Are you interested in doing ethnographic research around issues of mobility, corporatization and commodification of (transnational) care in Central and Eastern Europe? Is it your ambition to become a top-tier researcher?

The Department of Anthropology is one of the departments at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. The Department is currently seeking 2 PhD candidates for the ERC Starting Grant project ‘ReloCare: Relocating Care within Europe’ led by Dr Kristine Krause. The PhD track is part of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) programme group Health Care and the Body.

Project description

ReloCare studies the entanglement of uneven European welfare states by investigating transnational commercial care infrastructures and their impact on places, care systems and people’s lives. It starts from the outsourcing of vulnerable (mainly elderly) populations to places where care is more affordable by focusing on care homes in Central Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic/Slovakia, and Hungary) that recruit patients from Austria and Germany, and offer care at roughly one-third of the cost of similar institutions in the home countries. Most of these care homes are located in regions characterized by a long German and Habsburg-Hungarian history, adding historical complexity to the story. Some serve only German-speaking patients, others serve local, wealthier elderly people as well. Some are run by former migrant care workers, others by international companies, bringing labour migration and real estate investment into the picture.

The overall research questions of the project are: What do care relocation and commercialisation do to the people and places involved? What kinds of subjectivities and relations are forged through care commercialisation and care relocation in these European care landscapes? What futures are envisioned and attempted in the entanglement of different welfare states and private and public infrastructures? The project will answer these questions by following all the different actors involved (families, elderly, entrepreneurs, care workers, middlemen, insurances, state representatives).

As one of the 2 PhD candidates you will do research for one of the case studies but will develop your own focus within the wider framework of the overall project. You will conduct up to 12 months of fieldwork.

Once appointed you will be affiliated with the AISSR’s organized PhD training. Your doctoral thesis will be defended at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

What will you be doing?

  • You will be a PhD candidate in the project ‘Relocating Care within Europe’. You will be part of a research team consisting of two PhD candidates, one Postdoctoral researcher and the Principal Investigator.
  • Your main task will be to develop your own PhD project within the framework of the overall project (for the project description please contact the Principal Investigator).
  • Next to working on your own PhD project, you will contribute to collaborative aspects of the project. This will include collecting data for jointly written publication(s), and lending respective (language) expertise to team members.
  • You are expected to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in one or more of the following countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Germany, Austria. Since the project has a strong transnational component, you might be required to do research in more than one country.
  • For those parts of the employment period in which you will not do fieldwork, you are expected to live in Amsterdam and take active part in team meetings and the research environment at the AISSR;
  • Teaching (up to 10% of your time when you are not on fieldwork) and organizational support for the project leader will be part of your job responsibilities. These tasks will allow you to gain valuable professional experience next to working towards your PhD.

What do we require?

You have:

  • a Master’s degree or equivalent with a relevant specialization within the social sciences or humanities. Social and Cultural Anthropology, History and Human Geography, Eastern European Studies are preferred academic backgrounds. The degree must have been obtained by the time of application;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • familiarity with ethnographic research methods;
  • independent thinking and critical analytical skills;
  • good collaboration skills and ability to join interdisciplinary academic communities;
  • the abilities to finish the PhD thesis in four years; i.e., good skills in planning, taking initiatives, academic writing;
  • a good sense of humour.

While the working language for the project is English, candidates who demonstrate ability to collect data in at least one of the following languages will be preferred: Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, German. Candidates who have basic fluency in one or more of the mentioned languages and are willing to take language training (funded by the project) are also encouraged to apply.

You preferably have:

  • previous practical ethnographic research experiences;
  • familiarity or interest in creative methods (including audio, visual and other methods).

What can we offer you?

A challenging but friendly work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organisation. The social and behavioural sciences play a leading role in addressing the major societal challenges faced by the world, the Netherlands and Amsterdam, now and in the future.

To work at the University of Amsterdam is to work in a discerning, independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.

Our offer

The position concerns a temporary appointment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of four years. The initial appointment is for one year, preferably starting on 1 March 2021 (later starts possible). Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 36 months, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate. We will put together a curriculum which will also include the opportunity to attend training courses and both national and international events.

Your salary will be €2,395 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €3,061 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.


Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact:

Would you like to learn more about working at the University of Amsterdam? Visit the website.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Does this profile sound like you? If so, we are eager to receive:

  • your application letter describing your qualifications and motivation for the position. Please specify in which aspects of the project you are interested in and how your previous background relates to the position (2 pages max.);
  • your Curriculum Vitae (with a list of education, positions, research and teaching experience, and other qualifying activities, including a list of publications/conference presentations, if applicable);
  • a transcript of your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Applicants with education from a foreign university must attach an explanation of their university’s grading system;
  • contact information for two academic references (no letters of recommendation at this stage).

All documents must be in English and uploaded in a single pdf (not zipped). The deadline for applications is 15 February 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview. You can apply online by clicking on the link below.

No agencies please

Apply now

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