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‘Doing Transitions’ is inviting applications for 2 postdoctoral fellow positions

The DFG-funded Research Training Group ‘Doing Transitions’ at Goethe University Frankfurt and Eberhard Karl University of Tübingen is inviting applications for

2 postdoctoral fellows (f/m/d)
(Full-time position at the level of E13 on the German Public Service pay scale)

for fixed four-year term beginning October 1, 2021.

The Research Training Group ‘Doing Transitions’ investigates how transitions are constituted across the life course. You can find more information on our research programme as well as our training programme at doingtransitions.org/research-training. Detailed guidelines for applicants can be found here.

The postdoctoral fellows are responsible for completing their own postdoctoral research project within the thematic framework outlined in the Research Training Group’s research programme along with participating in the associated training programme. Qualified candidates will have completed an above-average doctorate in education, sociology or psychology.

Both universities are committed to equal opportunities and therefore invite and encourage qualified women and gender-diverse applicants to apply. The Research Training Group offers a variety of support for reconciling work and family demands. People with disabilities are prioritised in cases of equal qualifications.

Selected candidates will be invited to an interview that will be scheduled in the first two weeks of July subject to Covid-19 pandemic protocols.

Please send your application documents according to the instructions, outlined here, per e-mail in a single PDF document by June 15, 2021 to: doingtransitions@uni-frankfurt.de.

Doing Transitions in the Life Course – Discourses, Practices, Institutions, Subjects

From February 17th to February 19th, 2020, the second international conference of the research training group, Doing Transitions, was held in Tübingen. This conference was an “in-between” event: It documented the passage from the first cohort of PhD-students, presenting findings from their PhD projects, and the second cohort, who had started the programme only six weeks prior to the event and who presented their projects in a poster session. Thereby, it also represented an intermediate resume of the process of developing and applying a reflexive perspective to research on transitions in the life course. Inspired by keynote speakers and discussants comments, these considerations will be developed further. The conference was characterized by a highly productive atmosphere among early career researchers and senior researchers and was regarded as a resounding success by all participants and guests.

Key findings of Doing Transitions were presented and discussed in six thematic panels:

  • Doing transitions differently – everyday life and extraordinary transition practices: this panel included the works of Julia Prescher, Kerstin Rinnert and Anna Wanka and a commentary by Tobias Boll from the University of Mainz focusing on the subtle processes of doing difference in research practice.
  • Biographical articulation in transition: under this title, Jessica Lütgens and Andrea Pohling’s research was discussed by Tina Spies (Protestant University of Applied Sciences, Darmstadt) who stressed the relationship between transitions, biographies, and processes of articulation (following Stuart Hall).
  • Doing transitions through welfare organisations thematically linked Bianca Lenz, Heidi Hirschfeld, and Noreen Eberle’s projects on how being addressed by and using measures of youth welfare, labor market policies, or adult education is interrelated with individual biographies. These contributions were discussed by Eva Nadai (University of Applied Sciences of North Western Switzerland, Basel).
  • Embodied transitions and bodies in transitions: under this heading Janne Krumbügel and Deborah Nägler presented some findings of their studies. In her discussant note, Imke Schmincke from the University of Munich emphasised the relation between bodies, interaction, and social change.
  • Doing transitions in, through and of space was the title of the panel including presentations by Tabea Freutel and Helena Müller and a discussant note by Anamaria Depner (University of Heidelberg). One key aspect of the discussions was how transition practices shape and structure the social spaces in which they evolve.
  • The role of organisations as collective subjects in doing transitions assembled contributions by Eva Heinrich and Nils Klevermann and a commentary by Inga Truschkat from the University of Hildesheim. The panel discussed how organizations both contribute to and at the same time are subjectivated in processes of doing transitions.

The thematic panels were framed by four keynote papers: Rick Settersten (Oregon State University) opened the conference with an inspiring talk on the relatedness of lives and the role of relationships in life course transitions. This included not only the role of linkages but also of unlinking lives in cases of leaving and loss. Kathleen Riach (Monash University Melbourne) related to these reflections with a paper on the bodily politics of ageing transitions within organizational life, in which she pointed to interpellation as being inbuilt in our bodily experiences and the ways in which these are either acknowledged or ignored. Heinz-Hermann Krüger of the University of Halle reminded us in his talk of the challenges (but also the fruitfulness) of longitudinal approaches for transition research, presenting findings from a study on students from elite schools and their transitions into university and employment. Laura Bernardi from the University of Lausanne held the last keynote on relative time in life course research, in which she engaged with “multidirectional, elastic and telescopic understandings of time”.

The inspiring reflections and debates from these different formats have been extremely valuable for developing “Doing Transitions” further in terms of relational perspectives in analyzing transitions in the life course. In particular, a future challenge will be to study how transitions are constituted as intersected and interwoven with interpersonal relationships, temporalities and different materialities such as artefacts, welfare regulations, embodiment, and spacing. All in all, the conference confirmed the need and the fruitfulness of theorizing life course transitions through analyses of processes of constitution.

Panel Discussion with (from left to right): A. Wanka, I. Truschkat, R. Settersten and K. Riach

The thematic panels were framed by four keynote papers: Rick Settersten (Oregon State University) opened the conference with an inspiring talk on the relatedness of lives and the role of relationships in life course transitions. This included not only the role of linkages but also of unlinking lives in cases of leaving and loss. Kathleen Riach (Monash University Melbourne) related to these reflections with a paper on the bodily politics of ageing transitions within organizational life, in which she pointed to interpellation as inbuilt in our bodily experiences – and the ways in which these are either acknowledged or ignored. Heinz-Hermann Krüger, University of Halle, in his talk reminded of the challenges (but also the fruitfulness) of longitudinal approaches for transition research, presenting findings from a study on students from elite schools and their transitions into university and employment. Laura Bernardi from the University of Lausanne held the last keynote on Relative time in life course research, in which she engaged with “multidirectional, elastic and telescopic understandings of time”.

The inspiring reflections and debates from these different formats have been extremely valuable for developing “Doing Transitions” further in terms of relational perspectives in analysing transitions in the life course. In particular, a future challenge will be to study how transitions are constituted as intersected and interwoven with interpersonal relationships, temporalities and different materialities – like artefacts, welfare regulations, embodiment and spacing. All in all, the conference confirmed the need and the fruitfulness to theorise life course transitions through analysing processes of constitution.

Participants of the International Conference, Tübingen 2020

Presentations / Keynotes:

Presentations Panel 1 / Doing transitions differently – everyday life and extraordinary transition practice:

Presentations Panel 2 / Biographical articulation in transition:

Presentations Panel 3 / Doing transitions through welfare regulation:

Presentations Panel 4 / Embodied transitions – bodies in transition:

Presentations Panel 5 / Doing transitions in, through and of space: