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A job vacancy: fulltime PhD-scholarship (100%) on Migration and Malthusian thinking

25 June 2018 , Application deadline: 25 June 2018

Research topic:
This research project fits in the broader interdisciplinary research project ‘Cities & Newcomers’ at the VUB. The focus of this doctoral research will be on the relationship between population growth, population pressure, (economic) development and international migrations. Part of the research consists in critical discourse analysis of the documents and propositions on migration of political parties and news channels. Critical discourse analysis is used to clarify the ideological basis of the discourse on migration and to reveal the fundamental mechanisms of thinking in the current migration debate. The focus is not on racist prejudices, narrow nationalistic ideas or electoral opportunism, although they may of course interfere, but on the deeper underlying worldview. The objective is to unravel the (rational) arguments used to justify the current migration policies in Europe and to find out the dominant ideas or concepts that are influencing regulation of migration and day-to-day policing in European cities. Is there a link between migration policies and neo-Malthusian thinking on population? Are there connections with other dominant economic theories or paradigms? Or are these theories mere justifications for underlying racism? A further elaboration could be to develop an analysis of alternative or counter-argumentations. Which arguments are proposed by sanctuary cities? Are their policies purely inspired by humanistic views or are they based on a different evaluation of the surrounding reality? What are the narrative and the worldview underlying the actions of city councils and citizen movements opposing the current migration policies?

Job expectations:
· We expect you to prepare presentations, articles and a PhD thesis on the topic of migration and Malthusian thinking under supervision of your supervisor. Depending on the background of the candidate and the further elaboration of the project, the PhD will be on the intersection of at least two disciplines combining demography or sociology with history or human geography.
· You are expected to support the teaching staff in educational tasks (max. 10% of your time).
· You are expected to apply for external funding.

Job requirements:
· You hold a strong postgraduate level qualification in Demography, History, Social Anthropology, Sociology, Human Geography or alike.
· Proficiency in English is a must.
· Knowledge of French and/or Dutch are a plus.
· Knowledge of additional languages is a plus
· Women and members of ethnic minority groups are particularly encouraged to apply
· Students who plan to graduate in September are also welcome to apply

We offer:
· A 4-years fulltime PhD-scholarship, renewable on a yearly basis
· A monthly scholarship of about € 1.850
· Full reimbursement of (public transport) commuting expenses within Belgium
· A dynamic and stimulating research environment
· Suggested (but not fixed) starting date: 1 September 2018

Applying for this job
· Deadline for application: 25 June 2018
· Job interviews will take place on Friday 6th of July 2018 at the Etterbeek campus of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
· Your application must at least include the following attachments:
o A brief curriculum vitae
o A concise statement of the reason for applying
o A copy of your master thesis
o A copy of your study results (and if already available a copy of your master diploma)
· Your application should be written in English
· Apply by sending an e-mail to Prof. Patrick Deboosere ( and Dr. Nick Schuermans (
More information?
Have a look at the websites of the Interdisciplinary Resarch Program on Cities & Newcomers (, the research group Interface Demography ( and the VUB website on PhD trajectories ( Please contact Prof. Patrick Deboosere ( with further, informal questions.