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24 August 2023 | Back to news list

Call for a 3-year PhD fellowship in Political Science & EU Studies is open!
Join GEM-DIAMOND and work on "Political Narratives and EU Legitimization’’

The selected fellow will analyse how the European Union (EU) deals with the conflictualisation of identities and values as means or ends of the political debate. Much research has been done on the effects of this trend in European politics, but far less on how the European/national institutions and elites are dealing with it. The approach in terms of political narratives is a way to bridge the gap.

The recent resurgence of interest in narratives should be understood as a new movement in the constant oscillation between the ideal and pragmatic dimensions of EU legitimation. In the 2000s, the political and intellectual agenda was mainly defined in terms of European identity and values. From the mid-2010s onwards, the emphasis has been on the search for practices that can bring Europeans together, such as the experiences of 'everyday Europe' and the advocacy of the 'European way of life'. Major recent crises such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine relaunched the debate on the core components of Europeanness. The constant renewal of narratives produced by institutions, intellectuals, and civil society highlights the back-and-forth between different visions of the EU as a polity and its legitimization, either reproducing the process of nation-state building (myth of origins, congruence between culture and politics) or relying on a functionalist justification based on results.

The selected doctoral fellow will study the genesis of European narratives; their circulation and re-interpretations across national, institutional, and policy boundaries; their combination, interactions, and competition; and their reception by civil society and citizens; and their effects in creating unity and/or dissensus. The fellow will work towards a double doctoral degree involving the ULB and a to-be-determined second university among the EU-based partners of the consortium. From the start, the doctoral researcher will work under the supervision of Professor François Forêt and accomplish their initial doctoral training at the ULB.

  • Applications are to be submitted via e-mail by September the 15th, 2023.
  • Applications are to be sent in as a single PDF to
  • Application are to contain:
  1. A full academic CV
  2. A personal essay describing the applicant’s motivation and outlook on the suggested research program (incl. the reasoning behind their expression of interest, a statement of motivation and most importantly personal interpretation of the research project, ideally in the form of an initial research project.
  3. An academic record with a scan of the degree qualifications
  4. A proof of language proficiency
  5. Two academic contacts which can be consulted by the selection committee.

Attached herewith is the official Call for Applications (a PDF) with further details on the position and the associated selection process.