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PhD Studentship, ERC Consolidator Grant Project

University Grenoble Alpes - PACTE laboratory

The Université Grenoble Alpes is recruiting 1 PhD student as part of the ERC Consolidator Grant Project:

The Politicisaton of Economic Inequality: The Impact of Welfare Regimes, Elites' Discourse and Media Frames on Citizens' Perceptions, Justice Evaluations and Political Behaviour (POLINEQUAL)

Project summary and background

POLINEQUAL aims to study the causes and mechanisms that motivate citizens to respond to economic inequalities. Conceptually, it is based on the assumption that:

  • individual perceptions of economic inequality are biased because they are mediated by evaluations of justice and therefore do not reflect objective levels of economic inequality,
  • perceptions of economic inequality are informed by facts, ideological cues, media representations and personal heuristics,
  • these perceptions and justice evaluations are malleable to the extent that economic inequality is politicized, and
  • perceptions and evaluations of economic inequality elicit emotional, attitudinal and behavioural responses.

POLINEQUAL follows two paths: First, it investigates the nature of the relationships between political discourses, media representations, ideological cues and individual perceptions and justice evaluations of economic inequality, and the extent to which these are conditioned by collectively shared norms of distributive justice. Second, it examines the impact of individual perceptions and evaluations of inequality on emotions and political behaviour. Its aim is to develop a theoretical framework that explains the causes and mechanisms of individual perceptions of economic inequality that depend on national institutional arrangements, ideological cues, media representations and personal heuristics. POLINEQUAL's research design is based on a mixed-method approach, organised in different stages and combining data from focus groups, analyses of political discourse and media content, online surveys and experimental studies. Pursuing a comparative perspective, POLINEQUAL data will be partly collected in France, Sweden and the UK.

The POLINEQUAL team will be composed of three PhD students, one postdoc and the project leader.

Means and embeddedness of the PhD thesis in the project

The candidate will participate in the entire process of collecting qualitative, quantitative and experimental data and develop data analysis skills. Methodological training will be offered. In addition, the successful candidate will co-author publications and participate in national and international scientific conferences. Within this framework, the candidate will have to construct an original PhD thesis project based mainly but not exclusively on the project data collected.

Constraints related to the position

The candidate must reside in the urban community of Grenoble, France, and participate regularly in the activities of PACTE, the research institute POLINEQUAL is affiliated with.

Expected skills and competences

  • Proven skills in quantitative and statistical analysis
  • Knowledge of statistical software (Stata and/or SPSS)
  • Genuine interest in and willingness to collect and explore qualitative data (focus groups, political discourse and media representations); methodological training offered
  • Excellent oral and written skills in English (project language)

Requirements to apply

  • Hold a Master's degree (or equivalent) in political science, sociology or another discipline of the human and social sciences.
  • Having already worked on welfare states, economic inequality, moral economy, political attitudes or related topics will be an important selection criterion.
  • To be knowledgable of the British welfare state.

Selection process

The selection will be made on the basis of the applications, completed by interviews (via videoconference call or face-to-face interview).

Composition of the application file

  • CV
  • BA, Master 1 and Master 2 transcripts/grades
  • Research dissertation written during the master's degree and/or other academic work relevant to this position
  • Document explaining the motivations for POLINEQUAL topics and the relevant knowledge/skills acquired (2 to 3 pages recommended)

Applications should be sent to: by 31st October 2021

Details on the position and PACTE

PACTE laboratory (Social Sciences Laboratory) is a research institute which brings together most of the political scientists, sociologists, geographers and urbanists of the Grenoble university site, which is one of the largest research centres in France in social sciences.

Type of recruitment and percentage: Researcher contract, 100%

Duration: 4 years, composed of 1 year + 3 years

Monthly remuneration: 2,300.00 € gross

Start of project: October 1, 2020, anticipated start of working contract: November 1st, 2021

Location of workplace: Laboratoire Pacte (Unité Mixte de Recherche 5194;; 1030, avenue centrale, 38400 Saint Martin d'Hères, France

PhD thesis supervisor: Sonja ZMERLI, professor of political science,

Contact Prof. Sonja Zmerli ( for more information on this position.

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Grenoble - France
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: €2,300
£1,954.25 converted salary* monthly gross
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 28th September 2021
Closes: 31st October 2021
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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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