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Doctoral researcher in Sociology/Science&Technology Studies

Thursday, September 10, 2015   (0 Comments)
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The department of Sociology at Ghent University, Belgium, invites applications for a doctoral research fellow position in the field of Sociology/Science & Technology Studies.


Title of the project:

Giving blood, doing blood: The performances and politics of blood in the blood economy


Project description:

While the use of blood in medicine is a mundane practice, the donation of blood for transfusion continues to have a high symbolic value. In spite of the global promotion of voluntary non- remunerated blood donation, this ‘gift model’ is under increasing pressure as a result of recent developments in the collection and deployment of blood: relying on voluntary donors could not prevent contamination of blood, and the expansion of applications in medicine and research has increased blood’s potential for commercial exchange on a global scale. These developments lead us to ask anew what it exactly means to give and receive blood in the present ‘blood economy’?

While existing research has mainly focused on (1) donor accounts and (2) institutional and organizational accounts of the blood collection system, we propose a ‘blood-centred account’ that takes the substance of blood itself as the main unit of analysis, following its multiple shapes and meanings through the complex blood economy. More specific, the research has two main objectives: (1) to analyze the multiple meanings and performances of donated blood within the blood economy; (2) to gain insight into the political mechanisms that coordinate the multiple realities of blood in the blood economy. The empirical research involves an in-depth qualitative case study of the blood economy. The empirical research consists of ethnographic observations of key practices and qualitative interviews with key actors in the blood economy.

The project is firmly embedded in the field of Science and Technology Studies, but also relates to the fields of: social policy, with a particular focus on theoretical and empirical contributions that relate to Titmuss’s classic work on the gift relationship; political sociology and citizenship studies; medical sociology; sociology of risk; and organizational theory.

The research is funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen). The researcher will be employed by Ghent University and will be based at the Department of Sociology.


Job description:

·        To conduct doctoral research as part of a fundamental research project funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders;

·        To take charge of the research design, data collection and data analysis;

·        To further develop one’s theoretical knowledge and methodological skills through participation in courses offered by the UGent Doctoral Schools and other (inter)national PhD workshops;

·        To build contacts with societal actors involved in the collection and processing of blood, as well as in policy and public debate on the matter;

·        Participation in the international research community through presentations of results at national and international conferences;

·        To publish the results of the research in international, peer-reviewed journals and as part of the doctoral dissertation;

·        To participate in research-related tasks within the Department of Sociology;

·        To guard research ethics related to the research activities.



·        To have obtained a Master degree in Sociology or a related field with at least one degree of distinction;

·        To have a strong interest in the field of Science and Technology Studies and to be prepared to go beyond strict disciplinary thinking, to be able to work at the intersection of different disciplines, research domains and theoretical approaches;

·        To have a strong interest and preferably demonstrable experience with qualitative research, in particular ethnographic research;

·        To have a good mastery of (academic) English;

·        To have good writing skills;

·        To be able to work independently and show initiative;

·        To have good social skills and to function well in a team.


We offer:

·        Full-time employment, based on a temporary contract with possibility for extension after positive evaluation.

·        Location of employment: Department of Sociology, Ghent University, Belgium.

·        Preferable start of the employment: November 2015.



Please send your CV and a letter of motivation to the promotors of the project, prof. dr. Lesley Hustinx, mail: and dr. Michiel De Krom, mail:, by September 21, 2015


After a pre-selection, the selection procedure will consist of a short writing assignment that will be sent to applicants on September 23. Applicants are asked to foresee enough time for the assignment from September 23 until September 25. The interviews will be held on September 28, 29 or 30.


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