Vacancy: PhD Candidate Migrants’ Country Ownership Perceptions (Utrecht University)

PhD Candidate Migrants’ Country Ownership Perceptions

FACULTY: Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
DEPARTMENT: Social Sciences
HOURS PER WEEK: 36 to 40

The department of Interdisciplinary Social Science  has a job opening for a PhD candidate interested in country ownership perceptions of immigrant-origin minorities in the Netherlands and USA.

Your job

Statements as ‘this country is also ours’ are increasingly used by immigrant-origin minorities to claim ownership of a country. The belief that the country is ‘also ours’ appeals to the notion that, therefore, ‘we’, in this case immigrant-origin minorities, are entitled to claim certain rights but also required to assume responsibilities. This perceived ownership could have a dual nature, contributing to outcomes that undermine harmonious intergroup relations, such as exclusionary attitudes toward newcomers and far-right voting, while also fostering cohesion-enhancing results like civic engagement and a heightened sense of collective responsibility. Hence, immigrant-origin minorities’ perceptions of country ownership can have both a dark and a bright side. While previous research on ownership perceptions has primarily focused on ethnic majority populations, the current project takes a novel approach by examining the perspectives of immigrant-origin minorities.

This project introduces perceived country ownership as a novel and potentially relevant explanation of immigrant-origin minorities’ civic participation and negative intergroup attitudes, with the expectation that ownership matters over and above the existing explanations of civic participation and intergroup attitudes. Multiple immigrant-origin minorities will be considered as well as migration generations in the context of the Netherlands, which is a relatively recent immigration country, and in the USA, a country that was built on immigration. Such a comparative design offers insights into the extent to which the processes are similar across groups and in two different national contexts.

A multifaceted methodology will be employed, including cross-sectional and longitudinal survey data, and survey-embedded experiments. We have secured access to high-quality, nation-wide datasets to examine how country ownership is perceived, whether these perceptions are conducive to higher civic involvement (the bright side) as well as stronger anti-immigration sentiments and far-right voting (the dark side), and what role perceived rights and perceived responsibilities play in these processes among immigrant-origin minorities. There are also funds available to conduct several additional experimental studies.

As a PhD candidate, your work involves conducting research resulting in international scientific publications, and presenting at international conferences. You will also participate in methodological training and gain experience with teaching at Bachelor’s and Master’s level. The successful candidate will be based at the department of Interdisciplinary Social Science, with co-supervision from the department of Sociology, and will become member of the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER). ERCOMER has a strong track record in research on interethnic relations with a particular focus on international migration, group identities, and cultural diversity. In addition, the candidate will be embedded in the Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS) Graduate School.

Your qualities

We are looking for you, if you have:

  • a (Research) Master’s degree in (social) psychology, sociology, interdisciplinary social sciences, political science, or a related field;
  • enthusiasm for academic research and theoretical expertise on intergroup relations;
  • proficiency and proven experience with quantitative methods;
  • familiarity with vignette experiments and/or longitudinal data is preferred;
  • a professional attitude and conduct that includes organisational sensitivity, integrity, pragmatism, and good project management and cooperation skills;
  • independent thinking and hands-on mentality;
  • good communication skills in English (written and oral).

Our offer

We offer:

  • a position for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period.
  • a working week of 38 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU));
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

About us

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Almost 7,000 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 1,100 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues. The faculty is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical city centre of Utrecht.

More information

For more information about this position including a project proposal and a project plan, please contact Meta van der Linden by email

Please note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. Our International Service Desk (ISD) can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff. Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. In case of general questions about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal.

Candidates for this vacancy will be recruited by Utrecht University.

Apply now

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation (1 page), grade transcripts, and your thesis (also if it’s still a work in progress) via the ‘apply’ button.

The first round of interviews will take place in on 23 April 2024. Our preferred start date is 1 September 2024.

The application deadline is 15 April 2024.

Apply here.