PhD Research Fellow in Critical Security Studies (Media Aesthetics and Conflict)

Deadline: 31.08.2023

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a multi-campus comprehensive university at the international forefront. Our vision is to be a driving force for developing the High North.

The Northern Sami notion eallju, which means eagerness to work, sets the tone for this motive power at UiT. Along with students, staff and the wider community, we aim to utilise our location in Northern Norway and Sápmi, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio and interdisciplinary advantage to shape the future.

Our social mission is to provide research-based education of high quality, perform artistic development and carry out research of the highest international quality standards in the entire range from basic to applied. We will convey knowledge about disciplines and contribute to innovation. Our social mission unites UiT across various studies, research fields and large geographical distances. This demands good cooperation with trade and industry and civil society as well as with international partners. We will strengthen knowledge-based and sustainable development at a regional, national and international level.

Academic freedom and scientific and ethical principles form the basis for all UiT’s activities. Participation, co-determination, transparency and good processes will provide the decision-making basis we need to make wise and far-sighted priorities. Our students and staff will have the opportunity to develop their abilities and potential. Founded on academic integrity, we will be courageous, committed and generous in close contact with disciplines, people and contemporary developments.

We will demonstrate adaptability and seek good and purposeful utilisation of resources, so we are ready to meet the expectations and opportunities of the future. We will strengthen the quality and impact of our disciplines and core tasks through the following three strategic priority areas.

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education

The position

The Doctoral Research Fellowship in Critical Security Studies (focus: media aesthetics and conflict) is located at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education (HSL)Centre for Peace Studies (CPS) at the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The position is affiliated to the UiT research group The Grey Zone.

Critical Peace and Conflict Studies, including Critical Security Studies is concerned with interdisciplinary and critical theoretical and empirical understandings of peace and conflict dynamics. It promotes critique of the conventional debates about the nature of conflict and peace formation. To understand how local structures and actors can contribute to trajectories of peace or conflict, it interrogates concepts such as security (critical and classical), geopolitics (critical and classical), hybrid threats and warfare, post-liberal peace, critical localism, hybrid peace, local peace infrastructures, and alternative, bottom-up and grassroots peacebuilding. 

Working hours are reserved for research, research-related activities and research administration.

The successful candidate must reside in Tromsø and have their daily workplace at the UiT Centre for Peace Studies (CPS). The candidate must be able to start in the position within a reasonable time after receiving the offer. The successful candidate must also be willing to engage themselves in the ongoing development of Critical Peace and Conflict Studies, the Centre for Peace Studies, and UiT as a whole.

The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position. The PhD fellow position is for a period of three years and full time studies with the possibility of an extension of the appointment period. If the doctoral dissertation is submitted for appraisal within 3 years or within 3.5 years, the PhD candidate is qualified for a completion grant for either 12 or 6 months. The completion grant should be used to further qualification measures such as courses in teaching in higher education, lecturing and other relevant work at the faculty. More information about the completion grant scheme can be found here.

The position’s field of research

Trust and resilience are cornerstones of democracy (EPD 2017). The linkage between “the spirit of the people,” democracy (trust and resilience), and security warrants increased attention. The relationship between media, technology and people’s engagement influences trust and resilience.

Disinformation has increasingly played a role in destabilising societies by targeting general populations and eroding societal trust. Disinformation is designed to increase doubt and mistrust between people and their governments as well as between groups of people within a society. Innovations in digital technology and the ways in which disinformation is able to intrude and influence people’s lives are often one step ahead of people’s or society’s resilience, or ability to resist or adapt to crisis and the consequences of crisis.

This PhD contributes to the NFR financed, research project FAKENEWS, which further contributes to the research portfolio of “The Grey Zone” research group. Due to its focus and methodological framework, the project might also benefit from and/or contribute to the NFR-project FUTURES4Fishcurrently coordinated at NFH.

The FAKENEWS project examines the ways in which people are either influenced or able to resist the power of disinformation, and further examines what role people have in contributing to societal resilience and overall security.

The PhD project will focus on how phenomena such as fake news and disinformation and their potential effects and implications are collectively imagined and envisioned. Based on the insight that disinformation matters not only due to its inherent qualities and actual influence, but also due to how people believe it operates and affects both individuals and societies, the position will address the social imaginaries of research communities, policy circles, and the general public. What are generally held beliefs and ideas about Fake News, disinformation and their effects? What are the implications of these beliefs and assumptions? If we believe fake news are the problem, what important other factors might we overlook or de-emphasize? Does a general fear of media influence lead to measures that decrease trust in decision makers and authorities rather than increasing it? Is our problem description structured by imaginaries without adequate grounding in factual conditions and how do both research and policy relate to this possibility? Is there a particular aesthetics of fake news and disinformation that predisposes both perception of and responses to this phenomenon? And, finally, how do new technologies (e.g. various machine learning applications) factor into the formation and negotiation of imaginaries of fake news and disinformation?

The position can investigate social imaginaries of disinformation and media influence by analyzing 1) popular cultural representations of the phenomena, by 2) conducting interviews with policy makers and researchers, and / or by 3) conducting ananlyses of key documents pertaining to the phenomenon. In all cases, what disinformation actually is will be secondary to the question of how the phenomenon is imagined, perceived, and understood by different communities and stakeholders.

This project will draw upon a combination of methods such as interviews, observation, document analysis, and cultural analysis. It will map and systematize the imaginaries of disinformation of key research and policy communities as well as of mainstream cultural production. Intersectional analysis will determine how gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, ableism, sexual orientation, and other constructions of power-embedded identities factor into the types and qualities of the identified mental constructs.

