Postdoctoral research fellow in Political Theory (Legitimacy Beyond Consent)

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Political Science

16 mei 2017
€3,427 to €4,691 gross per month
18 juni 2017
38 hours per week

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands, and one of the highest-ranked such institutions in Europe. The Faculty serves 7,500 students in numerous Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Science, Psychology, Social Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, and Educational Sciences. The academic staff is employed in education as well as research. There are over 1,100 employees at the Faculty, which resides in a number of buildings in the centre of Amsterdam.

The Department of Political Sciences is one of the departments of the FMG. The College of Social Sciences (CSW) and the Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) are responsible for the under-graduate and graduate teaching programmes in Political Science. The research within the Department is conducted in research programmes of the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR). The AISSR unites the social science research of the UvA, and is one of the largest research institutes in Europe.

Project description

The Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam invites application for a three-year postdoctoral research fellowship. The position is part of the research project ‘Legitimacy Beyond Consent’, led by Dr Enzo Rossi and funded by the Dutch National Science Organisation (NWO).

Brief description of NWO Vidi Project ‘Legitimacy Beyond Consent: Confronting Transnational and Supranational Power Structures’:

The idea of a crisis of democracy is frequently invoked to explain a range of phenomena plaguing European states in the era of declining national sovereignty: disaffection, polarisation, fragmentation. The crisis is usually understood as a crisis of legitimacy, and so as a failure of gathering consent through representation. This project challenges that understanding of the crisis by proposing a novel account of legitimacy, driving a wedge between consent and representation. Traditional theories of democratic legitimacy are voluntaristic: representation legitimises the exercise of political power through consent, by making it receptive to the will of those over whom it is exercised. This project challenges democratic voluntarism in all its forms: those grounded in actual or hypothetical consent, as well as those grounded in deliberative and aggregative proceduralism. It abandons voluntarism by acknowledging that legitimate authority is necessarily coercive, but does so without thereby falling into an idea that 'might is right'. The alternative proposal is critical responsiveness: political coercion can be legitimate when it is responsive to stakeholders’ values (vetted for ideological distortions).
The shift from a voluntarist to a values-based theory of legitimacy enables exploration of two key, related, questions posed by globalisation to European democracies:

  • What is the proper remit of the supranational authority of the European Union?
  • To what extent can the transnational political power wielded by economic actors (corporations, IMF, WTO) be made compatible with liberal democracy?

Theories of legitimacy should solve Rousseau’s paradox: 'Man is born free: but everywhere he is in chains.' This project responds to the insight that solutions that dissolve the chains—that is, that show that legitimate authority is not coercive—are not satisfactory. The way to tackle the paradox is ask whether the chains make sense in the light of the values of those who bear them.


  • Conducting research within the framework of the above-described project;
  • contributing to the organisational aspects of the project and to knowledge valorisation activities;
  • contributing to and initiating bids for further external research funding;
  • teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level (in English, 50%);
  • assisting in the supervision of a doctoral candidate.


  • A completed doctoral thesis in political science, philosophy, or a cognate field;
  • an ongoing programme of research and publications, focused on international peer-reviewed journals and/or books published by internationally recognised academic presses;
  • broad general knowledge in Political Theory;
  • ability to provide excellent and inspiring teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Further information

Additional information about the vacancy may be obtained from:


For this position the University Job Classification System ’Researcher-3/ Onderzoeker-3’ applies. The salary will be, depending on level of education and relevant work experience, at least €3.427 and up to €4.691 gross per month with a full appointment of 38 hours per week (according to scale 11, Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). This is a temporary appointment of 38 hours per week for the duration of (2) year with extension of one year. The UvA has a comprehensive package of secondary employment conditions including a spacious holiday-arrangement and a ‘13th month’. Starting date: autumn 2017.

Job application

Applications should comprise a letter of motivation, a full CV including a list of publications and contact details of three referees, and a brief statement of future research plans, with a particular focus on how they may overlap with the themes of the ‘Legitimacy Beyond Consent’ project. These should be sent electronically in one document, preferably as a pdf-file. Please do not send us additional documentation at this stage. The deadline for applications is 18 June 2017. Please send your application to with vacancy number 17-258 as subject.

Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Gepubliceerd door  Universiteit van Amsterdam