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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

TweetThis! Ph.D. position - project: Democratic Legitimacy of federal political systems, The University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp is a knowledge centre with more than 3.600 co-workers that performs ground-breaking and innovative research of international standing. The university takes special care to ensure optimum support and super vision of students, and pays constant attention to educational innovation. The university is an autonomous pluralistic institution that is committed to the enhancement of an open, democratic and multicultural society, and it pursues an equal opportunities policy.

The Department of Political Science invites applications for a Ph.D. position within a project on
‘Democratic Legitimacy of federal political systems.’

In recent years a lively academic debate has been going on discussing the question whether the EU suffers from a democratic deficit, and if so, how bad it is. In general the alleged democratic deficit of the EU is considered to be induced by electoral shortcomings (lack of pan- European electoral competition), party system shortcomings (lack of pan-European political parties) and public sphere shortcomings (lack of a pan-European public opinion). A similar academic debate on the democratic

legitimacy of the Belgian federation is largely absent; the matter has hardly been subject of political science research so far. This is a surprising observation since the ‘symptoms’ that are part of the European ‘diagnosis’, are also very much present in the Belgian political system: there exist no genuine federal electoral competition, no federal political parties and no federal Belgian mass media or public sphere.

Taking this remarkable academic caveat as a starting point, we aim with this project to measure and evaluate the democratic legitimacy of the Belgian federation in a systematic and comparative manner. We pose the following core questions. What mechanisms did Belgium and other federal political systems introduce to guarantee democratic legitimacy? Can we compare the Belgian federal system with other federal systems with respect to democratic legitimacy? Does Belgium resemble more to other federal states or to the European Union? Can other federal states offer inspiration to enhance the democratic quality of the Belgian system? The

ultimate aim of this project is to systematically evaluate the democratic legitimacy of the Belgian federal system by comparing it with other multilevel political systems.

  • you prepare a doctoral dissertation
  • you disseminate research results through national and international publications and conferences
  • you are an active member of the research group on European and International Politics
What we have to offer is, in sum:
  • an interesting research area and dissertation topic for a period of two years. The appointment will be prolonged with two years after a positive evaluation;
  • a working environment with young and entrepreneurial colleagues;
  • the opportunity to participate in training and educational programs within an international academic network.
We expect that candidates:
  • can independently conduct a research project, like to work within a team and are proactive in supporting the research group;
  • hold a master degree in Political Science, Public Administration, Economics or in another related field within the social science (candidates who graduate in 2009 are also invited to apply);
  • have obtained excellent grades during their studies and being motivated to prepare a doctoral dissertation;
  • have good writing skills;
  • have a visible interest in European and Belgian politics;
  • have a special interest in theoretical issues, in particular the democratic legitimacy of political systems;
  • have a good command of English
  • show motivation, flexibility and a broad academic and societal curiosity
Application (deadline September 1 2009 ):
application form (via http://www.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=*VACATURES&n=15761&ct=011072) or tel. + 32 3 265 31 49);
  • letter of application;
  • curriculum Vitae and a list of grades obtained;
  • two letters of recommendation;
  • a written essay (two pages in English) in which you critically discuss the project description which you can obtain from Peter Bursens or Dave Sinardet (for contact details see below). In this essay, you sketch your ideas on the theoretical and methodological approach you would pursue when conducting research into one of the sub-areas outlined above.
Please send your application to:
Peter Bursens or Dave Sinardet
Department of Political Science
Meerminne Building , M. 285
St. Jacobstraat 2
2000 Antwerp

For more information:
Peter Bursens (+ 32 3 265 57 22 of peter.bursens@ua.ac.be )
Dave Sinardet (+ 32 3 265 55 91 of dave.sinardet@ua.ac.be )

Link: http://www.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=*VACATURES&n=47968

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