Research Associate – Project ‘Mimesis In Action: Nuclear Decommissioning As Conceptual Playground For Societal And Ecological Future Making’

University of Manchester

A francophone Research Associate is required to work on the ESRC-funded project, ‘Mimesis in action: nuclear decommissioning as conceptual playground for societal and ecological future making’, directed by Dr Petra Tjitske KALSHOVEN in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Manchester [UoM].

The post starts on 1 May 2023 and the contract is for 3 years. The Research Associate will be based in the Department of Social Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences.

The Project

‘Mimesis in Action’ is an interdisciplinary, comparative inquiry into the assumptions people make when they try to prepare for the future in contexts of uncertainty. We want to understand what these assumptions are, in which root metaphors and moral frameworks they are grounded, and how they enhance or hamper imaginations of the future. We are particularly interested in the role that mimetic practices of modelling play in exploring, or ‘taming’, the future, and we experiment with modelling ourselves. The project draws on ethnographic fieldwork in four different settings in Europe that are actively engaged in future planning, namely, areas where nuclear decommissioning or nuclear waste management takes place.

Nuclear decommissioning involves major engineering and infrastructural works. It involves many years of retrieving and storing nuclear waste that will remain radioactive for thousands of years. It requires fundamental decisions about caring for wastes, living organisms, and landscapes. By combining research expertise in social anthropology, foresight studies, and ecology in studying four research settings in England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands, the project explores articulations between short-term socioeconomic and long-term ecosystemic drivers in post-nuclear future making. Engagement with local discussion partners in conversations, exhibitions, and experimental workshops is meant to lead to ethnographic and theoretical insights, but also to tangible outputs: we will co-design site-specific templates that can be used in modelling and imagining a range of potential societal and ecological landscapes for the future.

Working as an intellectual sparring partner to the P.I., you will be part of an international interdisciplinary team whose ambitions include both theoretical and public engagement impacts. You will develop your own research agenda relevant to the project, work on enhancing your publication profile, and participate in the project’s workshop and exhibition design and delivery, whilst providing research support and administrative assistance to the P.I. and the research team. A self-starter with a taste for experimentation, you will carry out two periods of six months of autonomous ethnographic fieldwork in France (in 2023 and 2024), organising and facilitating collaborative workshops with local discussion partners.

Interview dates will be the 23rd and 24th of March

As an equal opportunities employer we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of age, sex, gender (or gender identity), ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status.  All appointments are made on merit.

Our University is positive about flexible working – you can find out more here

Blended working arrangements may be considered               

Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Name: Dr Petra Tjitske KALSHOVEN

Email: [email protected]

General enquiries:

Email: [email protected]

Technical support:

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.

Please see the link below for the Further Particulars document which contains the person specification criteria.

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