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Doctoral fellowship in the ERC Consolidator project “SOCSEMICS” (online bubbles and user confinement

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : USR3130-CAMROT-005
Workplace :
Date of publication : Thursday, January 10, 2019
Scientific Responsible name : Camille Roth
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 March 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 1 768,55 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

This doctoral fellowship takes place in the context of the ERC Consolidator project “SOCSEMICS” (“Socio-Semantic Bubbles of Internet Communities”), led by Camille Roth and funded by the European Research Council from 2018 until 2023.

SOCSEMICS aims at studying the possible existence in digital public spaces of so-called “bubbles”, or fragmented, polarized communities, by adopting a dual socio-semantic framework — i.e., appraising jointly both the interactional and informational confinement of users. It further aims at addressing a series of fundamental questions pertaining to the existence, structure and dynamics of such bubbles: how to define and appraise them empirically, how do they form and emerge, which types of topics, claims and actors are mobilized in which of them, which bridges or bottlenecks may interconnect them and, at a higher level, what is the meta-structure of bubbles, what kind of qual-quantitative studies may result from this new type of approach and what role may algorithms play in these processes ?

SOCSEMICS spans several disciplinary fields. The proposed fellowships may accordingly be attributed to applicants originating from a variety of areas, including:
(i) social modeling (including computational social science, social network analysis, social complex system modeling);
(ii) computational linguistics and natural language processing} (including automatic information extraction from text corpuses and automatic clause analysis, semantic graphs and hypergraphs);
(iii) sociology of online communities or sociology of public spaces (including the study of online public spaces, issues related to the effect of algorithms and the emergence of an algorithmic society);
(iv) information visualization (especially of network and/or hybrid social/semantic data).

Work Context

Successful applicants would join the computational social science team under the supervision of Camille Roth at Centre Marc Bloch (http://cmb.huma-num.fr) in Berlin, Germany (UMIFRE 14, a dual unit of CNRS and the French Foreign Affairs Ministry). The working language is indifferently English, French or German. A good command of English is however necessary, and fluency in either French or German would be very appreciable.
Work may start soon after successful selection or later in 2019, depending on candidate availability and constraints related to the application process at the selected doctoral school. In this respect, successful applicants will be invited to apply to and enrol in a doctoral school corresponding to the discipline of their dissertation topic (for instance: in social sciences, at EHESS in Paris and/or Freie Universität Berlin; in computational sciences, at EDITE of Paris, one of the doctoral schools of Sorbonne Universités).

In practice, the doctoral topic could focus on one of the challenges of SOCSEMICS, such as: (i) developing a comprehensive theory of reinforcing and self-sustaining socio-semantic communities by appraising the social, semantic and socio-semantic realms simultaneously; (ii) drastically improving content analysis by replacing classical distributional approaches with clause analysis, thus enabling quantitative approaches rendering the linguistic complexity of utterances in web corpuses; (iii) fostering the interface between these methods and qualitative approaches, especially through a couple of broad case studies; (iv) developing interactive platforms implementing the above innovations and facilitating digital social research.

Additional Information

Applications must be directly submitted to the so-called “portail emploi” (employment portal) of CNRS accessible at the following URL: https://emploi.cnrs.fr
A more detailed job offer in PDF format is available on the "job offer" section of the team website at: http://cmb.huma-num.fr
Nonetheless, more information on the adequacy of a given applicant's profile may be sought by contacting Camille Roth (roth@cmb.hu-berlin.de).

Applications should include a cover letter, a resume and a brief research statement / proposal in the framework of SOCSEMICS (up to three pages), and demonstrate a strong ability to innovate autonomously.

The doctoral fellowship is a work contract of 36 months with a gross monthly salary of €1,768, which may be complemented by a significant expatriation bonus.

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