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Fellows_Beitrag

Call for Fellows

Extractivism.de is a collaborative research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project is based at the University of Kassel and the Philipps University of Marburg, and its primary purpose is to research natural resource extractivism in Latin America and the Maghreb.

Extractivism.de is accepting applications for short-term residence fellowships for highly qualified researchers. Fellowships are funded for one up to three (3) months in Marburg and/or Kassel from May until August 2023. Applicants are expected to contribute to theory building and develop new approaches to tackle the conceptualization and broader investigation of extractivism and rent societies, with an empirical focus on Latin America and/or North Africa and the Middle East.

The Extractivism.de project:

Natural resources and raw materials are among the most critical drivers of the global economy. Many Global Southern countries rely on the extraction and export of these resources for their social-economic development. Extractivism.de focuses on societies in Latin America and the Maghreb to investigate, explore, and conceptualize extractivism as a development model which imposes particular social-economic patterns. Avoiding traditional literature’s pitfalls, the project aims to understand extractivist societies not as deviants from the Western development path but in their own logic and particularities. Considering the many challenges we face in the future due to the climate crisis and growing inequalities, it is crucial to grasp what sustainability means to countries whose development depends on revenues from raw materials instead of innovation, investment, diversification, or productive labor. This way, Extractivism.de explores the “dark side of sustainability” concerning the Global South countries and their patterns of social-economic development. As an overall guiding question, the project focuses on how and under which conditions crises within the natural resource-driven development model contribute to, accelerate, or eventually deny transformative social change.

We combine a solid empirical focus with theoretical work, linking field research and primary data with qualitative and quantitative analysis – offering a transregional comparison. The goal is to develop new theories and methods in cross-area studies, investigating whether and why similar patterns of social change or resilience emerge in different world regions, despite significant cultural, social, or religious differences.

In the upcoming second year of the project (2023), we will concentrate on the diverse set of actors and coalitions formed in the context of extractivist societies.

For more information about the project, please access: www.extractivism.de

Thematic Scope of the Fellowships:

In its second year, Extractivism.de explores actor coalitions, the politics of (re)distribution, and how they shape political processes – at the local, national, regional, and international levels. We begin with the following observation: in extractivist countries, it is not so much the market dynamics or the productivity of individual companies that determine the use of raw material export earnings (rents). Instead, different social groups form coalitions with each other to organize who and how the access to political power will happen as well as how to distribute economic resources and what for.

Within this context, we are particularly interested in enlarging the analytical focus on political coalitions, actor constellations, and institutional settings in extractivist societies. We aim to investigate under which conditions these coalitions and constellations are formed and operate, as well as how they can change, maintain or transform the extractivist model. Our new fellows will focus with the Extractivist.de team on the typical behaviors of social groups that act as veto players to block transformations or function as agents of change. We are interested in fresh perspectives on the many complex domestic dynamics central to legitimizing and maintaining extractivism as a development model – independently if it is problematic for future sustainability.

Therefore, the following questions are relevant:

  • Under which conditions and to what extent do crises of the extractivism model challenge established patterns of distribution, conflict, and legitimacy and transform or harden them?
  • Which actors and coalitions support extractivism as a development model and guarantee its maintenance? What roles does social stratification play, especially elites and middle classes? Which actors are particularly relevant for development cooperation? What is their understanding of social-economic development, and how does that link with sustainability?
  • What political conflicts and domestic crises can potentially arise from the strategies organized by the groups that hold power in extractivist societies?
  • Which are the supranational and international ties that these groups maintain, and how do they influence their maintenance in power or eventual demise?
  • Which are the regional and global drivers and transregional variances of extractivism?

Therefore, for this call, fellowship proposals must address these research questions involving actors in one way or another. The applicants are expected to contribute to theory or conceptual building and develop innovative approaches. Most importantly, they should tackle extractivism in rent societies as a broader developing model with an empirical focus on Latin American and/or Middle Eastern countries.

Requirements and conditions:

The fellowship is open to outstanding scholars with a doctoral degree in Social Sciences and the Humanities, including Economics, Sociology, Political Science, International Relations, Anthropology, and History. The scientific committee will base its selection on academic excellence and reputation, publications, experience in the research field, and the submitted project’s quality. In addition, applicants should be familiar with at least one of the project’s languages: English, German, Spanish, or French.

Fellows will receive financial compensation of up to 3.000€ per month. Costs for travel to and from the stay in Kassel/Marburg will be covered. Moreover, Extractivism.de provides family support. Extractivism.de is committed to gender equality, social inclusion, diversity, and affirmative action policies. Therefore, applicants from the Global South or belonging to any minorities are particularly welcome.

Application:

The following documents are required in English, French or Spanish:

  • Application form,
  • A motivational letter stating why the planned project is a good fit and what the expectations are,
  • Short CV (max. five pages), including a list of project-related publications,
  • Copy of the doctoral certificate,
  • Research proposal with research schedule, work plan, and expected outcomes (max. 2.500 words).

Applications must be sent electronically as a single PDF to

Important dates:

  • Call opening: 22.12.2022
  • Deadline for application: 15.02.2023
  • Expected selection results: 10.03.2023
  • Earliest start of the fellowship: 01.05.2023

Important documents: