Junior Researcher 'The Cultural Politics of Mobility Transitions in London and Barcelona'

Updated: 22 days ago
Deadline: ;

We are looking for a junior researcher to conduct qualitative research for the Knowledge Frontiers project (British Academy, UK) entitled ‘Towards post-growth cities: the cultural politics of mobility transitions in London and Barcelona’, which examines contestations of progressive green urban mobility initiatives, which we cautiously consider to be potential post-growth mobilities initiatives, i.e. aimed at curbing the propensity towards endless economic growth in cities, in a socio-ecologically just and equitable way. We focus more specifically on a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in Islington, London and a superblock in Eixample, Barcelona as case studies, that have been the object of contestation and countermobilization. We will examine these contestations from an explicitly cultural lens, combining, as per the requirements of the grant, social science and humanities theories and methodologies. More specifically, we aim to draw on urban history, affect (and non-representational) theories and literatures around sociocultural imaginaries, while relying on archives, participant observation, interviews and document analysis for data collection purposes. With this interdisciplinary, cultural political framework, we aim to contribute to and enrich the emerging field of post-growth planning and mobilities.

In particular, the research assistant will conduct empirical in the context of Barcelona, and in particular around a contested superblock in the neighbourhood of Eixample. The research assistant will also assist in co-write academic articles for the project.  

Importantly, while the position is officially for 0.21FTE, roughly one working day per week, this time will be spread rather unequally over the two years, with more intense 20 days of fieldwork in Barcelona, most likely in March/April and July/August 2025 (exact dates TBD), and less work allocated the rest of the time.

You will be part of a team that involves an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the London School of Economics (LSE Cities), the University of Vigo and the University of Amsterdam.

What you are going to do

  • contribute to literature review on post-growth urban planning and mobilities as well as on urban cultural politics (the overall heuristic framework is elaborated by the core research team); 
  • prepare, set up and conduct fieldwork in Eixample, Barcelona, including for example:
    • set up, schedule and conducting participant observation at local planning and activist meetings;
    • discourse analysis of online discussion forums;
    • set up, schedule and conduct semi-structured interviews with local stakeholders, identified through snowballing techniques, i.e. local groups involving residents, business owners, policymakers, and planners.
  • conduct around 20 days of fieldwork (probably 2*10 days) in Eixample, Barcelona;   
  • contribute to experimental participatory workshop in London and Barcelona (taking place in months 16-18, 3 days in each city);
  • assist with dissemination of results on social media, academic conferences, policy brief;
  • co-write academic journal articles with the core research team.

What do you have to offer

Required skills

  • a master’s in a social science or humanities subject, for instance human geography, urban planning, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, history, philosophy… Preference given to a research master’s or a master’s degree with clear research components;
  • experience in conducting qualitative research (interviews, participant observation); 
  • willingness to travel to Barcelona for fieldwork purposes;
  • proactivity and high degree of organisation with regards to organising the fieldwork in Barcelona; ability to take leadership role in specific subtasks such as setting up interviews;
  • a research interest in post-growth transitions, urban mobilities and/or cultural politics and affect theories;
  • high level of Catalan highly preferred (B2+), but we will consider those with high levels of Spanish (B2 and above);
  • ability to carry out trans-disciplinary research.

Desirable skills

  • excellent writing skills in English;
  • experience in teamwork and collaborative research;
  • ability to engage with different theoretical frameworks from the social sciences and humanities: such as post-growth/degrowth, mobilities, affect theories, cultural theories;
  • capacity to contribute to dissemination activities (e.g. seminars, webinars, workshops).  

We cannot accept remote work. It is thus recommended to be in the proximities of the Amsterdam region.

You must already live in the Netherlands and are entitled to work here.

What can we offer you

The position concerns an employment contract of 0.21 FTE (roughly 8 hours) for a maximum term of 2 years. The initial contact will be for 1 year, after 12 months we will assess your performance and, upon positive assessment, extend your contract to a maximum of 2 years.

The salary range would be a scale 10, ranging from € 3.226,00 to € 3.539,00 per month, based on fulltime employment of 38 hours per week.

What else do we offer

As a research assistant, at the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development studies, you will enjoy a range of educational and research activities. We will offer:

  • a highly collaborative environment, both within the international consortium and within the Urban Planning Research Group;
  • support in preparing the next steps of your career after the research assistant position;
  • support in improving your publications record as well as in developing your own research profile;
  • the possibility to develop your experience in international research settings. You will be fully integrated in the international research of PI on urbanization and degrowth, which takes place in many countries;
  • an enthusiastic and engaged research environment both within and outside the University. You will be invited to be involved in policy debates on circular economy and degrowth both in The Netherlands and in the city of Amsterdam.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

A challenging work environment with a variety of duties and ample scope for individual initiative and development within an inspiring organization. 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.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


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

Job Application

Do you recognise yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application/motivation letter and resume in one pdf by July 14, 2024.

We expect to do selection interviews with shortlisted candidates in the third week of July.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • A cover letter outlining your motivation to join this project (max. 500 words).

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.

No agencies please.

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