Call for applications for a funded PhD position studying black middle class in South Africa

Call for applications for a funded PhD position in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki:

An Academy of Finland-funded project is searching for a PhD student, who has an MA in anthropology and relevant research experience, preferably in South Africa. The funding period is three years and four months, and the successful candidate is to begin work on the project in early 2017, or by June 2017 at the latest. S/he is to affiliate her-/himself with the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki.

Project, position and duties

The position exists within a project titled “The Morality of Success among the Emerging Black Middle Class in South Africa”. This project investigates the aims, practices and moral values of different segments of the emerging Black middle class in South Africa. It contributes to two main bodies of scholarly literature: the social scientific research on the values of the Black middle class and the anthropological research on morality. The project employs one (already identified) post-doctoral researcher in addition to the PhD student to be selected through this call.

The successful candidate will be required to undertake the collection of research material in South Africa and the writing of a PhD dissertation based upon this material. We are seeking a candidate with a proven track record in anthropology, and relevant research experience, ideally in South Africa. The successful candidate will conduct research on the practices and values of persons who belong to the new or the emerging Black middle class. The time reserved for field work in South Africa is 10-12 months.

In addition to completing his/her doctoral studies, the successful candidate will be expected to participate in the teaching of anthropology. The successful candidate will affiliate herself/himself with the unit of Anthropology and the Doctoral Program of Social Sciences and, with the exception of fieldwork and holiday periods, will be required to reside in the Helsinki area for the duration of the project. The working language of the project will be English.

The salary will be EUR 2300 per month. The appointment starts with a probationary period of four months.

Eligibility and applying

A doctoral student applicant must hold a Master’s degree with a strong passing grade and have a preliminary research plan submitted with the application. Other requirements include demonstrated ability and motivation to pursue doctoral studies according to the approved study plan.

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents:

–       Preliminary research plan including most relevant references (maximum length 5 pages);
–       Curriculum Vitae including a possible list of publications (maximum length 2 pages);
–       MA certificate and a transcript of grades
–       Description of the current stage of the dissertation work and motivational statement (maximum length 1 page);
–       Two academic references from persons who know the applicant’s work.

All qualifications and references will be carefully validated.

Further details on the University of Helsinki’s Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences are available online here:

For practical details on studying at the University of Helsinki see here:

Please submit your application by 31 January, 2017.

Send your application by email, with all the above-listed attachments, to the two following persons: the Principal Investigator of the project, Tuulikki Pietilä (<>) and project’s post-doctoral researcher, Ibrahim Abraham (<>).

Further information about the position may be obtained from Tuulikki Pietilä.


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