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"The concept of self-understanding in the context of globalisation"

CAS 18/07/2007

Call for Applications

Research Fellowship Interdisciplinary Centre Leo Apostel (Clea), Vrije Universiteit Brussel Brussels (Belgium)

The alterglobalisation movement is a heterogeneous group of people involved in a variety of social and political issues worldwide. What they have in common is a commitment to a more humane alternative to globalisation. According to social scientists, it is difficult to say what this 'more humane alternative' implies. They generally argue that existing categories cannot adequately be used for investigating the particular actions of alterglobalists. Some theorists have characterised the movement in terms of multitude (Hardt & Negri 2004) or 'movement of movements' (New Left Review). A comprehensive analysis and a scientifically informed overview of this movement is still lacking, however.

In this study, we will assess the common aspects, focussing on the movement's underlying discourse and ideals rather than its concrete actions. Are there any implicit intuitions or moral sources originating its variety of actions? Or is this deeper level characterised by diversity too? The same questions have been asked by social scientists before, but without yielding any systematic investigation results to date.

To establish any underlying coherence at the conceptual level, we will refer to the wider worldview perspective offered by the 'Malaise of Modernity' concept, as developed by the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor (1989, 1991, 2004). The Malaise of Modernity assumes modern Western man to be alienated from himself and from his social and ecological environments. The cause of this alienation is diagnosed as a narrowed perspective of the self.
Taylor's answer is a well-wrought plea for a perceptually widened view of human being and becoming. We hypothetically assume that the Malaise of Modernity perspective may enable gaining an improved insight into the various cultural criticisms of the alterglobalisation movement, as well as a more profound understanding of the normative intents of their diagnoses and answers.

To find out to what extent Taylor's philosophy can shed light on the perceived heterogeneity of the alterglobalists, the study is split into two parts. First, the works of Taylor and other philosophers may be studied. Secondly, the reality of the alterglobalists will be experienced through participative observation and in-depth interviews.

The appointee will perform independent research in close collaboration with the research team. She/He is willing to travel abroad for longer periods. He/she will also participate in the institute’s activities (max. 2 hours a week), such as administrative support for the organisation of conferences or for writing grants…

A full-time research fellowship from January 2008 till December 2011.

- A master degree in the humanities (preferable a combination of sociology and philosophy or anthropology and philosophy).
- Strong evidence of research potential (corroborated by graduation results and/or relevant publications).
- Social and communicative skills and being able to work in team are of major importance.
- The willingness to stay some longer periods abroad.

Application can be sent from Monday 3 September 2007.
Closing date is Monday 1 October 2007.

Interviews are likely to be held on Friday 12 October 2007.

If you would like to arrange an interview or if you have any questions about this position, please contact Nicole Note at .

Clea is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Nicole Note
Interdisciplinary Centre Leo Apostel (CLEA)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Krijgskundestraat 33
B-1160 Brussels
Web: http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/

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