PhD position on Identity Constructions among Polish and ‘Local’ Youth in Limburg through Language Practices

PhD Candidate, “Identity constructions among Polish and ‘local’ youth in Limburg through language practices”, Department of Literature and Arts, affiliated to the Graduate School Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Specifications – (explanation)

Location Maastricht University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Grote Gracht 90-92, 6211 SZ Maastricht
Function types PhD positions
Scientific fields Behaviour and Society
Hours 38.0 hours per week
Salary € 2125 – € 2717
Education University Graduate
Job number AT2015.128
About employer Maastricht University (UM)
Short link

Deadline for applications: 15 September 2015

Job description

Maastricht University has recently founded a new Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross Border Cooperation and Mobility (ITEM). ITEM is an initiative developed by the interfaculty Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE), in cooperation with the province of Limburg and the municipality of Maastricht as part of the “Limburg Knowledge/Axis” cooperation. Within the scope of MACIMIDE researchers of various UM faculties collaborate closely in the research fields of migration and development issues, citizenship, nationality and integration, international family relationships, European and international immigration law and right of asylum, work mobility, social security, tax law and pensions. The goal of ITEM is to increase cross-border mobility and to analyse the functioning of a regional labour market in the Maas-Rhine Euregion. ITEM aims to achieve these goals by means of research, consultancy, education, training and expert meetings.

In the more globalized world, languages and cultures are continuously changing due to mobility and, hence, intercultural connections. Upcoming migration from Eastern European countries to rural areas in Northwestern Europe has a profound effect, but the local communities are not always equipped to deal with this new phenomenon. Cultural, social and linguistic gaps have an impact on how both locals and newcomers construct their identities. Therefore, this PhD-project focusses on a small village in the northern part of Limburg i.e. Horst aan de Maas that has one of the highest rates of Polish migrants in Limburg (approximately 3,000 out of 41,750). The main research question is to find out how Polish and local youth use their languages and cultures in everyday interaction to construct local and social identifications in various contexts and which explicit ideologies are expressed about who really belongs in the place and who does not belong and who wants to stay or to leave and how these ideologies affect speaker’s choices on the ground, i.e. their social practices in situated context with respect to language and culture. The study of Polish immigrants in this small rural village will add a new dimension to ongoing research and will become an added value to the further intercultural dialog with this group.

The proposed PhD project will mainly observe daily linguistic practices in the village, using classic ethnographic method with audio- and self-recordings, social network analysis and unstructured interviews. In addition, quantitative data will be analysed, exploring indicators of social cohesion and mobility to compare Horst aan de Maas with other municipalities in Limburg and The Netherlands. The PhD project involves scientific collaboration with Statistics Netherlands.


  • A sociolinguist, linguistic/cultural anthropologist or linguist with an MSc degree and with affinity for doing qualitative fieldwork with a strong interest in bilingualism and multilingualism.
  • The successful candidate speaks Dutch and Polish and has a desire to know more about the local language spoken in the north of Limburg.
  • Affinity with the application of quantitative methods and techniques is an asset.

 Conditions of employment

  • We offer a dynamic and challenging job in an internationally-oriented organisation where young people receive an advanced education and scholars conduct exciting research.
  • We offer a 4 year full-time appointment as PhD student.
  • The first year will be a probation period, after a positive assessment the position will be extended with another 3 years.
  • Your workload will be the normal workload for the position of PhD students. Currently this implies 80% research activities en 20% teaching activities.
  • You will be employed by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Compensation will be according to standard salary levels for PhD students starting with a salary of € 2.125,- with a yearly growth to € 2.717,- gross a month (based on a full-time appointment.)
  • Each year the standard salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%.
  • You have to be willing to move to (the vicinity of) Maastricht. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you will be eligible for an allowance for moving costs. If you do not already live in Maastricht (or its direct surroundings) you might be eligible for an allowance for alternative housing.
  • Other secondary conditions include e.g. a pension scheme and partially paid parental leave.
  • You will be provided with shared office space and a PC. \Contract type: Temporary, 4 years


Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 16,000 students and 4,000 employees. Reflecting the university’s strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) has a staff of about 250, and over 1,800 students. All programmes are offered in English. Students come from all over the world. FASoS offers two 3-year Bachelor programmes: Arts and Culture, and European Studies, eight different 1-year Master programmes and two 2-year research Master programmes. Its Graduate School takes in around 10 PhD students each year. Research is organised around four programmes: Politics and Culture in Europe; Maastricht University Science, Technology and Society Studies; Arts, Media and Culture; and Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is housed in several recently renovated 18th-century buildings in the historic city centre of Maastricht.

Graduate School
Our Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences offers the opportunity to pursue a PhD in the interdisciplinary field of arts and social sciences. You receive a coherent program of introductory courses, intensive supervision and frequent discussion with the senior researchers inside and outside the Faculty. The Programme can be characterized by its international and interdisciplinary nature and the emphasis on cultural and societal issues of the modern world.

The School focuses on four themes:
1. Politics and Culture in Europe.
2. Science, Technology and Society Studies.
3. Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development.
4. Arts, Media and Culture.

Further information on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and its Graduate School may be accessed on:

Additional information

Starting date: preferably 1 December 2015 (or as soon as possible thereafter).

For more information and application:

Any inquiries about the position or the project may be addressed to:
Prof. Leonie Cornips,
Prof. Hans Schmeets,

For more information about the Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross Border Cooperation and Mobility, see: more information about the Maastricht Center for Citizenship, Migration and Development, see: https://macimide.maastrichtuniversity.nlMaastricht University’s Terms of Employment are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local university provisions apply as well. For more information please see the website: / employees / A-Z.