4 MIN READ | Editor's Choice

3 PhD Vacancies Mind the Body, Tilburg University, Netherlands

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, (2017, April 12). 3 PhD Vacancies Mind the Body, Tilburg University, Netherlands. Psychreg on Editor's Choice. https://www.psychreg.org/phd-netherlands/
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The Department of Culture Studies invites applications for three four-year PhD positions (1,0 fte) starting 01 September 2017. These three PhD positions are funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), by means of a VICI grant for the research project Mind the Body: Rethinking embodiment in healthcare (principal investigator: Professor Dr Jenny Slatman).

Description of the general programme

In current healthcare, health problems are categorised as either somatic or psychological. The result of this dualistic categorisation is that the body is reduced to a biological or neurological thing. This project intends to provide an alternative theory of the body in health care. It will explore the meaning of the body against the background of current theoretical discussions on materialism, while also examining practices that target three major health problems: (1) Medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS), (2) Obesity, and (3) Depression. These cases are each in their own way marked by a problematic dualistic legacy, and this calls for alternative views and vocabularies on embodiment.

This philosophical, anthropological research involves a twofold approach: (1) reflection on various theoretical, medical and cultural sources (2) collection and analysis of data (participatory observation, interviews). Researchers in this project are therefore supposed to have excellent theoretical and philosophical skills, a profound interest in health care practices and, preferably, some experience in empirical research. Since the entire project is interdisciplinary, candidates with a double background are urgently invited to apply.

Description of the 3 PhD projects

PhD Project 1: The meaning of embodiment in MUPS. This PhD-project involves the exploration of the way embodiment is experienced, framed and staged in so-called medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) and its treatment. It comprises of two subprojects: (1) one subproject involves ethnographic research of haptonomy and osteopathy practices related to MUPS (observations, in-depth interviews with patients and professionals); (2) the other subproject involves the analysis of patients’ views and experiences of MUPS such as they are narrated in literary texts and online texts.

Requirements PhD Project 1:

  • Master in Culture Studies, Medical Anthropology, Medical Humanities, Philosophy or another relevant field.
  • Interest in and feeling for qualitative empirical research, and for analyses of literary and online texts.
  • Excellent mastery of English in speech and in writing; sufficient mastery of Dutch (in order to conduct interviews with Dutch people)
  • Excellent analytical skills, and commitment to conducting innovative research at the intersection of humanities, social sciences and health care practices.

PhD Project 2: The Meaning of the body and embodiment in obesity. This project explores how people with overweight or obesity experience their body, prior, during and after treatment. The researcher will investigate two different treatment trajectories: weight loss surgery and an exercise on prescription programme. For this, the researcher will (1) conduct a longitudinal ethnographic study at one of the clinics of the Dutch Obesity Centre (NOK) (observation and in-depth interviews with professionals and patients); and (2) the researcher will conduct a participatory empirical research of people who have a prescription for De Beweegkuur: a lifestyle intervention programme (exercising and psychological counselling) which aims at losing weight (observations, interviews with professionals and participants, participation in exercising programme).

Requirements PhD Project 2:

  • Master in Philosophy, Medical Anthropology, Medical Sociology, Medical Humanities or another relevant field.
  • Willingness and (physical) ability to actively participate in an exercise programme (no experience in exercising is required)
  • Interest in and feeling for qualitative empirical research.
  • Excellent mastery of English in speech and in writing; sufficient mastery of Dutch (in order to conduct interviews with Dutch people, and to mingle with Dutch-speaking people in an exercise class).
  • Excellent analytical skills, and commitment to conducting innovative research at the intersection of humanities, social sciences and health care practices.

PhD Project 3: The Meaning of the body and embodiment in depression. It is a widespread belief that depression is caused by a serotonin shortage in the brain and that treatment should therefore aim at restoring the chemical balance in the brain. This project aims at exploring what these therapies actually bring about in people’s embodied experiences—apart from the question what they do or not do in the brain. For this, the researcher will conduct (1) an empirical study on how people suffering from a mild depression experience their body while using antidepressants (interviews); and (2) the researcher will conduct a participatory ethnography of running therapy sessions (participation in running, observations, interviews with participants and instructors).

Requirements PhD Project 3:

  • Master in Philosophy, Medical Anthropology, Medical Sociology or another relevant field.
  • Willingness and (physical) ability to actively participate in a running therapy trajectory (no experience in running is required)
  • Interest in and feeling for qualitative empirical research.
  • Excellent mastery of English in speech and in writing; sufficient mastery of Dutch (in order to conduct interviews with Dutch people, and to mingle with Dutch speaking people in a running therapy group)
  • Excellent analytical skills, and commitment to conducting innovative research at the intersection of humanities, social sciences and healthcare practices.

Department

The candidates will be member of the Department of Culture Studies in Tilburg School of Humanities (TSH). The Department’s research focuses on cultural and social transformations in our contemporary globalised world. Next to the Culture Studies Department, the School of Humanities accommodates the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Communication and Information Sciences, and the University College Tilburg.

Terms of employment

Tilburg University is rated among the top Dutch employers, offering excellent terms of employment. The collective labour agreement of Tilburg University applies.The PhD candidates will be ranked in the Dutch university job ranking system (UFO) as a PhD student (promovendus) with a starting salary of € 2191, gross per month in the first year, up to € 2801, in the fourth year (full-time position). The selected candidates will start with a contract for one year, concluded by an evaluation. Upon a positive outcome of the first year evaluation, the candidate will be offered an employment contract for the remaining three years. Employment starts on 1 September, 2017. The selected candidates are expected to have written a PhD thesis by the end of the contract.

General information

For more information, please contact the project leader: Professor Dr Jenny Slatman (j.slatman@tilburguniversity). Applications for one of the positions should consist of an application letter and a curriculum vitae. Please send your application no later than the 10 May, 11.59 pm (CET). Please mention the number(s) and title(s) of the PhD project(s) you apply for. You can only apply online by following this link. Shortlisted candidates are asked for a writing sample, and for completing a short assignment (data analysis of a given research-interview excerpt). Interviews with shortlisted candidates will be held in week 25 (19-23 June).

Jenny Slatman
Professor of Medical Humanities
Tilburg University
School of Humanities
Department Culture Studies
PO Box 90153
5000 LE Tilburg, Netherlands
http://www.jennyslatman.nl/


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