Doctoral student in Media and Communication Studies: Media and Extremism


Ref REK 2022/285

About Malmö University

Malmö University is an innovative, urban and international institute of higher education, located in the centre of Malmö. We have around 1,800 employees and 24,000 students. Our research and education are characterised by the role we believe a university should play in an open society — to contribute to sustainability and equality in a scientifically grounded way with external partners and stakeholders. Identifying and addressing the challenges of the future are of highest priority. Our researchers and students work collaboratively to create, share and spread knowledge in order to understand, explain and develop society — both locally and globally.


The Faculty of Culture and Society is a multidisciplinary faculty that includes three departments: the School of Arts and Communication, the Department of Global Political Studies and the Department of Urban Studies. The faculty offers doctoral studies in the following subjects: Global Politics, Interaction Design, International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER), Media and Communication Studies and Urban Studies. The faculty hosts two of the university’s five research centres.

Read more about the Faculty of Culture and Society here.

The School of Arts and Communication

The School of Arts and Communication (K3) has around 100 employees and 1,100 students, and we offer interdisciplinary doctoral education in media, culture and design. Here, scientific and academic theory and methods are combined with artistic and practical elements. In terms of organisation, the department contains three units: Design, Humanities, Language and Cultural Production, and Media and Communication Studies.

Many of our teachers and researchers are active in research groups and networks such as Comics Research, Art-Based Research, Nordic Network for Research on Working-Class Literature, Oral History and research programmes such as the Data Society as well as the research platforms Rethinking Democracy, Medea and Collaborative Future Making and the Internet of Things and People (IoTaP) research centre. A large part of the teaching and research is carried out in collaboration with external partners and stakeholders.

Read more about the School of Arts and Communication here.

Work duties

We are announcing a doctoral position in the subject area of Media and Communication Studies to be conducted within the framework of the project OppAttune - Countering Oppositional Political Extremism through Attuned Dialogue: Track, Attune, Limit, funded by Horizon Europe (see details below on Research Project).

The doctoral programme comprises four years of full-time study and concludes with a doctoral degree (240 credits). The programme consists of a course component and a dissertation component. An important part of the doctoral programme itself is to actively participate in and contribute to the research and educational environment. A doctoral student shall primarily devote themselves to their doctoral studies, but may also work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research, artistic research and administration, but not more than 20 per cent of a full-time post (the Higher Education Ordinance (HEO), Chapter 5, Section 2).

Doctoral education in media and communication studies prepares you for a career in research and teaching in academia, as well as cultivating scope for advanced professional work outside of the academic field. The goals of meaningful collaboration with other researchers, and the development of regional, national and international networks fostered by the PhD processes would support both career directions. Malmö University also offers courses in teaching and learning as well as Swedish courses through the Centre for Teaching and Learning:

For more information about doctoral studies in Media and Communication Studies please read the General Study Plan MKV. For more information about being a doctoral student at the Faculty of Culture and Society see the Study Handbook for Doctoral Education.

Research project

OppAttune - Countering Oppositional Political Extremism through Attuned Dialogue: Track, Attune, Limit (HORIZON-CL2-2022-DEMOCRACY-01-05, grant proposal 101095170).

OppAttune tracks the evolution of oppositional extreme ideologies and protectionist decision-making, develops an innovative attunement model and tests a series of interventions at the national and transnational levels which limit the spread of extremism. OppAttune revitalises trust in key democratic institutions. OppAttune provides micro, meso and macro level evidence-based recommendations and strategies designed to counter the potential of extreme narratives to disrupt democratic growth. It delivers this via a multi-disciplinary consortium of 17 countries across the EU and its periphery.

Democracies and the European project are under threat by extremism and lack of political and social dialogue. Existential insecurities arising out of economic and refugee-related crises have been exacerbated by Covid-19 to create re-bordering e.g., xenophobic-nationalism and re-shoring e.g., the localisation of production. Oppositional worldviews, narratives and dissensus within public debate are all vital to a functioning democracy. However destructive polarisation of oppositional us/them logic is at the core of the rise of extremist narratives. Disruptive actors polarise oppositional logic using disinformation, emotions, hot cognitions, conspiracy theories and mistrust to create new forms of direct action. This direct action cultivates unlikely coalitions creating attractive alternative on-line/off-line worlds which spread extreme narratives into the mainstream via deep rooted sociological and historical pathways. OppAttune will track, attune and limit extreme narratives to foreground EU transnational freedoms and multilateralism.

The doctoral student will be working in close collaboration with both senior and junior staff in the work package Media, Machines and Mobilisations (WP4 in the OppAttune project). The objectives of the work package are to identify and understand contemporary extremist narratives and to map their spread across the digital mainstream, and into local ecologies. Specifically, we will produce knowledge on how extremist narratives increasingly bleed into the mainstream and critically assess the drivers behind the penetration of extremist belief systems into citizens’ everyday lives in both online and offline settings. Whilst required to ensure their work fits broadly within the overall research project by working closely with the work package coordinators, the doctoral student will also complete research demonstrating scholarly independence.

