Call for candidates for the PhD projects 2021

Call for candidates for the PhD projects 2021

The Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Charles University in Prague calls for candidates for the following PhD projects (each supported by a scholarship), for its English-language PhD programme in Media and Communication Studies:

  • Digital life and learning in the times of COVID-19 and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has played a profound role in people’s everyday experiences, which have even more than before moved to digital and third spaces. The potential two research projects would either qualitatively or by applying mixed method research explore those experiences through the lenses of digital and media literacy. One would be looking at education of children, while the other at social relationships and isolation. Both local and intercultural/international research projects are welcomed. They need to be interdisciplinary by being theoretically and/or methodologically rooted in media studies, as well as other disciplines such as education, childhood studies, cultural anthropology, philosophy, psychology, health, law, etc. Proposals of innovative research approaches are especially encouraged. The project is in English.

Potential supervisor: Markéta Supa,

  • Intolerant belief systems and their intersection in the online communication

Western liberal democracies are polarizing along different lines and this polarization is specifically visible in the online discussions on various controversial topics. How does intolerance based on one characteristic (for example age) relate to other intolerant belief systems (gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality etc.)? How does intolerant public online communication reflect societal norms and cultural prejudice prevalent in the analysed culture? What is the role of disinformation media in promoting the intolerant belief systems? 

The phenomenon can be studied on various research topic and case studies (ranging from politically exposed topics to debates among popular culture fans). Studies are supposed to be rooted in theories on online deliberation and its societal significance, intersectionality, post-truth society and other relevant theories.  Project focusing on this field can be submitted in English or in Czech.

Proposed supervisor: Lenka Vochocová,

  • Political leadership – new challenges, crisis and issues

The Ph.D. project should focus on these topics (political leadership as a marketing tool, changes in political communication, leadership crisis facing new issues) in relations to Climate change, Covid 19 pandemic, global migration etc., methodologically it can be approached from different angles. Theoretically, it should be rooted in the political marketing theory and political communication theory. The research can either focus on a specific case study or do a more comparative approach. This PhD project can also be submitted to the Czech-language PhD programme in Media Studies.

Proposed supervisor: Anna Shavit,

  • Discursive constructions of the environment

This PhD position consists out of research into the discursive construction of the environment, climate and/or human-nature relationships, driven by a discourse-theoretical (or other post-structuralist) framework, that allows for attention for the workings of contingency, hegemony, materiality and discursive struggle. The research can be located in variety of social fields, including media, the arts and/or museums.

Proposed supervisor: Nico Carpentier,

  • Emerging Ethical Boundaries in Marketing and Strategic Communication

Currently, the communication profession (marketing, advertising, public relations, strategic, and digital communication) faces an unprecedented shift due to new information and communication technologies. This evolution also opens new questions and generates many new ethical problems, such as using personal data and information, the ability of the public (consumers, voters, customers) to understand the persuasive nature of some communication forms, the rise of hybrid journalistic and commercial products such as content or native advertising etc. We welcome Ph.D. projects tackling changes in communication that focus on an ethical aspect in the business field (covert advertising, ethical issues in a specific subfield such as tobacco or alcohol advertising, etc.) or research of the ability of the publics to understand persuasion.

Proposed supervisor: Denisa Hejlová

  • Current Media and Marketing Trends and Research in Health Communication

Health Communication in the Czech Republic is still a rather unexplored field, which has been highlighted recently due to the Covid19 crisis. We focus on health communication in general (theory, state of the field, expert interviews) or specific subfields, such as vaccination communication or nutrition literacy. We offer an interdisciplinary approach in cooperation with medical and health experts from medical faculties and other departments at Charles University.

Proposed supervisor: Denisa Hejlová

  • Environmental Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility (with a possible focus on the fashion industry)

Recently, many fashion brands included sustainability and environmental issues in their communication and actions and this issue is widely reported also in academic literature (Köcksal, Strähle, Müller and Freise, 2017; Yang, Song and Tong, 2017; Garcia-Torres, Rey-Garcia and Albareda-Vivo, 2017; Resta, Gaiardelli, Pinto and Dotti, 2016). It is not only the fashion brands talking about environment, but also stakeholders play an important role in the dialogue between fashion brands and its consumers. Recently, more consumers demand “brands with purpose”, that communicate its social responsibility, includes societal, political or environmental issues (Montgomery, 2019). We welcome Ph.D project focusing on producer or consumer research in this field, not only limited to fashion industry.

Proposed supervisor: Petra Koudelková,

  • “Class Swap“: class-driven social experiments in Czech Reality Television culture

This PhD. project will explore Reality Television programmes which are grounded in swapping social positions of the upper-class participants who are sent to socioeconomically adverse environments (such as Milionář mezi námi [FTV Prima, 2020]; Experiment 21 [Prima Cool, 2020]; Utajený šéf [TV Nova, 2017-20]; Zlatá mládež [ČT, 2016 a 2018], etc.) International students are invited to select equivalent television programmes produced in English. The project will be theoretically informed by the scholarship on Reality Television as a neoliberal genre transforming complex issue of social inequalities into the bipolar structure of categories of “winners“ and “losers“. The study will follow methodologies of content analysis, discourse analysis and narrative analysis (or a combination thereof).

Proposed supervisor: Irena Reifová,

  • Discourses and practices of othering

This PhD position involves research in the broad area of othering. It is expected to be driven by a post-structuralist approach, focussing on the construction and practices of othering through, e.g. the media, the arts, politics, or activism. Projects in this thematic area can examine, for instance, the discourses and practices that create (old and new) ethnic, political, cultural others, in specific contexts and/or at different times, or how these practices can relate to social struggle and resistance.

Proposed supervisor: Vaia Doudaki,

  • Digital Game Industry and Culture in a Local Context (2 grant-funded Ph.D. positions)

The Ph.D. project will be associated with the grant “Developing Theories and Methods for Game Industry Research,” which starts in 2021. Following the rising interest in the study of game industries, the dissertation should focus on digital game production in a specific country or region, based on the student’s preferences. The project can investigate the production routines, design patterns, stylistic choices, or the values of industry practitioners, with or without a historical perspective. Theoretically, it is expected to draw from game studies, cultural studies, and political economy of communication (including the theory of cultural industries). The methods may include ethnography, close readings of game titles, discourse analysis, and content analysis. The successful applicants will join the grant as a funded part-time researchers. 

Proposed supervisor: Jaroslav Š