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Job: PhD position in social sciences, humanities or related fields

IMAF (Institut des Mondes Africains) in Aix en Provence (France)

The IMAF calls for applications for a PhD position within the project SALMEA.

Subject area: social sciences or humanities or related fields (history, demography, geography, anthropology, sociology political science…). The PhD will focus on the study of self-accomplishment in Eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Burundi, and Mozambique may also be considered) as defined in the SALMEA project.

Deadline for application: 12 June 2019

The PhD candidate will be attached to IMAF (Institut des Mondes Africains) in Aix en Provence. Based in Paris and Aix en Provence, the institute brings together scholars with an interest in Africa who are affiliated with the CNRS, IRD, EHESS, EPHE, the University of Paris 1, and Aix Marseille University (http://imaf.cnrs.fr/). In Aix, the institute's facilities are located in the MMSH (Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l'Homme (http://www.mmsh.univ-aix.fr/), 5 Rue Château de l'Horloge, 13090 Aix-en-Provence). Funding will be provided for extensive research in East Africa. A double affiliation with IFRA (Institut Français de recherche en Afrique, ifra-nairobi.net/)) in Nairobi is advisable.

The position is being offered in the context of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche's (ANR) co-funded project, “Self-Accomplishment and Local Moralities in East Africa” (SALMEA). The selected candidate will serve as a full member of the project and will be fully integrated into the team's activities.

SALMEA project summary:
In East Africa, fast-changing social realities informed by structural change have fundamentally affected authority, ownership, inheritance and kinship. This has transformed representations and practices of social roles, moral attitudes, and self-accomplishment, that is, shared ideas about a well-led and successful life and ways to realise it. Among the characteristics that define self-accomplishment and intersect with ethnicity, religion, gender, class, and generation, we mainly find access to wealth, respectability, authority, honor, fame, and posterity. This project aims to study the ways in which people in East Africa shape their lives to access and transmit wealth, obtain authority and power, and gain respectability and social influence using different repertoires of principles and values. In other words, its main objective is to understand the dynamic relations between self-accomplishment and morality. To do so, we will scrutinize four areas: wealth, violence, religion and kinship; they constitute both repertoires of morality and paths to self-accomplishment. Indeed, narratives on a life well-led link up aspects of wealth and kinship. Ethnicity and religion also offer their specific answers as to how to lead one's life. What happens when aspirations putting wealth and family at the centre of one's life are unattainable? Violence and religion translate into new forms of self-accomplishment. Although analytically distinct, the economic, political, social, and symbolic facets of self-accomplishment cannot be studied independently: e.g. wealth commands respect, while respect can facilitate wealth. Earlier literature on Central Kenya show, for instance, that self-accomplishment for men had long been obtained through access to land for cultivation, and through marriage and children; yet, men who failed in these dominant trajectories of self-accomplishment could turn to other paths, for example relocating to new territories where 'virgin' land could be cleared, or raiding neighboring communities for cattle, women, and children. In today's East Africa, achieving self-accomplishment through the acquisition and cultivation of land is increasingly out of reach for both men and women. People test or even invent alternative ways to access wealth, obtain social influence, and gain respect; these alternative ways combine historical models with new representations and practices, drawing from religious, ethnic, national or globalized repertoires of references; and men, women, and youth create and use different ways to reach a life well-led.

Further information: Job advertisement