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Call for applications for post-doc research on the discursive construction of peace

Call for applications for post-doc fellows, for research on the discursive construction of peace.

Charles University (Czech Republic) will make a limited number of Post-Doctoral Fellowships available, financed through its JUNIOR Fund. Post-Doctoral Fellows will be engaged to work on a project taking no longer than 2 years (24 months) of full-time employment. The scholarship will be around 2400 Euro per month.

Scholarships will be awarded for projects in different thematic areas, one of which is the "discursive construction of peace", with Nico Carpentier as its supervisor, who is affiliated to Charles University's Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism (ICSJ) and in particular to the Culture and Communication Research Centre (CULCORC).

This call is for candidates who wish to work within the domain of discursive construction of peace (from a post-structuralist perspective), and who want to submit a credible proposal in this thematic area. More information about the exact nature of this theme can be found below.

Potential candidates are strongly recommended to consult with the supervisor, Nico Carpentier (at nico.carpentier@fsv.cuni.cz), before submitting their final application to him.

Time table:
* Deadline for final applications sent to Nico Carpentier: July 24, 2024
* Deadline for these applications to be submitted to the Faculty: July 26, 2024
* First selection (nomination by the respective Faculties): August 5, 2024
* Second selection (University Committee): September 2024
* Decision by Rector: September 2024
* Position available from (if selected): January 1, 2025

Prerequisites (https://cuni.cz/UKEN-178.html#10):
* The applicant must be a resident of a country different than the Czech Republic.
* Applicants of Czech and Slovak nationality are also eligible to apply for financial support from the Fund if they have successfully completed their doctoral studies at a non-Czech/Slovak university.
* At the time of submission the applicant must have completed Ph.D. studies outside the Czech Republic.
* No more than 5 years must have elapsed since the completion of the applicant’s Ph.D. at the time of filing the application. The time-limit may be extended by the time spent on maternity or paternity leave.
* The applicant can not be qualified for an associate professorship (habilitation) prior to the application deadline.

Charles University reserves the right not to select any candidate.

Required application documents:
(see https://cuni.cz/UKEN-178.html#10 for templates)
* Application Form (use template 1)
* Letter of Reference: written even by the supervisor in the PhD programme or by a researcher/head of establishment, where the applicant completed the doctoral study (use template 2).
* Professional Curriculum Vitae, including the commented list of up to 5 most important publications. Please specify your research contribution and input to each publication (all together max. 2 pages A4)
* Copy of University Diploma or Provisional certificate of completion of PhD studies or another official confirmation, that the applicant has been awarded PhD Degree.

More information:
* About JUNIOR Fund: https://cuni.cz/UKEN-178.html
* All thematic areas at the Faculty of Social Sciences: https://fsv.cuni.cz/en/exchange/academics/incoming-academics/junior-post-doc-fund
* Nico Carpentier: http://nicocarpentier.net/
* ICSJ: https://iksz.fsv.cuni.cz/en/
* CULCORC: https://culcorc.fsv.cuni.cz/


Theme: The discursive construction of peace

Short summary:

With Europe being more and more confronted with armed conflict at (and within) its borders, peace has become materially, but also conceptually elusive, often only negatively defined—as war’s opposite—without much substance. This project is embedded in the discursive-constructionist approaches to war (e.g., Jabri 1996) in order to study a particular conflict-related setting to better understand how peace is defined, as, for instance, an unreachable utopia or a legitimation of war.

Description and intellectual context:

Although the materialist perspectives on war dominate the field of conflict studies, Keen (1986), Jabri (1996), Mansfield (2008) and Demmers (2012) have recognized the importance of the discursive dimension of violence, conflict and war (Carpentier, 2017, p. 160-162).
These authors have pleaded for taking this discursive dimension seriously, because, as Keen (1986, p. 10) wrote: “In the beginning we create the enemy. Before the weapon comes the image. We think others to death and then invent the battle-axe or the ballistic missiles with
which to actually kill them.” Or, as Jabri (1996, p. 23) wrote: “[…] knowledge of human phenomena such as war is, in itself, a constitutive part of the world of meaning and practice.” Of course, the psychological and linguistic dimensions of war have received considerable attention, even in some of the key theoretical conflict models, as is exemplified by Galtung’s conflict triangle model (Galtung, 2009). But the discursive – used here in the macro-textual and macro-contextual meaning it receives in discourse theory (Laclau; Mouffe, 1985, p. 105; Carpentier, 2017, p. 16-17) – argues for the importance of a broader dimension, which is located at the epistemological level.

