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Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
31,076 - 38,183 a year
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Role Description


Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Department of Politics, Heslington Campus West

Salary – Grade 6 scale, £31,076 - £38,183 a year

Full Time, Fixed Term for 3 years

Reference: 5608

The University of York wishes to appoint  a 3-year Postdoctoral Fellowship, generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust as part of its Research Leadership Award (2016) to Professor. Timothy Stanton for his project Rethinking Civil Society: History, Theory, Critique.

The successful applicant will have a First degree in Politics, History, Philosophy or related discipline and a PhD in Intellectual History, History of Political Thought or related area, alongside this they must have experience of carrying out both independent and collaborative research, experience of writing up research work for publication, highly developed communication skills and the competency to make presentations. If successful you will join a team of eight doctoral and postdoctoral researchers working on this five-year project. The Fellowship is available to outstanding candidates seeking to conduct research on changing ideas of civil society in the period between Hobbes and Hegel.

In this period at least two different visions of civil society came to confront one another. One saw citizens as concerned with exercising political rule over themselves. The other saw them as relying on the authority of the state to secure the conditions under which they could pursue their economic interests.  This contest was epoch-making.  The idea that civil society is, so to speak, an emergent property of politics, or (more crudely) the state, was replaced by the idea that it is an emergent property of economy.  At the same time, the concept of the economy was transformed.  It moved beyond the Aristotelian triad of ethics, economics, and politics, and differentiated itself as an independent sphere of civil society driven by economic interests. Yet the meaning of civil society derived from Aristotle, the self-ruling community of equals, was never entirely lost.  French, German, English and Scottish writers, among whom Adam Ferguson was especially prominent, explored the idea of civil society as a political community of free citizens in a modern state even as political economy was redefining civil society as a sphere of free, self-interested individuals, separate from the state.  The successful candidate will explore the battle for the meaning or meanings of civil society in Europe and/or the Anglophone world in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the social and institutional forms with which the phrase came to be associated.  Main duties will be to conduct research under the supervision of senior colleagues and to contribute to the production of research on the meaning and history of civil society in the period between Hobbes and Hegel (c.1640-c.1832). Disciplinary interests may include, but are not restricted to, the history of political thought, intellectual history, social history and the history of philosophy and to contribute to a collaborative research project on civil society.

Applications should be made via the e-recruiter online application system on our website.  Candidates are asked to submit a statement of not more than 3000 words about the interest and importance of their research, prefaced by a short abstract of the project (no more than 250 words – this will be requested as a job specific question when completing your online application), together with an academic cv including contact details of two academic referees whom you consider to be familiar with your research and who would be appropriate assessors of your work and a covering letter.  You should also submit a sample of your research, which may take the form of an article, paper, or a chapter or chapters of the candidate’s PhD thesis.

The post is available from 1st September 2017.  Potential applications are encouraged to contact the project leader, Tim Stanton (, or its administrator, Julia Key ( for informal discussion or further information.

The University of York is an equal opportunities employer and places particular emphasis on fostering career opportunities for women. Qualified women are therefore strongly encouraged to apply as they are underrepresented in this field. Disabled persons with equivalent aptitude will be favoured.

The University of York is committed to promoting equality and diversity.

Closing date: midnight on 22 May 2017

Interviews: date to be confirmed


The University of York is committed to promoting equality and diversity



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