USC Postdoctoral position: Media, Activism and Participatory Politics



USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join its team for its Civic Paths Project.

Civic Paths Project explores continuities between online participatory culture and civic engagement. With low entry barriers, participatory culture-based communities often encourage online participation even as they promote expression, awareness, mentor-ship, and skill training. We analyze how participatory culture interactions encourage young people to create, discuss and organize to engage with civic issues. We then ask how these interactions lead to new forms of organizing and action. We seek staff who are self-motivated, but collaborative. We carry out in-depth qualitative research focused on such organizations and communities, and the people who participate in them. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will assume responsibility for identifying a case study community or organization, designing the research, carrying it out, and analyzing the results.

We are a networked research initiative. Housed at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, we are also connected to the Youth and Participatory Politics Network that connects prominent academics in the field. USC is world-renowned for its innovative education, academic excellence, and path-breaking research. As part of a university that is on an upward trajectory, excellent development and advancement opportunities are possible.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will conduct case study based research for the Project. This research will investigate the continuities between participatory culture and civic engagement, with a possible focus on socially and/or politically conservative youth communities. Groups/organizations within the project's scope of interest may include, but not are not limited to, entities like: the Nerdfighters, Battlecry, Tea Party,, Young Republican National Federation, Young Democrats of America. Qualified candidates should be aware of trends in civics, political science, and/or media studies and should be ready to apply that knowledge. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will have earned an advanced degree and/or conducted previous qualitative research in one or more of the above listed areas. The successful candidate should also be able to engage with diverse peers and communities and will report to the Project's Research Director.


Assume responsibility in planning, designing and conducting, and analyzing research under the direction of the Research Director

Research, and compile relevant background information from various sources

Draw on existing connections to fandom, participatory cultures and/or civic action organizations
Network with other projects and organizations working in related areas


Set timelines and deliverables for specific case studies

Provide guidance to student workers on the project

Work with research director to plan budget, allocate funding, and keep the project on track

Preferred Qualifications:

●Specialized expertise in areas related to new media, participatory cultures, fandom, political science, and/or civic engagement debates

●Extensive background knowledge and/or existing connections to at least one participatory group/organization in the United States considered an asset

●Experience with qualitative research methodology (including ethnography, interviews, and participant observation)

●Familiarity with topics important to the field of participatory culture and civic engagement

●Ability to interpret research data and terminology

●Ability to design and produce research summaries, including presenting at conferences, giving workshops, and publishing papers

●Excellent oral and written communication skills

●Highly flexible team player with strong interpersonal skillss

●Published work in the field of participatory cultures, political science and/or civics and ability to write grant applications are a definite plus

The Postdoctoral Research Associate position is a temporary, grant-funded position with start date of August 30, 2011 through end date of August 30, 2012 (12 months).

more info/submission:

Sangita Shresthova Ph.D.
Research Director
Civic Paths Project
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
University of Southern California (USC)


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