Postdoctoral Position: Wellbeing, Schooling and Students’ Subjectivities

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 27 Sep 2023

The Danish School of Education (DPU), Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University, invites applications for a postdoctoral position associated with the research project “Paradoxes of Learning to Be Well: Re-examining the Curriculization of Wellbeing”. The project is funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark. The postdoctoral position is a full-time role (37 hours/week) for a duration of 24 months, commencing on 15 January 2024. The position will be based at DPU within the Department of Educational Psychology at either Emdrup Campus or Aarhus Campus.

The Danish School of Education is committed to promoting diversity and encourages all qualified individuals to apply, irrespective of their background.   

Research context 

Schools are among the most influential settings for young people’s wellbeing. Nevertheless, much research reduces schools to sites for measuring or promoting wellbeing, which results in conceptualizations disconnected from the distinctive task of schools – education and formation of the self. There is a lack of theoretical groundwork attentive to the complexity of the school environment and the processes in which wellbeing is negotiated, configured and enacted. The project “Paradoxes of Learning to Be Well: Re-examining the Curriculization of Wellbeing”, led by Professor Venka Simovska, aims to problematize the taken-for-granted assumptions and generate new ways of thinking about development pathways, intricacies and consequences of the formalization of wellbeing as a mandatory educational goal in public primary and lower secondary education in Denmark. Informed by poststructuralism and postcritical theory, the key guiding research questions include: How is wellbeing framed in educational policies, guidelines and measurement frameworks, and how do these framings affect the dynamics of everyday school life and students’ experiences of schooling? In addition to contributing to scholarship by advancing the theoretical understanding of wellbeing contextualized in education, the project strives to offer new ways of thinking about wellbeing with a potentially significant social impact.   

The position 

The successful applicant will work on an independent sub-project in close collaboration with Professor Venka Simovska and the international advisory board members. The primary task of the postdoc is to specify, plan and carry out the sub-project, focusing on the ways in which wellbeing policy is enacted in schools and on the consequences of these enactments in terms of students’ subjectivities. The sub-project aims to develop an in-depth understanding of the ways in which the formalization of wellbeing affects the school environment, teachers’ practices and students’ experiences as shaped by their socioeconomic background, gender and/or ethnicity. The research involves multisite fieldwork including observations, interviews with teachers and students, and participatory work (e.g. video, essay or photo elicitations) with students in the final years of lower secondary school (14-16 years) at four schools in Denmark.

Apart from carrying out the sub-project, the postdoc is also expected to:  

  • Actively participate in the project’s research team and relevant national and international research networks. 
  • Publish research findings independently and collaboratively in international peer-reviewed journals. 
  • Initiate, join and help organize activities with the research team, such as conferences, seminars, webinars and other project-related endeavours. 
  • Plan and execute a 3-month research stay at Cambridge University, UK. 
  • Contribute to the dissemination of research results to the wider public. 

Applicants are encouraged to contact Principal Investigator Venka Simovska at for further information about the project.

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