Post-doctoral position opening in communication sciences (24 months)

Institute of Language and Communication (ILC) – UCLouvain

The Institute for Language and Communication – UCLouvain (Belgium) has an opening for a post-doctoral researcher (24 months).

This post-doctoral project will be part of a multidisciplinary project that aims to investigate socio-cognitive conflicts in online educational platforms (MOOCS) (see description here: In particular, the post-doctoral research will focus on the communicative constitution of controversial debates.  

Current research on the rhetoric of controversies focuses on so-called “micro moves” of participants. Micro moves refer to the types of utterances that are typical of controversial debates (e.g., proof, refutation, politeness).Researchers typically divide a debate into separate communication events which are then analyzed in isolation to identify patterns of micro acts recursively. These studies result in a very rich typology of action patterns that typify controversial debates. Yet, in so doing, researchers often lose sight of the way these ephemeral and local communicative events are scaled up to shape longer lasting and stabilized forms of controversial debate over time and space. In other words, we need to investigate the links between micro moves and their cumulative effects on the controversial dynamic understood as “specific, localized intersections of discursive sites and momentary opportunities” (Phillips, 1999 p.493).  

Researchers studying online debates tend to inventory and categorize the arguments of each stakeholder group in order to highlight their cumulative effects. This type of methodology aggregates events to highlight polarization in a debate or to classify stances. However, this perspective neglects the relational, sequential and longitudinal constitution of those stances and polarization. 

In this project, we posit that by combining both micro and macro perspectives, we will be able to map controversial debate as an unfolding process. Hence our project aims to answer the following questions:  

  1.   How do controversial debates unfold? (« zooming out ») (RQ1) 

2. Within controversial debates, how do micro moves perform the following functions: triggering, stabilizing, transforming and closing? (“zooming in”) (RQ2) 

Key outcomes and responsibilities 

·  Develop and test methodological solutions in order to map controversial debates (network studies) 

·  Identify and analyze the role of communicative events in the unfolding of controversial debates 

·  Support and foster team-work 

·  Help in the coordination of the whole project 

·   Participate to international conferences 

·   Publish in international peer-review journals 

Selection criteria 

·                   PhD in communication sciences1 (preferably defended before October 2019) 

·                   Excellent knowledge of communicative constitution of organization research (CCO) 

·                   Strong experience in conversational and/or network analysis of constitutive communication events 

·                   Broad scientific interest beyond own field (e.g., linguistics, psychology, management, and education) 

·                   Strong intrinsic motivation, perseverance in the face of adversity 

·                   Ability to work both in autonomy and in team 

·                   Candidates should be fluent in English and/or French 

·                   As data are both in French and English, a very good level in a second language is a strongadditional asset. 

Terms and conditions 

The appointment will initially be for 12 months and if evaluated positively extended with 1 additional year. The net monthly salary is +/- 2500 EUR. The starting date is the 1st of October 2019. 

Eligibility: the candidate must have spent (lived, studied, worked) maximum 24 months in Belgium during the last 36 months.  


Enquiries and applications should be sent to Prof. François Lambotte 

Application files must be sent no later than June 10, 2019 and should include a motivation letter, the CV of the candidate, and a copy of any paper (published or in preparation) mentioned in the CV.  

Candidates selected based on their application will be invited for an interview in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) or via Skype on June 24 or 26, 2019 (applicants are invited to save the dates).  

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

I accept that my given data and my IP address is sent to a server in the USA only for the purpose of spam prevention through the Akismet program.More information on Akismet and GDPR.

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.