Postdoc in science and technology studies at the Department of Digital Design & Information Studies at the School of Communication and Culture (re-advertisement)

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 30 Apr 2024

The Department of Digital Design and Information Studies within the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University invites applications for a postdoctoral position in science and technology studies (STS) with a focus on information infrastructures for territorial management. The postdoc position is affiliated with the research project

Governance by Infrastructures

funded by the Aarhus University Research Foundation.

The postdoc position is a full-time (37 hours/week) and 30-month fixed-term position. The position begins on 01 June 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

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


Project

The overall

Governance by Infrastructures

project tackles, in a comparative way, historical and contemporary practices of informationally infrastructuring territory and population, which are the two main assets of modern institutions. The project builds on scholarship in STS, information infrastructures and organisation studies to research how the modern institutional order that has emerged from the datafication of territory and population since the 17th century (and featured prominently in various projects of state-building and colonisation) is being challenged by current digital developments in information infrastructures for territory and population management. The overall research project asks how new forms of de facto governance are being shaped by information infrastructuring for managing territory and population.

The mutually shaping relationship between governance and infrastructure is a well-known STS tenet. The project addresses it in three respects. Firstly, governance by infrastructures is a way to exert normativity and decision-making through multiple forms of materiality, including but not limited to written texts such as laws and regulations. As datafication increasingly translates territory and populations into digital infrastructures, it is necessary to wonder about the consequences of this change in materiality for contemporary institutional ordering. Secondly, different materials entail differences in who can or cannot access knowledge. Information infrastructures implicate regimes of inclusion and exclusion, for example, in communities of practice defined by the knowledge such communities have of how infrastructures work. Thirdly, governance can be conceived as a de facto outcome of infrastructuring for information production and circulation. As historians of technology have shown, information infrastructures can constitute the building block of state-building and even supra-national-building. For all these reasons, the project assumes an organisational understanding of governance and draws on STS’s notions of ‘geography of responsibility’ and the anti-essentialist ‘vectorial glance’.

The project’s working language is English.


Postdoc position

The successful applicant will be expected to contribute to the part of the

Governance by Infrastructures

project that concerns the informational management of territory, with a preference for coastal territories. The postdoc will engage with literature review; archival, technical and design documentation; empirical sociological research (for example, interviews, observations, and mixed methods like visualisations, thanks to the support of the school’s facilities). The data set collected will then be analysed and contextualised in relation to the key issues addressed within the

Governance by Infrastructures

project (see above).

The postdoc will be presented with three main research challenges. The first challenge concerns mapping the inter-organisational dimension of data infrastructuring for territory management in a selected context in the past (WP1). The second requires investigating the inter-organisational and governance implications of contemporary developments in those data infrastructures (WP2). The third challenge foresees an assessment of the developments in data infrastructuring for territory management as developed in the previous WPs (WP3).


Notably, the appointed applicant will:
  • conduct a literature review of STS, inter-organisational and governance studies and information studies concerning information infrastructuring for territory management, and co-produce with the PI an analytical framework
  • map historical literature and archival documentation about information infrastructuring for territory management in a selected context. What visions (for example, of the relationship between wet/dry, building/landscape, familiar/wild) underpinned the infrastructural design of the territories in the past? The applicant can freely choose the context and be included in the research proposal (see below). The mapping exercise should also highlight inter-organisational and governance issues connected with the needs of information handling in the past (for example, what was the geography of responsibility? Which agencies were delegated functions?)
  • analyse the inter-organisational and governance implications of contemporary developments in those selected data infrastructures through empirical sociological research. Developments can be required to face contemporary challenges like climate change, pollution and waste, and flooding, to name a few. Which new territorial visions and narratives emerge? Do they bring about novel distributions of tasks and roles? How is interoperability implemented? Which novel geographies of responsibilities are entailed? Do they challenge existing inter-organisational and institutional boundaries?
  • evaluate the organisational developments in information infrastructuring for territorial management, recommending future directions of development.

