Postdoc in Digital Society and Trust-Project with Emphasis on Trust Relations on Travel Platforms such as Airbnb and Couchsurfer

The Department of Communication and Arts (DCA), Roskilde University, invites applications for a position as postdoc from February 1. 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position as postdoc is full-time and limited until October 15, 2025. The purpose of the postdoc is to study citizens’ trust in relation to digitalization of governmental services within the auspices of the research project Digital Society and Trust (DIS-TRUST) funded by the Velux Foundation.

The Department of Communication and Arts
Your daily workplace will be Department of Communication and Arts at Roskilde University. DCA covers RUC’s Communication programs (Communication, Journalism, and Performance Design) and Art programs (Danish, Philosophy, History, and Cultural Encounters).

We conduct excellent, interdisciplinary research in the intersection between Communication, Cultural Studies, Social Science, and Humanities, and offer an innovative and interdisciplinary university environment, characterized by diversity with respect to theory, method, and area of study in research and education. Our research is characterized by double impact, i.e. by the highest academic quality, and by a direct interaction with public, private and civil actors in the society.

We have strong research networks and partnerships with local, regional, national, and international partners with the goal of ensuring the highest quality in all our research-based activities.

The Project
The DIS-TRUST project investigates how conditions for interpersonal trust and trust in institutions change in the digital society, how new forms of trust are formed, and what challenges digitalization poses to trust. The project originates in philosophy’s conceptual work with trust and digitalization. The constant digital transformations of social life worlds are studied conceptually and by confronting the conceptual analyses with concrete context embedded case studies. Consequently, DIS-TRUST advances and matures its analyses of trust oscillating within the poles of qualitative empirical research and philosophical conceptual theories. A short description of the project can be found here:

The specific research project of the postdoc concerns building of trust relations on travel platforms such as Airbnb and Couchsurfer. Online marketplaces for accommodation are dependent on trust being established to secure a commercially viable platform. The successful exchange between homeowners and visitors rests on trust emerging in this human-technology exchange shaping encounters and interactions in a manner that users and the media technologies themselves become mutually constitutive. The postdoc is expected to analyze how the affordances of the platforms facilitate some trust relations and complicate others. How are features such as personal profile and ratings, pictures and digital as well as analogue communication building trust? What role do the platforms play in mediating trust between homeowners and visitors? To investigate the new configurations of trust and distrust the postdoc is expected to analyze open-source material from Airbnb and CouchSurfing and material about user-practices through media go-along as well as in-depth interviews with homeowners and users.

Within the project, the successful applicant will have the opportunity for close collaboration with the interdisciplinary core group of researchers including collective writing projects, public communication and outreach. The project engages with international researchers and practitioners and offers occasions to participate in international and national semestrial research seminars focusing on the ongoing research of DIS-TRUST as well as opportunities to present research at international conferences. The project includes possibilities for international research exchange and the successful applicant is expected to complete a stay as visiting scholar, optional at the institution of one of the international researchers connected to the project.

Applicants must hold a PhD or the equivalent thereof within social media studies, science and technology studies, information technology, philosophy or an adjacent field in the humanities, social sciences or data sciences.

The ideal candidate is an excellent scholar with expertise in digital platforms, information technology, modern philosophies of trust or digital media studies. The ideal candidate has familiarized her/himself with the intersection between philosophy’s conceptual approach and qualitative empirical research and is enthusiastic about doing research in the methodological meeting of theoretical and empirical qualitative analysis.

While prior experience with empirical studies such as digital multimedia studies, fieldwork or qualitative interviews is an asset, it is not required. Candidates without prior experience with qualitative empirical work must describe how the candidate would conceive and carry out the empirical studies.

Knowledge of contemporary philosophical research in trust and digitalization, platform economies and digital mediation is an asset. Candidates without such knowledge are expected to describe how they will acquaint themselves with these perspectives.

Applicants must master spoken and written English at an advanced academic level. Experience of publishing in English will be an asset. For this position fluency in Danish is an asset but not a requirement.

The applicant is furthermore expected to demonstrate:

  • Experience with/willingness to organize and conduct research seminars including follow-up evaluations.
  • An international research-profile including experience of international publication and research dissemination.
  • Plans for public dissemination of the conducted research.

Responsibilities and tasks
The ideal candidate shall be enterprising and possess good communication skills, be visible and involved in the department’s daily activities, in addition to being willing to engage in disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers from the DIS-TRUST-project and across the department.
The candidate is expected to:

  • Be an active collaborative partner in the research project.
  • Conduct and complete an independent research project in collaboration with the group.
  • Plan and undertake a shorter international research stay.
  • Publish independently and in collaboration with the research PI and core group in relevant peer reviewed journals and contribute to the planned co-authored monography Trust in the Digital Age.
  • Plan and contribute to panels at relevant international conferences.
  • Plan and participate in research seminars and network meetings.
  • Contribute to popular dissemination of research findings.
  • Be an active and present colleague in the Department of Communication and Arts.

In the assessment of candidates, consideration will be given to:

  • Scientific production – the application can be attached a max of two publications with thematic relevance for the project.
  • Research prospective including an individual research plan of max 3 pages to be submitted with the application.
  • Ability to promote and utilize research results.
  • Ability to collaborate closely with research partners and practitioners.
  • Ability to contribute to the development of the department’s internal and external cooperation.

The successful candidate who is offered the position can apply for a 1-year teaching position as extension to the postdoc position to obtain pedagogical training and gain teaching and supervision qualifications. The extension is subject to the teaching demand at the department.

For further information about the postdoc position, and to obtain a full academic description of the project, please contact PI Esther Oluffa Pedersen on email:

Terms of employment
The employment is full time, 37 hours per week, and refers to Dean Ida Willig.

The position will be filled according to the Agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) and Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities. 

Application procedure
After the deadline for applications the Dean will shortlist applicants for assessment with assistance from the recruitment committee including the chairperson of the assessment committee.

Shortly after the application deadline all applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been selected for assessment.

The shortlisted applicants will be informed about the composition of the assessment committee, and each applicant will be given the opportunity to comment on the composition of the committee and – later on – their assessment.

Once the recruitment process is completed, all applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application.

To apply for the position go to

Only applications in English are accepted. 

Applications must include: 
1. Cover letter 
2. CV 
3. Documentation of education 
4. Teaching portfolio (read more about teaching portfolio at Roskilde University here
5. A complete list of publications 
6. A maximum of 5 relevant scientific works that you want included in the assessment 

If any of the publications that you want included in the assessment are the result of a joint effort, the extent and the nature of your contribution to each individual work must then be clarified in a co-author statement (find template here

Please submit your application no later than October 24, 2023.
Material received after this date will not be taken into consideration. 
Roskilde University wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Roskilde Universitets fornemmeste opgave er eksperimenterende, nyskabende former for læring, forskning og problemløsning, som flytter samfundet fremad. Vi uddanner kompetente tværfaglige kandidater og skaber videnskabelige resultater af højeste kvalitet gennem åbenhed, involvering og videndeling.

Roskilde Universitet har ca. 6.500 studerende, 900 ansatte og 800 mio. kr. i årlig omsætning.