Opening for 3 Post-doctoral research positions each starting on November 2017, of which 2 positions will be held at the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern (Switzerland) for a period of 36 months each and one position at the School of Agricultural Policy and Development of the University of Reading (United Kingdom) for a period of 42 months, within the ERC Consolidator Grant funded project “Indigenous Communities, Land Use and tropical Deforestation” (INCLUDE).
ABOUT THE PROJECT INCLUDE
Tropical deforestation is an important contributor to climate change, through the release of significant amounts of carbon in the atmosphere. The main proximate cause of deforestation is agricultural expansion, followed by resource extraction. This project looks at the problem of deforestation in the Argentinean dry Chaco in the province of Salta (the Chaco Salteño). The Chaco Salteño, part of the Great American Chaco (the second largest tropical forest in the American continent after the Amazon), experiences one of the fastest deforestation rates in the world (on average about 2 football fields per minute over 1970-2015), represents an important agricultural frontier (with over 6 million ha of forest left) and hosts significant ethnic and cultural diversity, including both ‘criollos’ (small scale livestock farmers of European descent) and indigenous peoples (IPs).
In the first year of the project, which started in November 2016, the involved researchers have been collecting information to understand the institutional context, with particular attention to the legal framework (both at federal and provincial level) regarding land use, deforestation, agriculture and IPs communal land rights. The post-doctoral researchers are expected to bring the work forward, by working on three macro-objectives (MOs). includeproject.wordpress.com
Tasks/Nature of the Job
The objective here is to characterize, for an appropriate number of selected communities, the existing land tenure regime and the associated governance structure (i.e., who are the key stakeholders/actors involved). We anticipate the existence of different set of actors with conflicting interests. On one hand, there are actors who are directly affected by a certain configuration of land rights (e.g., IPs communities, criollos farmers, large-scale farmers). On the other hand, there are actors who have the ability to promote specific land rights configurations (e.g., public administrations, NGOs). We intend to adopt social network analysis (SNA) to identify pivotal actors and characterize the relationship between them. We will select communities in the departments of Rivadavia and San Martin in the province of Salta, where land tenure rights vary. Communities will be selected in order to ensure variability with respect to: 1) the degree to which IPs communal land rights are de-facto implemented and 2) the degree of deforestation. The main data collection phase is expected to take place over two consecutive years, starting in April 2018. Hypotheses to the governance of land tenure can be linked through SNA to power inequalities, instrumental ties, brokerage, leadership, polarization and conflict clusters. Coupled with other data this part of the project will address questions of deforestation as they are associated to governance and regulation regimes.
The main data collection is expected to take place over two consecutive years, commencing in April 2018. The post-doc expert will work in collaboration with researchers from MO2 and MO3 and will assist with identifying valid methods for collecting and analysing relational data. They should be able to oversee local research assistants and contribute to their training. They are also expected to be familiar with mixed methods techniques so that they could effectively triangulate other types of data (ethnographic, qualitative, case study etc.) to the SNA analysis. As a rounded researcher, the post-doc expert should be accomplished (or demonstrate competence) in the development of data collection instruments and in the collection and analysis of data. During the first 18 months of this appointment the post holder is expected to focus on the collection of data and during the next 18 months in cleaning the data, analysing results and co-authoring academic papers.
Candidates from the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences with a demonstrable research interest in SNA methodologies are strongly encouraged to apply.
Skills & Competences Sought
Starting date: November 1st, 2017
Location: CDE, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 10, Bern, Switzerland; www.cde.unibe.ch
Duration of employment: 3 years
Team: A multi-disciplinary team of social science researchers.
Offer: Employment conditions and remuneration in accordance with the standards of the University of Bern, Switzerland
Application deadline: August 18th, 2017
Application materials: Please submit your application consisting of CV with certificates, a letter specifying how the specific job requirements are met and including the name of three referees as a single PDF file in English to [log in to unmask].