Vacature: PhD Candidate “Identity constructions among Polish and ‘local’ youth in Limburg through language practices”

Maastricht University heeft een vacaturevoor een PhD Candidate “Identity constructions among Polish and ‘local’ youth in Limburg through language practices”:
Maastricht University has recently founded a new Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross Border Cooperation and Mobility(ITEM). ITEM is an initiative developed by the interfaculty Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE), in cooperation with the province of Limburg and the municipality of Maastricht as part of the “Limburg Knowledge/Axis” cooperation. Within the scope of MACIMIDE researchers of various UM faculties collaborate closely in the research fields of migration and development issues, citizenship, nationality and integration, international family relationships, European and international immigration law and right of asylum, work mobility, social security, tax law and pensions. The goal of ITEM is to increase cross-border mobility and to analyse the functioning of a regional labour market in the Maas-Rhine Euregion. ITEM aims to achieve these goals by means of research, consultancy, education, training and expert meetings.

In the more globalized world, languages and cultures are continuously changing due to mobility and, hence, intercultural connections. Upcoming migration from Eastern European countries to rural areas in Northwestern Europe has a profound effect, but the local communities are not always equipped to deal with this new phenomenon. Cultural, social and linguistic gaps have an impact on how both locals and newcomers construct their identities. Therefore, this PhD-project focusses on a small village in the northern part of Limburg i.e. Horst aan de Maas that has one of the highest rates of Polish migrants in Limburg (approximately 3,000 out of 41,750). The main research question is to find out how Polish and local youth use their languages and cultures in everyday interaction to construct local and social identifications in various contexts and which explicit ideologies are expressed about who really belongs in the place and who does not belong and who wants to stay or to leave and how these ideologies affect speaker’s choices on the ground, i.e. their social practices in situated context with respect to language and culture. The study of Polish immigrants in this small rural village will add a new dimension to ongoing research and will become an added value to the further intercultural dialog with this group. 
The proposed PhD project will mainly observe daily linguistic practices in the village, using classic ethnographic method with audio- and self-recordings, social network analysis and unstructured interviews. In addition, quantitative data will be analysed, exploring indicators of social cohesion and mobility to compare Horst aan de Maas with other municipalities in Limburg and The Netherlands. The PhD project involves scientific collaboration with Statistics Netherlands.
A sociolinguist, linguistic/cultural anthropologist or linguist with an MSc degree and with affinity for doing qualitative fieldwork with a strong interest in bilingualism and multilingualism. The successful candidate speaks Dutch and Polish and has a desire to know more about the local language spoken in the north of Limburg. Affinity with the application of quantitative methods and techniques is an asset.