This PhD will contribute to the FAKENEWS’ primary objective to generate a theoretical resilience framework allowing us to better understand how ideas about disinformation are created and disseminated and how such ideas, once imagined, can either facilitate or undermine the problems posed by disinformation.

The PhD project will address the following gaps in knowledge for the FAKENEWS project.

Gaps in knowledge: 

We lack knowledge about the relationship between media, imagination, and people with regard to how disinformation, its qualities, and potential implications are understood and enacted. The project will be of decisive importance for collective responses to disinformation as it analyses how (potentially misguided) ideas and imaginaries of the phenomenon emanating from policy, research, and/or popular culture might affect conceptualisations and potentially draw responses into a wrong or even counter-productive direction entailing negative ramification for societal trust;

The applicants must present a description outlining the academic basis of the PhD project. The project description shall not exceed five pages, literature references included. It must include a description of the topic, research question(s) and a reasoning of the choices. It should also indicate the methodologies to be used. The final project description will be developed in cooperation with the supervisor. Template for project description can be found here.


For further information about the position, please contact:

Professor Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv:

or Head of Department Marcela Douglas: 


This position requires a master’s degree or equivalent in media studies. Degrees or additional courses in international relations, security studies, political science, and/or peace and conflict studies is an asset. The candidate will be required to use mixed methods informed by intersectional analyses that foster and enhance our understanding of the relationship between media and audiences, and their sociopolitical impacts. Ultimately, we want to expand our knowledge on the ways in which media can be used to enhance the impacts of disinformation in society. A grounding in media studies is essential, but the work requires interest in the political impacts of media aesthetics, and an interest in the role of technology of facilitating media aesthetics. Documentation or other illustrations of interest and competency (including relevant hobbies, interest activities, volunteer work) in these related areas is an asset. Candidates near completion of their master’s degree may still apply.

Applicants must document fluency of in English and be able to work in an international environment. Nordic applicants can document their English capabilities by attaching their high school diploma. Working knowledge of Norwegian or a Scandinavian language is also beneficial.

In the assessment, the emphasis is on the applicant's potential to complete a research education based on the master's thesis or equivalent, and any other scientific work. Three (3) academic references are required with full contact details. The project description will also be considered. In addition, other experience of significance for the completion of the doctoral programme may be given consideration.

We will also emphasize motivation and personal suitability for the position.

 We are looking for candidates who:

  • Have good collaboration skills
  • Have good communication and interaction with colleagues and students
  • Wants to contribute to a good working environment

As many people as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training. If you already hold a PhD or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

Admission to the PhD programme 

For employment in the PhD position, you must be qualified for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

Admission normally requires:

  • A bachelor's degree of 180 ECTS and a master's degree of 120 ECTS, or an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS. 
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 30 ECTS for a master's degree of 120 ECTS. 
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 20 ECTS for an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS. 

UiT normally accepts higher education from countries that are part of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.

All applicants should have a grade point average of B (or equivalent) on their master’s degree in order to be admitted to the PhD programme. The grade point average also applies to 300 ECTS points integrated five-year master’s degrees, in which all courses are to be included in the grade point average. A more detailed description of admission requirements can be found here

Applicants with a foreign education will be subjected to an evaluation of whether the educational background is equal to Norwegian higher education, following national guidelines from NOKUT. Depending on which country the education is from, one or two additional years of university education may be required to fulfil admission requirements, e.g. a 4-year bachelor's degree and a 2-year master's degree. 

Inclusion and diversity

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is working actively to promote equality, gender balance and diversity among employees and students, and to create an inclusive and safe working environment. We believe that inclusion and diversity are a strength, and we want employees with different competencies, professional experience, life experience and perspectives.

If you have a disability, a gap in your CV or immigrant background, we encourage you to tick the box for this in your application. If there are qualified applicants, we invite at least one in each group for an interview. If you get the job, we will adapt the working conditions if you need it. Apart from selecting the right candidates, we will only use the information for anonymous statistics.

We offer

  • Involvement in an interesting research project 
  • Good career opportunities 
  • A good academic environment with dedicated colleagues
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective pay agreement
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund 
  • PhD Fellows are normally given a salary of 532 200 NOK/year with a 3% yearly increase

Norwegian health policy aims to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their personal finances and where they live, has access to good health and care services of equal standard. As an employee you will become member of the National Insurance Scheme which also include health care services.

More practical information about working and living in Norway can be found here.


Your application must include: 

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests
  • CV
  • Diploma for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Transcript of grades/academic record for bachelor's and master's degree
  • Explanation of the grading system for foreign education (Diploma Supplement if available)
  • Documentation of English proficiency
  • Documentation of proficiency in Norwegian or a Scandinavian language (if applicable) 
  • References with contact information
  • Master’s thesis, and any other academic works
  • Project description (five pages)

Qualification with a master’s degree is required before commencement in the position. If you are near completion of your master’s degree, you may still apply and submit a draft version of the thesis and a statement from your supervisor or institution indicating when the degree will be obtained. You must still submit your transcripts for the master’s degree with your application.

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. Diplomas and transcripts must also be submitted in the original language, if not in English or Scandinavian. If English proficiency is not documented in the application, it must be documented before starting in the position. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline. 

General information 

The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants

Remuneration for the position of PhD Fellow is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted. You will become a member of the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund, which gives you many benefits in addition to a lifelong pension: You may be entitled to financial support if you become ill or disabled, your family may be entitled to financial support when you die, you become insured against occupational injury or occupational disease, and you can get good terms on a mortgage. Read more about your employee benefits at: spk.no.

A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the PhD Fellow has already completed parts of their research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position PhD Fellow, research assistant, or the like in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years. 

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to the Personal Data Act information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication, if you have requested non-disclosure. 

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