PhD Scholarship and Research Grant: Trajectories of Change in European Neighborhoods, Deadline July, 27, 2017

Nadeen Thomas's picture

Both democratization attempts and authoritarian developments in the European neighbourhood demonstrate the critical role of the public sphere for political and social change. Expanding communication technologies help to mobilize the public and enable new forms of exchange. These additional capacities to articulate social and political interests as well as other concerns can be harnessed to increase political pressure. Many regimes react with repression and censorship in order to regain power over the newly-forged public spaces. How does the public sphere change in times of transformation and conflict? Which divisions and relationships of force are constitutive for this social field? How do public spheres vary cross-nationally? How can we distinguish democratic and authoritarian characteristics?

The scholarship programme “Trajectories of Change” addresses historical and current transformation processes in the European neighbourhood. It offers stipends and fieldwork grants for Ph.D. students in the humanities and social sciences. For 2017, research applications dealing with the changes in the public sphere, and their impact on transformation are especially welcome.

We encourage applications for the following topics, but will also consider other approaches:

  • structural features of the public sphere: access to information, channels, drivers and voices

  • old and new media

  • reconfigurations of the communication landscape on local, national and transnational level

  • language politics and practice

  • hate speech, othering and stereotyping

  • ideology and legitimation in the authoritarian politics

  • state control of public discourse, repression and censorship

  • articulation of interests and values in the language of politics

  • civil society, public sphere and democratic renewal

  • new forms of political and social activism

The programme seeks to support young researchers in the social sciences and history in contributing novel insights into trajectories of change. Both empirical research based on intensive fieldwork and projects centred on theoretical reflection are eligible for support. Innovative and challenging research questions as well as comparative approaches are highly welcome.

To apply, visit

Please address inquiries to Jane Bartels at