Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

Call for postdoctoral (R2) candidates interested in applying for an MSCA Individual Fellowship in Political Science

    27/05/2021 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    Sweden, Karlstad
    Karlstad University

Karlstad University, Sweden (KAU) has established a process to recruit excellent 'Recognised Researchers' (R2) under the Marie Skƚodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF) programme. With this call we are inviting expressions of interest from researchers within the field of Political Science. These expressions of interest will be assessed at KAU, and one candidate will be selected to write a proposal for a 24-month MSCA-IF, to be hosted at KAU.

This call is one of six from pre-selected research environments. Successful candidates in this ‘expression of interest’ call will be invited to join an introductory Zoom session with KAU supervisors and other candidates in mid-June 2021. At this session, the candidates will present their research, discuss project plans with their potential supervisor, and receive advice on how to write a successful MSCA-IF application. The selected candidates will, in cooperation with their supervisor, write an application to be submitted in the 2021 MSCA-IF call (projected deadline 15 September 2021).

The MSCA IF in Political Science will be supervised at KAU by Professor Malin Rönnblom. Professor Rönnblom describes her research interests below:

Democracy as we know it is put under pressure, and we have come a long way from what Francis Fukuyama in 1989 called “The end of history”. In his recent book on identity politics (2018), he states that he did not foresee that the threats to democracy should come from within established democracies themselves. The elections of Trump as president of the USA, Bolsonaro in Brazil and Orbán in Hungary proved him wrong, and contemporary social science research is to an increasing extent focusing on what could be regarded as more direct threats to democracy – right-wing populism and post-truth activism challenging the accepted forms and rules of democratic governing.


With no intention to dismiss this field of research, my research evolves around the nexus of governing, power and politics when contemporary forms of democracy are called out. Here, the point of departure is the more “silent threats” to democracy, through new forms of governing like economisation and marketisation. Of special interest is how digitalisation and artificial intelligence (AI) in a broad sense, i.e. all forms of data-driven capacity-building, are built into governing practices. Here, central themes are the relations between public and private actors in how AI are controlled and implemented in the public sphere, as well as the effects of AI and data-driven governance for how a democratic political system is to be organised. In order to bring these analyses of how contemporary forms of democracy are challenged, my work also involves expanding democratic theory. Hence, I am not just interested in studying how current forms of democracy are challenged, but also to give a normative contribution to how a working democracy for the future could be articulated.


Theoretically, my research is broadly informed by a Foucauldian understanding of power, more precise Foucault’s framework on governmentality (c.f. Walters 2012), Wendy Browns understanding of neoliberal forms of governing (2019), Chantal Mouffe’s take on (de)politicisation (2005), and Carol Bacchi’s critical take on policy analysis (2016; 2009). I also see feminist political theory as well as critical perspectives on class, place, sexuality and race, as central for my research.

I especially welcome applications in the following three areas:

  • The relations between on the one hand the implementation of AI and other forms of digitalisation and, on the other hand, governing processes and forms of democracy.
  • The marketization of the public sector and the political and democratic effects of new forms of governing.
  • The involvement of private consultants in policy-making and policy implementation.




Bacchi, C. and Goodwin, S. 2016. Poststructural Policy Analysis: A Guide to Practice. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Bacchi, C. 2009. Analysing Policy: What’s the Problem Represented to be? Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education.

Brown, W. (2019) In the Ruins of Neoliberalism. The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West. New York: Columbia University Press.

Fukuyama, F. (2018) Identity. Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition. London: Profile Books.

Mouffe, C. (2005.) On the Political. Abingdon: Routledge.

Runciman, D. (2018) How Democracy Ends. London: Profile Books Ltd.

Walters, W. (2012) Governmentality. Critical Encounters. London: Routledge.


Eligibility criteria

The applicant must be an R2 'Recognised Researcher'. By the time of the 2021 MSCA-IF application deadline (provisionally 15 September), they must be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research experience. The applicant can be of any nationality and must not have spent more than 12 months in Sweden in the three years immediately prior to 15 September 2021.



Please send your CV (max. three pages), a covering letter explaining why you wish to apply for an MSCA-IF at KAU (one page) and an outline for a research project that would strengthen and complement the presented research profile (max. 1000 words) as attachments to GIO@kau.se by 27 May 2021. Selected candidates will be informed by 10 June. Please include "KAU MSCA 2021" in the subject line of your email.


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