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Postdoc Position: Choice of Upper Secondary Education and the Experience of School

University of Aarhus - Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts

The Danish School of Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoctoral position related to the research project “Diverging Paths: Educational Choices and Social Divisions”, financed by the Independent Research Fund, Humanities. The project runs for three years beginning in January 2023.

The postdoc position is full time (37 hours/week), starting on 1 August 2023 and ending on 30 September 2025. The position is located at DPU within the Department of Educational Anthropology (Aarhus Campus or Emdrup Campus).

The Danish School of Education is committed to diversity and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their personal background.  

Research context
The research project “Diverging Paths: Educational Choices and Social Divisions” explores the increasing ethnic and social division in the Danish education system and the current political projects aimed at averting this division and the culturally ingrained pull towards academic education. To do this, the project focuses on:
1) the everyday and pivotal educational choices of children, young people and parents, which both reflect and influence their sense of social position and identification, and their notions of future opportunities and hierarchies, and
2) the social, cultural and political dynamics that pull and push children, young people and parents towards specific class positions and social groups. A multi-age and cross-institutional qualitative approach is applied, focusing on the causes and consequences of educational choices for people from various social and ethnic backgrounds.
The project includes four complementary ethnographic studies of children's, young people's, and parents' choices of schools, upper secondary (youth) education, further education as well as of the many choices of activities and relationships that take place in the everyday life of these educational institutions and sum up to larger patterns of social and ethnic divisions.

See more details at:

Sociale forestillinger og skillelinjer påvirker vores skole- og uddannelsesvalg – men hvordan? (

The position
The successful applicant will work on an individual sub-project in close collaboration with the project team at DPU, consisting of Professor MSO Eva Gulløv (the project manager), Associate Professor Laura Gilliam, and another researcher in a postdoc position. The primary task of the postdoc is to plan and carry out the sub-project entitled Choice of Upper-Secondary (Youth) Education and the Experience of School, which involves six months of ethnographic fieldwork consisting of daily participant observation and approx. 40 interviews with Year 9 pupils at one state-funded and one private or independent school in an ethnically and socially diverse area. The aim is to explore the everyday school experiences and social imaginaries of young people from different social and ethnic backgrounds, and the way these experiences influence their choices of further education as well as their relations, identifications, motivations, and notions of status. The sub-project will also explore how advices from teachers, educational counsellors, parents, and friends, as well as various school activities and assessments, influence pupils’ ideas of positions and identities, goals, and status in relation to education. Interviews with parents (approx. 20 interviews) will provide more detailed insight into family background and explore parents’ reflections on the educational choices and possible futures of their children.

Besides conducting and completing the ethnographic sub-project, the postdoc is expected to:
  • Be an active collaborative partner in the research group
  • Publish independently and in collaboration with the research group in relevant peer-reviewed journals
  • Initiate and organise activities with the research group (initiate, co-organise and participate in conferences, seminars, and webinars as well as other relevant activities)
  • Collaborate with the international board
  • Organise and carry out a short research visit to a relevant research institution outside Denmark
  • Contribute to the popular dissemination of research findings
  • Carry out a small number of teaching-related tasks.

Applicants are encouraged to contact project manager Eva Gulløv on +45 93 50 81 47 or at for further information about the project. 


Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in Anthropology, Educational Studies, Sociology or a related discipline within the Humanities or Social Sciences.

Applicants must be able to document solid experience of planning and carrying out ethnographic fieldwork, preferably with children or young people. As part of the application, applicants are asked to describe how their previous research experiences are of relevance for the position (1page). Furthermore, the application must include a project description (3-5 pages), detailing the research question, its conceptual and methodological foundation and a timetable. It must be possible to complete this project during the period of employment.

The application must also include the formal statement on your PhD project if you have completed your PhD degree.

Given the nature of the project’s empirical work, applicants must be fluent (or almost fluent) in Danish or another Scandinavian language. Furthermore, applicants should master spoken and written English at an advanced academic level. Experience of publishing in English will be an asset.

Please note that applications that do not include uploaded publications (maximum five) will not be considered. 

Work environment

Active participation in the daily life of the department is a high priority, and we emphasise the importance of good working relationships, both among colleagues and with our students. In order to maintain and develop the department’s excellent teaching and research environment, the successful applicant is expected to be present at the department on a daily, or at least weekly, basis.
We respect the balance between work and private life and strive to create a work environment in which that balance can be maintained. For further information, visit

International applicants

For further information about the benefits of working at Aarhus University and in Denmark, including healthcare, paid holidays and, if relevant, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and schooling, international applicants are encouraged to visit Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including a relocation service and career counselling for expat partners. For information about taxation, check the taxation aspects of international researchers’ employment by AU

The Danish School of Education

The School of Education at Aarhus University is Denmark’s largest centre for research and teaching in the fields of education, didactics and learning, with approximately 240 full-time researchers, including 80 PhD students, and 4,500 Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students. The school’s activities are characterised by a high degree of interdisciplinarity and close interaction with society, including businesses, organisations, government agencies and institutions, both in Denmark and abroad.

For more information on the school’s research and educational profile, please visit:

Qualification requirements
Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.
Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order). Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here:

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Shortlists may be prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting.
Faculty of Arts
The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.

The faculty contributes to Aarhus University's research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.

With its 550 academic staff members, 240 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.

The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.

The faculty's academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.


The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,300 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at
Location: Aarhus - Denmark
Salary: in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 30th January 2023
Closes: 6th March 2023
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