The ERC-funded research project “PACT: Populism and Conspiracy Theory”, hosted by the University of Tübingen, Germany, is inviting applications for a 2-year postdoc position (m/f/d, 100%) in Media Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Italian Studies, or a related subject The estimated starting date is February 1, 2022.
PACT investigates the significance of conspiracy theories for populist movements and parties in Europe (Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland) and the Americas (Brazil, United States). It seeks to analyze how, why, when and to what effects populist leaders employ conspiracist rhetoric, and how this affects ordinary party or movement members. Accordingly, the project will study both online and offline discourses, and combine critical discourse analysis with ethnography. It brings together scholars from political science, history, sociology, anthropology, media studies, and (Latin) American Studies.
The successful candidate will conduct the subproject on Italy and write a short book (ca. 50,000 words) in
English for the Routledge series “Conspiracy Theories.” The task includes:
• qualitative analysis of the role of conspiracy theories for the Northern League with special emphasis on
the impact of the shift from regionalism to nationalism
• analysis of the importance of conspiracy theories for the Five Star Movement
• analysis of the 2018 elections with special focus on the importance of social media
• six months of ethnographic fieldwork in Italy, esp. Rome, before and after the next elections
• online ethnography of populist and conspiracist discourses in the context of the next elections
The successful candidate has
• a PhD in Media Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Italian Studies, or a related subject, preferably with a focus on Italy already
• experience with qualitative discourse analysis and/or ethnographic fieldwork
• speaks and writes English and Italian at near-native level
• an interest in and preferably experience with interdisciplinary exchanges
• an interest in and preferably already done work on populism and/or conspiracy theory
The successful candidate has to move to Tübingen for the duration of the project.
Previous experience with ethnographic methods is not required but highly welcome.
The successful candidate will be hired by the University of Tübingen and receive a 2-year contract of the level E13 of the German pay scale (100%, E 13 TV-L). The starting salary amounts to ca. € 4.300 per month before taxes and obligatory insurances, including health insurance. The university seeks to raise the number of women in research and teaching and therefore urges qualified women academics to apply for these positions. Equally qualified applicants with disabilities will be given preference.
The employment will be carried out by the central administration of the University of Tübingen.
Applications containing a cover letter, a CV, copies of diplomas, a list of publications, and a writing sample in English of ca. 5.000 words should be sent as one PDF file via email to
More information on the project, including a copy of the application, can be requested from the Principal Investigator, Prof. Michael Butter (
The deadline for applications is October 8 at 2pm CET. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via Zoom in week of October 18.


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