Postdoctoral position, The Department of Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark

The Department of Communication, Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark, invites applications for a 3 year postdoctoral position for the project ''Value conflicts in a differentiated Europe: The impact of digital media on value Polarisation in Europe (ValCon)” (funded by Volskwagen Foundation) to be filled by 1 September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The position is for 36 months

Job content
ValCon is coordinated by Prof. Monika Eigmüller (Flensburg), Prof. Hans-Jörg Trenz (Copenhagen), and Prof. Juan Díez Medrano (UC3M). The project will examine the role of digital social & news media in creating political value polarization among citizens & in promoting the rise of populism in Europe. It includes a comparative survey in 6 countries & qualitative analysis of debates conducted through social media.

The overall aim of our proposed research is to explain the growing tendency in and across Europe to contest the core values that anchor the European project, and clarify how this new trend relates to digital media usage. At a broader level, ValCon addresses the challenges posed by a deep crisis of liberal democracy in Europe and the world. This crisis, we assume, is a manifestation of increasing conflicts over liberal values, which—we further argue—social media both drives and amplifies.

ValCon asks the core question: to what extent can value conflicts, as expressed in polarized opinions and extremist political views among the public, be attributed to patterns of social media communication? To answer this question, we analyse the dynamics of online value conflicts and how they affect the legitimacy of political order. Is the EU as a community of value drifting apart? And if so, how is this “drifting apart” related to the erosion of value consensus at national level?

In this context, our proposed project addresses two major challenges to European societies today: digital media’s rapidly increasing contribution to political polarisation, and the emergence of new social cleavages within and across European societies.

ValCon’s main hypothesis is that one key factor to explain these new observable social cleavages within European societies lies in a mediatized logic of value contestation. To investigate this mediatized logic of value contestation, ValCon designs an innovative research methodology that bridges the fields of media framing and reception studies.

This allows us to analyse how values contestation engages political actors, the media, and audiences in new ways. Beyond simply focusing on top-down mobilisation efforts by new populist parties and their impact on political preferences and attitudes, we further explore how broader audiences and the media engage in values contestation through a bottom-up dynamic of political mobilisation.

This mediatisation perspective helps us to understand how value conflicts are not only channelled through the media, but also constituted by the media.

Our team of renowned international researchers will use its multidisciplinary expertise to develop a sound theoretical framework on a broad empirical basis. Moving beyond a standard country comparison by asking for trans- and crossnational trends in value contestation, the study combines and synthesizes public opinion surveys and media content analysis for three core value conflicts (freedom of speech; independence of judiciary; gender equality) in six EU member states (Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Spain).

In this way, ValCon allows us to shed new light on the complex question of how value conflicts resonate across national public spheres and come to be diffused through the media transnationally, where they challenge political order and democratic legitimacy at the national, European, and global levels.

This will help us to draw implications for the future of democracy in Europe and its member states. The output generated by the project will enhance the ability of EU- and national government institutions to meet important challenges in political communication as well as of practitioners in media and education to critically assess the usage and influence of digital and social media.

Qualification requirements

In order to be considered for the position applicants must have research qualifications at least corresponding to what can be achieved as part of a successfully completed PhD within the field of media and communication studies, sociology or political sciences.

The following professional qualifications and personal competences are furthermore required:

  • demonstrate a thorough understanding, along with deeper theoretical knowledge of the core literature in public sphere theory and theory of democracy with a focus on Europe and processes of transnationalisation
  • have proven interests in comparative European culture and identities, value pluralism and diversity in Europe and the world,
  • demonstrate the capacity to deal with contemporary challenges to diversity, especially in relation to questions of populism and new nationalism
  • have advanced competences in qualitative and quantitative social sciences research methods
  • demonstrate a capacity to develop a postdoctoral project within the parameters of ‘ValCon’
  • demonstrate interest and willingness to work in an interdisciplinary context
  • show potential to deliver high quality peer-reviewed research publications
  • fluency in English, Danish or other Scandinavian languages required, optional: knowledge of another language (Polish, Italian, German, Spanish)

For further information about the position, please contact Professor Hans-Jörg Trenz (

For further details about the qualification requirements for postdoctoral positions, please refer to Circular no. 9427 of 13 June 2007 concerning the job structure for academic staff (only in Danish)

For further details about the qualification requirements for postdocs, please refer to the job structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2013:


Submit the application online in Adobe PDF or Word format.

Please click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page.

The application must be written in English and include the following enclosures:

  • Application letter/cover letter (max 1 page)
  • Curriculum vitae (with applicant’s e-mail & telephone number)
  • Documentation of qualifications (examination certificates/PhD diploma, etc.).
  • Complete and numbered list of publications. The enclosed publications must be marked with *.
  • Research plan, including a short description of previous research and a plan for the coming years that includes an account of how the applicant will contribute to the deliverables in the project description (3 pages)
  • Documentation of teaching qualifications and research dissemination, if any
  • Publications. Applicants may choose a maximum of three publications for assessment. Publication dates must be clearly marked on the publication list. The publications selected must be uploaded as attachments and listed from 1 to 3.

Should any material submitted consist of work with named co-authors, or work that is otherwise the result of collective academic endeavours, the extent of the applicant’s contribution to the work must be clearly stipulated. The Faculty may ask for a signed statement from the co-authors stipulating the extent and nature of each individual’s contribution.

Only material in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and English can be expected to be assessed.

Appointment procedure
After the application deadline, the Head of Department selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee.  All applicants are notified whether their application has been accepted for assessment. The Dean subsequently appoints an expert assessment committee tasked with carrying out an assessment of the selected applicants for the specific post. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee. Applicants are ultimately offered the opportunity of commenting on the part of the assessment relating to themselves before the appointment is finalized.

Applicants will be continuously informed about the progress of the procedure by e-mail.

Further information about the application procedure is available from Pernille Lykke Paulsen (HR), please refer to ID number 211-0403/20-2I.

Salary and conditions of employment

Terms of appointment and salary will be in accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The salary range starts at DKK 33,600 (EUR 4,507) per month + a 17,1 % contribution to the pension scheme. It is possible to negotiate salary supplements on an annual basis.

The Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) have further agreed on a protocol that makes it possible for international researchers employed by the University to achieve a pension exemption, whereby the pension contribution will be paid out as salary. For more information about the different pension schemes, please see

A special tax scheme is offered to researchers recruited abroad,

If you consider applying from abroad, you may find useful information on how it is to work in Denmark and at UCPH.

Read more here :,


UCPH wishes to encourage everyone interested in this post to apply, regardless of personal background.

The closing date for applications is 27 April 2020 at 23.59 CET,

Applications or supplementary material received thereafter will not be considered.


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Mette Mortensen


Ansøgningsfrist: 27-04-2020
Ansættelsesdato: 01-09-2020
Afdeling/Sted: Institut for Kommunikation

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