The Department of Sociology at the University of York seeks a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, awarded to Dr Anna Strhan (York), Dr Peter Hemming (Surrey) and Professor Sarah Neal (Sheffield): Becoming Citizens of ‘Post-secular’ Britain: Religion in Primary School Life. The ideal start date for the position is 1 January 2022. The aim of the research is to determine the significance of religion in how schools foster notions of citizenship – at national, local, and global scales, as well as how these intersect – and to examine how children and their parents experience these processes, and what this means for children’s sense of belonging in wider society.

The project will be a multi-sited ethnography examining the experiences of children and their parents/carers from a broad range of religious and nonreligious backgrounds, with fieldwork carried out in primary schools in four diverse geographical areas of the UK. In this project, we approach citizenship as not limited to legal status, but rather as a lived practice, entailing ongoing struggles for rights and inclusions, and shaped through embodied and affective dimensions and everyday practices. We understand children’s citizenship as encompassing their sense of participation, rights, duties, identities and belonging – including their sense of national, ethnic, and religious belonging and identity.

As Postdoctoral Research Associate, you will:

be responsible for setting up and carrying out the ethnographic fieldwork for this project (primarily participant observation in schools, and semi-structured interviews with children, parents, and teachers, using child-centred research methods)
recruit participants
collect and manage/analyse qualitative data
review relevant literature
write up research work for publication
disseminate findings at national and international conferences
The data collection will require extended periods of fieldwork in primary schools in four different parts of England, Wales, and Scotland (10-12 weeks per school, up to 12 months over the project’s duration). It is desirable that you have experience of conducting research with children and/or in schools.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed
PhD in Sociology, Education, Human Geography, Anthropology, or related discipline
Specialist knowledge in at least one of the following areas: Childhood Studies, Education Studies, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Sociology of Religion, Social and Cultural Geography, Citizenship Studies
Knowledge of relevant qualitative research techniques and methodologies
Ability to be engaging and flexible when working with children
A commitment to high quality work, and ability to work with others effectively
Shortlisted candidates will be asked to give a short presentation outlining their recent research and how their experience would help them contribute to the project.
Condition of Employment
This role is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Consequently, all applicants will be asked to declare both unspent and spent convictions on their application form.

Appointment of the successful candidate will be conditional on a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Interview date:  Interviews will take place on 29 September, and will be conducted online.

For informal enquiries: please contact Dr Anna Strhan:

Closing date: 5/9/2021. For further information:


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