PhD Position on ‘Contemporary Political Satire: The language of Satiric News’

Voor 0.8 fte
Vacaturenummer 18083
VU onderdeel: Extern

VUnet Vacatures afbeelding 08 Engels
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a leading, innovative and growing university that is at the heart of society and actively contributes to new developments in teaching and research. Our university has ten faculties which span a wide range of disciplines, as well as several institutes, foundations, research centres, and support services. Its campus is located in the fastest-growing economic region in the Netherlands (the Zuidas district of Amsterdam), and provides work for over 4,500 staff and scientific education for more than 23,000 students.
The Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) is one of the larger faculties of the Vrije Universiteit. Over 2,500 students and more than 250 employees are engaged in teaching and research on social-science issues.
The faculty has 5 bachelor- and 7 master programs. In addition to communication science, the faculty offers bachelor and master programs in anthropology, political science, public administration, sociology and organization science. The main focus of research is societal resilience (see 
Job description
The Department of Communication Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a vacancy for a PhD Candidate on the topic of ‘Contemporary political satire: The language of satiric news’. The research project has been funded by a VIDI grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and is being led by dr. Christian Burgers. You will be part of a larger project team, containing the principle investigator, two PhD Candidates and a number of student assistants. Next to the Department of Communication Science and the Institute for Societal Resilience, this project will also be embedded in the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam (
The project is highly interdisciplinary, combining elements from communication-scientific insights into political satire with elements from the applied-linguistics literature on language use across genres. 
The goal of the project is unravelling how language use in the hybrid genre of satiric news differs from language use in traditional genres like regular news or political fiction. To answer this question, the project consists of a number of sub-projects. Sub-project 1 determines the general linguistic features of the satiric register through computer-automated linguistic analyses. Sub-project 2 zooms in on the use of figurative language (metaphor, hyperbole, irony) in satiric news through manual linguistic analyses. Sub-project 3 is a multimodal analysis of audiovisual satire. The three sub-projects culminate in a PhD dissertation. 
• Compile a corpus of Dutch-language and English-language satirical news, regular news and political fiction from online databases;
• Analyze data using both quantitative and qualitative methods of text analysis;
• Write a PhD dissertation consisting of research articles;
• Work in an interdisciplinary research team;
• Participate in international conferences, workshops, seminars and other scholarly activities;
• Participate in outreach activities of the VIDI project in collaboration with the other team members;
• Participate in the VU Graduate School for Social Sciences (
• Master’s degree in Communication Science or a Master’s degree in another discipline relevant to the project such as Journalism Studies, Communication and Information Sciences (CIW), Linguistics or Political Science (candidates with another Master’s degree may apply, but should motivate why their experience suffices for this project). Having completed a research master or holding equivalent qualifications is a plus;
• Experience with quantitative and/or qualitative text analysis;
• (Near-)native proficiency of both Dutch and English (as this project will comprises textual analyses of Dutch-language and English-language materials);
• Programming skills in Python or R;
• The motivation to work in an interdisciplinary team.
Further particulars
The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
The successful candidate will begin their project on 1 September 2018. A later date is negotiable.
You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at like:
• Remuneration of  8,3% end-of-year bonus and  8% holiday allowance;
• Solid pension scheme (ABP);
• A minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment.
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts € 2222,00 gross per month in the first year up to € 2840,00 in the fourth year (salary scale 85) based on a full-time employment.
For additional information, please contact the project leader dr. Christian Burgers at
Please submit your application before 30 April 2018 and through e-mail at, with the vacancy number and job title as subject. As attachment (in one-single pdf file), please include a motivation letter (max. 2 A4), CV, proof of Master degree, list of grades from your Bachelor and your Master degrees, contact information for two academic references and a recent academic writing sample that you have first-authored (e.g., academic article, master thesis). It is also possible to apply if you expect to complete your master degree by 1 September 2018. In that case, please include a statement by your thesis supervisor that you are on track to complete your thesis and degree by that date.
Interviews will be scheduled around the middle of May 2018.
Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.