Graduate Institute Geneva: Postdoctoral Researcher

Job advertisements
  • PERIOD OF CONTRACT: 2 years (with the possibility of a 3rd year subject to budgetary availability).
  • ACTIVITY RATE: 70 % 
  • STARTING DATE: 01-01-2021
  • GROSS ENTRY SALARY FOR THE FIRST YEAR POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER : CHF 90 000 per annum on a full time basis, 63 000 for 70%.
  • The final salary will be based on the number of years of experience after the doctorate.

The post-doctoral researcher will contribute to the project “Gangs, Gangsters, and Ganglands: Towards a Global Comparative Ethnography” led by Prof. Dennis Rodgers and funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (no. 787935), with the primary responsibility to carry out research in the city of Marseille (France). They will be a core member of the GANGS team, associated with the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP) at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland.

About the project 

Gangs occupy a key position in the global imaginary of violence, widely perceived and represented as primary sources of brutality and insecurity. This can be related to the fact that they are one of a small number of truly global phenomena, found in almost every society across both time and space. At the same time, however, as almost 100 years of gang research have highlighted, the phenomenon can vary significantly in form, dynamics, and consequences. While there have been many insightful studies of gangs, the overwhelming majority have focused on a single group or location, and we still lack a proper sense of what kinds of gang dynamics might be general, and which ones are specific to particular times and places. The GANGS project aims to develop a systematic comparative investigation of global gang dynamics, to better understand why they emerge, how they evolve over time, whether they are associated with particular urban configurations, how and why individuals join gangs, and what impact this has on their potential futures. It will draw on original ethnographic research carried out in multiple locations, adopting a tripartite focus on “Gangs”, “Gangsters”, and “Ganglands” in order to better explore the interplay between group, individual, and contextual factors. The first will consider the organisational dynamics of gangs, the second will focus on individual gang members and their trajectories before, during, and after their involvement in a gang, while the third will reflect on the contexts within which gangs emerge and evolve. Research will combine innovative collaborative ethnography in Nicaragua, South Africa, and France, a ground-breaking comparison of individual gang member life histories from across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and unique joint ethnographic investigations into the political economy of three gang-affected cities in Nicaragua, South Africa, and France. For more information see:

Main tasks and responsibilities of the Postdoctoral Researcher

The postdoctoral researcher will work closely with the GANGS project PI, Prof. Dennis Rodgers, and the GANGS project senior researcher, Prof. Steffen Jensen (Aalborg University, Denmark), as well as the GANGS project PhD students, to develop ethnographic research relating to gang dynamics in Marseille, France. His/her main contribution will be to carry out independent research, and to put this in conversation with the independent research that will be carried out in Marseille by Profs. Rodgers and Jensen, on the one hand, and the GANGS project PhD students on the other. This research will be based on 12 months of ethnographic investigations. It is expected that the postdoctoral researcher will already have experience carrying out research in Marseille on gang dynamics or a related topic, and will be able to build on this previous research.

In addition, the postdoctoral researcher will be expected to produce high-quality single-authored and co-authored scientific publications based on this research (including contributing a gang member life history to the “Gangsters” sub-project, and co-writing a monograph on gangs in Marseille with the GANGS project PI and senior researcher), present research outputs at academic conferences and workshops, participate in GANGS project activities, and contribute to research, administrative and coordination duties associated with the GANGS project, including interim reporting to funders and the preparation of project-related events (conference, workshop, roundtable), as well as adhering to project timelines.

The candidate’s profile includes the following elements

  • Have (or be close to obtaining prior to 01-01-2021) a PhD in Anthropology, Sociology, or a closely related discipline (e.g. Geography, International Development Studies, Criminology, [qualitative] Political Science);
  • Demonstrated ability to carry out ethnographic research;
  • Experience of empirical research in Marseille;
  • Expertise in an area of enquiry related to the GANGS project (e.g. urban anthropology, anthropology of violence; crime and delinquency; policing);
  • Highly organized and capable of working autonomously;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work in an international team;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in both French and English (knowledge of Spanish would be an asset).

How to apply

To apply, please submit here a letter of motivation, your complete CV with your publication list, a writing sample (e.g. thesis chapter or article), two letters of recommendation, as well as a research proposal (max. 5 pages) specifying how you would like to contribute to the project. The deadline for applications is Friday, 30 September 2020. Interviews will be held as soon as possible thereafter. Application must be submitted via the Graduate Institute’s online job application platform. Please note that offers received by post will not be considered. Informal inquiries about the position can be directed (in French or English) to Prof. Dennis Rodgers (dennis.rodgers(at)