11 September 2015

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Sachsen-Anhalt (Germany)
1 Postdoctoral and 2 PhD positions
Deadline for application: 31 October 2015

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s leading centres for research in social anthropology. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political topicality.

The Research Group ‘How Terrorists Learn’ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, led by Dr. Carolin Görzig, is offering 1 Postdoctoral and 2 PhD positions starting 1 January 2016.
This project will investigate tactical, strategic, and operational learning of terrorist groups. Learning occurs in context, not in a vacuum. Answering the questions of learning from what or learning from whom, the project is designed to systematically analyse the three kinds of terrorist learning on three contextual levels: the micro level, the meso level, and the macro level. On the micro level, terrorist organisations learn from their own experiences. Terrorists scrutinise their past mistakes and successes. On the meso level, terrorists learn from other terrorist groups. Terrorist groups compete with or emulate other groups’ tactics, their strategies, and their operational innovations. Hezbollah’s suicide operations, for example, have been studied by terrorist organisations around the globe. On the macro level, terrorist groups are entangled in a violent competition with the state or they emulate state sponsors epitomised for example by training in how to use weapons or how to spread propaganda.
While the terrorism literature lacks primary data, this project will build on qualitative field research in the Middle East, Western Europe, the United States, and Sri Lanka. It capitalises on the accessibility of former members of terrorists groups who have reintegrated into society as well as the accessibility of prisoners.

Essential duties and responsibilities
The postdoc and the doctoral students will conduct research and field work. Additionally, the postdoc will build and maintain close contacts with the academic and policy-making community in Europe and the United States.

We are looking for research proposals that will generate data that can be used for comparison. The applicants will be expected to share their data with other members of the team for joint analysis and publication.

For details of the research group see its homepage.

Your profile
Good field research skills, the ability to work in a team, and a good command of written and spoken English are required. Postdoctoral applicants should be in possession of a Ph.D. in social sciences (political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, education science, criminology, or a related discipline) or submit evidence indicating that the dissertation will be finished and submitted before the designated starting date. Applicants for a Ph.D. position should be in an equivalent situation concerning the completion of a Masters.

German language expertise is not required but learning German is encouraged. Knowledge of Arabic and/or French is an advantage.

Our offer
The PhD positions are awarded for three years. We expect our PhD students to complete a one year period of fieldwork as part of their studies.

The Postdoctoral position (TVöD E13) is offered for three years (with the possibility of a two-year extension). The TVöD position is open to scientists who have completed their doctorate.

The workplace is Halle/Saale (Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany), except when undertaking field research.

The Max Planck Society strives to employ more persons with disabilities and explicitly encourages applications. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in underrepresented fields; we thus explicitly encourage applications by women.

Please submit your application electronically by 31 October 2015 following the link for vacancies on our homepage. Applicants should send the following documentation:
• cover letter
• CV, including list of publications
• writing sample (chapter or article length)
• 1-2 page summary of Ph.D./Master thesis (as applicable)
• 2-4 page proposal (this will form a basis for discussion if the applicant is short-listed. It is anticipated that each individual study will undergo some modification to optimise the coherence of the project as a whole)
• photocopies of university degrees
• names and contact details of 2 referees 

to Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Personnel Administration Janka Diallo

Informal enquiries concerning the positions may be directed to Carolin Görzig (goerzig@eth.mpg.de).

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