The doctoral student will be based in the unit of Media and Communication Studies at the School of Arts and Communication, Malmö University. The doctoral student will work in close collaboration with work package managers Tina Askanius, associate professor in Media and Communication Studies at Malmö University, and Ursula Reeger, senior researcher at the Institute of Urban and Regional Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. 


In order to be admitted to the doctoral studies programme, the applicant must meet the general and specific entry requirements of the subject in question. Moreover, the applicant must be deemed capable of assimilating the education.

General entry requirements for doctoral courses and study programmes (HEO, Chapter 7 Section 39) are met by those who:

  • have been awarded a second-cycle qualification
  • have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
  • have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Specific entry requirements for doctoral courses and the study programme are met by those who:

  • have acquired the knowledge and skills equivalent to a second-cycle degree in Media and Communication Studies or in another subject relevant to the programme, or have the equivalent knowledge acquired within or outside the country.  

Selection criteria

Selection among applicants who meet the general and specific entry requirements shall be made with regard to their capacity to assimilate the education (HEO, Chapter 7 Section 41). The selection process will include evaluation of the written materials, interviews with shortlisted candidates and checking of their recommendations.

General selection criteria

  • independent analysis and approach in previous work
  • problem formulation and precision in previous work and research plans
  • methodological and scholarly maturity
  • communication and cooperation skills

Specific selection criteria

  • The candidate's ability, in accordance with Chapter 5, Section 5 of the HEO, to benefit from doctoral courses and study programmes. To support the evaluation of the feasibility of each research proposal, students are expected to submit previous written material, a well-referenced research plan and, where applicable, a portfolio along with their application form (see below)
  • The candidate's ability to plan and implement projects within given timeframes
  • The candidate's ability to express themselves in English - orally and in writing.
  • The degree to which the proposed research can contribute to the field of media and communication research

Project-specific criteria

  • The candidate’s ability to analyse the interplay between actors, interactions, and discourse in online and offline settings
  • The candidate’s ability to analyse contemporary forms of extremist narratives
  • The candidate’s ability to analyse the spread of extremist narratives across digital media and into local ecologies
  • The candidate’s experience of working with large social media data sets using both qualitative and quantitative digital research methods
  • The candidate’s proficiency in Swedish (written and spoken)

Further information

For questions related to the doctoral position in the project and doctoral education more generally, contact Tina Askanius, research project coordinator and coordinator of doctoral education at the School of Arts and Communication + 46 406657707,

For general information and other questions contact Annika Olsson, Head of department, +46 406657678,

In our recruitment work, Malmö University has taken a stand regarding recruitment channels and marketing. We therefore decline all offers of advertising and recruitment assistance in connection with this advertisement.


You may apply for this position via Malmö University's recruitment system by clicking on the "Apply" button. As an applicant, you are responsible for ensuring that your application is completed in accordance with the advertisement, and that it is provided to the University no later than 6 December 2022. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that the University can read what is written in the application. If the application is not written in Swedish, English or any of the Nordic languages, the applicant is responsible for the application and its appendices being translated.

The application must include:

  • Completed application form for admission to Research Education Application for admission to doctoral education
  • Curriculum Vitae with up to three references (including title, name, contact information and relationship to the applicant)
  • Scans of diplomas, transcript of records and other certificates relevant for the position
  • A detailed research plan presenting the focus of research and a thesis concept, and how this relates to the specific post (1500 words +/- 10% excluding references). The research plan must contain the overall aim and objectives of the thesis, indicative research questions that the project intends to answer, an account of the theoretical framework, key concepts important to the thesis, the methodological approach, a description of research material and the way it will be obtained. The project plan should include a clear statement of how your proposal meets the objectives of work package 4 in the OppAttune project.
  • Independent work at advanced level (including master thesis or equivalent) and published articles or equivalent (up to three).


Preparation of admission to postgraduate education and employment as a doctoral student take place in parallel. Only those who are or have been admitted to doctoral courses and study programmes at a higher education may be appointed to doctoral studentships (Chapter 5, Section 3 of the Higher Education Ordinance).

The doctoral studentship is a fixed-term position comprising four years of full-time studies, in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 5 Section 7.

Malmö University is a workplace and higher education institution that is characterised by an open and inclusive approach, where gender equality and equal terms add value to our activities.

Malmö University applies salary setting for doctoral students in accordance with a local agreement on salary setting for doctoral students.

Start date

The starting date is 1 February, 2023

Union representatives

Saco-S, Rebecka Johansson, +46 40 6657753,

OFR, Martin Reissner, +46 40 6657266, 

PhD Student Union representative

Hugo Boothby, doctoral student representative in the school of Arts and Communication

Michel Anderlini, Doctoral student Union representative,


We are looking forward to receiving your application!

You apply no later than 06/12/2022 by clicking the apply button.