The previous paragraph also highlights the significatory relationship between war and peace. In particular, peace has proven to be difficult to be conceptualized without reference to war. Biletzki raises this point in the following terms: "'War and Peace' is the ultimate posit which grounds the concept of peace in a dichotomous definition. In the effort to define, explain, explicate, illustrate and finally understand peace it is natural to ask what peace is not. […] This binary, even exclusionary, use of both terms, ‘war’ and ‘peace’, constitutes their meaning, almost of necessity […]" (Biletzki, 2007, p. 347). Although it is possible to construct a language-game of peace without the signifier war, we need to acknowledge that the signifier war is often used in peace discourses (and the other way around). Basic definitions of war and peace, also used in academic literature, often set up these two signifiers in an oppositional relationship, allocating a primary defining role to war, defining peace as “the absence of war” (or, of armed conflict) (Matsuo, 2007, p. 16). Still, in the field of peace studies, ample attention has been spent on developing a more autonomous definition of peace, where, for instance, Galtung (1964; 1969) – one of the founders of this field – uses the concept of structural violence, which includes such conditions as poverty, humiliation, political repression and the denial of self determination that limits the human potential for self-realization. ‘Positive peace’ then becomes defined as the transcendence of these conditions to assure non-violence and social justice.

Post-structuralist approaches allow us to argue that we construct knowledge about peace (and war) through discursive-ideological frameworks, that are not so much located at the individual-interactional level, but at the social level. Discourses of peace are frameworks of intelligibility – ways of knowing peace – which are available to individual subjects for identification (or disidentification), but that are also inherently contingent and fluid. This does not mean that there is a multitude of ever-changing discourses, with meanings neurotically floating around. It means that there are several, always particular, ways of thinking peace, which are in themselves never perfect copies of the Real, but imperfect representations, bound to always somehow fail. In some cases, this failure to represent – to incorporate events or ideas – can threaten the integrity of discourse, and can, to use a discourse-theoretical term, dislocate it. Moreover, these discourses also engage with each other in struggles, and sometimes become dominant (or hegemonic) and sedimented through these discursive struggles. Even then, no hegemony is total and necessarily lasts forever; hegemonic discourses can become politicized again and dragged into a new political-discursive struggle, that might alter or destroy them.

This call focusses on projects that study a particular conflict-related setting to better understand how peace is discursively constructed. This implies that project proposals will need to (1) highlight the exact theoretical framework (within the post-structuralist tradition) that will be used, (2) specify and contextualize the conflict-related setting that will be studied, (3) specify the types of signifying machines that will be studied (e.g., news media, popular culture, memorials, art, museums, ...), (4) describe and motivate the research questions, corpus and research design, and methodology that will be used, (5) include a time plan, allocating sufficient time to the academic dissemination of the results, (6) and motivate the collaboration with ICSJ and CULCORC.

(Text from:
CARPENTIER, NICO, KEJANLIOĞLU, D. BEYBIN (2020) The Militarization of a Public Debate: A Discourse-Theoretical Analysis of the Construction of War and Peace in Public Debates Surrounding the Books of Three Turkish Military Commanders on the “1974 Cyprus Peace Operation”, Revista de Comunicação Dialógica, 3: 107-139.)

Workplace: Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University)
Supervisor: doc. Nico Carpentier, Ph.D.
E-mail: nico.carpentier@fsv.cuni.cz

Applicants must submit all required documents to nico.carpentier@fsv.cuni.cz