ägypten nach Mubarak

Dr. Nadine Godehardt (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik): Chinas Angst vor dem Ausnahmezustand: Wie lokale Protestbewegungen die Politik der chinesischen Führung beeinflussen

Alle folgenden: Universität Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstr. 65, Duisburg, Gebäude LA, Raum 034/Aula

24. September, 16-17.30 Uhr,

Zwischen Hetze und Hilfe. Politische Mobilisierung in der Flüchtlingspolitik

Chairs: Dr. Priska Daphi (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt) und Dr. Simon Teune (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung und TU Berlin)

Prof. Dr. Sieglinde Rosenberger (Universität Wien): Elitengesteuerte Proteste gegen die Aufnahme von Asylsuchenden

Maren Kirchhoff und Prof. Dr. Helen Schwenken (Universität Osnabrück): Wer protestiert in Deutschland gegen Abschiebungen?

Annika Vajen (FU Berlin): Normbrüche als Sicherheitsproblem. Auszüge des Diskurses von Berliner Tageszeitungen zum Protest-Camp am Kreuzberger Oranienplatz

Dr. Andrea Plöger (Berlin): Die Proteste der Refugees (tabled paper)

24. September, 17.40-18.45 Uhr
Mitgliederversammlung des Arbeitskreises soziale Bewegungen

25. September, 9-10.30 Uhr
Bitte verhalten Sie sich ruhig. Die Praxis der Kritik und die Politik der Sicherheit

Chairs: Ingmar Hagemann (Universität Duisburg-Essen), Dr. Matthias Lemke (Helmut-Schmidt-Universität Hamburg) und Henrik Schillinger (Universität Duisburg-Essen)

Stefan Artmann und Stefan Steiger (beide Universität Heidelberg): Die Snowden-Enthüllungen und ihre Folgen: Eine rollentheoretische Analyse.

Dr. Dr. Peter Ullrich (TU Berlin): Die neosoziale Regierung des Protests: Präventionismus, Aktivierung und das Ende der Kritik.

Sascha Röder (FU Berlin): Politiken der Prävention. Zum Verhältnis von Kritik und Sicherheit.

25. September, 11-12.30 Uhr
Protest und Polizei in der Überwachungsgesellschaft

Chairs: Dr. Dr. Peter Ullrich (TU Berlin) und Dr. Judith Vey (TU Berlin)

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Aden (Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin): Ermöglichen oder kontrollieren? Wechselwirkungen zwischen Versammlungsrecht und Protestpraxis.

Marco Krüger und Katrin Geske (beide Universität Tübingen): Neues aus dem „Überwachungslabor“ – Über Tracking-Verfahren bei polizeilichen Fußballeinsätzen.

Eric Makswitat (Universität Potsdam): Big Data als Risiko für den digitalen Ungehorsam.

Daniel Guagnin und Niklas Creemers (beide TU Berlin): Sammeln, Speichern, Analysieren in Polizeidatenbanken: Protest zwischen Aktivismus und „politisch motivierter Kriminalität“.

Titelbild: Performance von Pussy Riot auf dem Roten Platz (Foto: Pussy Riot Blog)

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