Expected deliverables:

  • a minimum of two journal articles in international peer-reviewed journals (ideally as first co-author)
  • co-organisation of two workshops (with the rest of the team)
  • a valorisation output (outreach to the broader public in the form of media coverage or reports, ideally with other team members)
  • a minimum of two conference presentations or invited talks.

Teaching and supervision

As a postdoc in STS, your position is primarily research-based but will also involve a small degree of teaching and supervision. To that end, the successful applicant will be expected to participate in the department’s teaching and supervision activities and teach and supervise at BA and MA levels.

Given the international focus of the degree programmes, the successful applicant will be expected to teach in English.


Qualifications

Applicants must have a PhD degree or document equivalent qualifications in a relevant field related to STS, information studies or neighbouring disciplines (for example, organisation studies with a technological perspective or computer studies with a governance perspective). Applicants must be able to document, relevant to the position:

  • an internationally oriented research profile within STS, information studies or neighbouring disciplines as documented by a PhD dissertation or equivalent qualifications
  • excellent administrative and organisational skills, including the ability to plan one’s work and meet deadlines
  • experience of participation in national and international research networks
  • knowledge of qualitative and computational research methods used in STS, information studies and/or organisation studies
  • proficiency in English (including scientific writing in international peer-reviewed journals)
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and the ability to engage productively within the research team and with external organisations and institutions.

Furthermore, it will be considered an advantage if applicants can document

  • a track record of research publications of a high international standard commensurate with the length of the applicant’s academic career including research publications as first author in internationally peer-reviewed journals
  • ability to think across disciplinary boundaries, supporting an inclusive and creative working culture
  • sound understanding of the potential non-academic impacts of the research and ways of engaging with it
  • knowledge of Danish (only in case the research context selected is Denmark).

Finally, applicants are asked to provide a proposal for research to be undertaken within the stated framework of the research project (max. three pages). The researcher is asked to identify the selected research context and, ideally, an initial set of knowledge resources to kick off their analysis.

Please note that although the application process can be completed on the Aarhus University system without uploading publications, applications that do not include uploaded publications (maximum five) will not be considered.

Although the Aarhus University application system includes an option to upload letters of recommendation, please do not include letters of recommendation or references with the application. Applicants who are invited to an interview may be asked to provide references.


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. To contribute to the department’s excellent teaching and research environment, the successful applicant is expected to be at the department weekly.

We respect the balance between work and private life and strive to create a work environment in which that balance can be maintained. You can read more about family and work-life balance in Denmark.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU.


International applicants

International applicants are encouraged to read about the

attractive working conditions

and other benefits of working at Aarhus University and in Denmark, including healthcare, paid holidays and, if relevant, maternity/paternity leave, childcare and schooling. Aarhus University offers various services for international researchers and accompanying families, including a

relocation service

and an

AU Expat Partner Programme

. You can also find information about the

taxation aspects of international researchers’ employment by AU

.


The department

The place of employment is the Department of Digital Design and Information Studies located at Helsingforsgade 14, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark.

The Department of Digital Design and Information Studies offers a broad range of humanistic approaches to studying the relationship between humans and information technology, from the granular study of the agency of code to how information technology challenges and transforms modern society’s social, political, economic, and cultural dimensions. Diverse and innovative methodologies are represented and encouraged in the department.

Prospective applicants are invited to view the department’s website .


School of Communication and Culture

The school is a part of the Faculty of Arts. You will find information about the school and its

research programmes

,

departments

, and diverse activities on its

website

.


Contact

For further information about the position, please contact the principal investigator (PI),

Professor Annalisa Pelizza, by e-mail:

[email protected]

If you need help uploading your application or have questions about the recruitment process, please contact Arts HR support by e-mail:

[email protected]

.

Previously submitted applications will be taken into consideration unless they are withdrawn.



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