Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Localising Content Governance), Dept of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck, University of London

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The Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck, University of London is seeking a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (12 months, full-time). 

The postholder will contribute to a mixed-method study into the politics of content governance in neighbourhood Facebook Groups. At the local scale, social media users broadly occupy the same geographical turf, and may encounter or even know one another. Because of this, harmful language or behaviour can have higher stakes, and the risk of offline harm can become exacerbated. This project will explore these issues by studying neighbourhood Facebook Groups across Greater London and its surrounding commuter belt. The project is funded by Facebook Research through an unrestricted research grant. Its Project Team consists of Dr Scott Rodgers (Principal Investigator); Dr Susan Moore (Co-Investigator); and Dr Andrea Ballatore (Co-Investigator).

You would join this Project Team and lead the qualitative data collection for the project, including: a preliminary overview of neighbourhood Facebook Groups; selecting and observing a subset of ~16 Groups; in-depth interviews with group administrators and/or moderators; and analysing and interpreting this data using as appropriate software platforms. Alongside the Project Team, you would help formulate and co-author ~2 refereed publications, and lead on designing and authoring a publicly accessible online resource.

We aspire for this post to offer a career development opportunity for an emerging social/digital media scholar. You will be welcomed into a collegial and stimulating research environment, with opportunities to participate in events, develop networks, and further your research interests. Some limited teaching opportunities may also be negotiated.

In order to be successful in this role, you will need a PhD (or equivalent) in a field relevant to the project, e.g. social media research, digital culture, media studies or digital geography. You will have knowledge of current research and conceptual debates spanning one or more of these fields and have direct knowledge and experience in qualitative research methods and techniques, specifically in relation to online/social/digital media. Proficiency in specialist research software applications and platforms (e.g. NVivo, CrowdTangle) is also desirable.

You should also have basic statistical literacy, and some general familiarity with, if not direct experience in, quantitative approaches to social media (e.g. natural language processing, social network analysis) and their possible integration with qualitative approaches.


Grade 7 of the College’s London Pay Scale which is £38,594 per annum.

The salary quoted is on the College’s London Pay Scale which includes a consolidated Weighting/Allowance which applies only to staff whose normal contractual place of work is in the Greater London area.


If you would like to know more about the role, please click on apply below or contact Dr Scott Rodgers at

If you have technical issues or difficulties using the recruitment portal please contact, providing your name and the job reference number of the position.

While we are happy to respond to all informal enquiries, only formal applications through the online system will be considered.

Birkbeck offers a competitive salary and pension scheme, 31 days paid leave, flexible working arrangements and some of the most generous benefits in the HE sector, all while being located right in the heart of Central London.

We welcome applicants from all sections of the community. The College is committed to improving the gender and cultural diversity of its workforce, holding an Athena SWAN award, membership of WISE, operating Disability Confident & Mindful Employer schemes.

Closing date for applicants: 3rd September 2020

Interview date: 24th September 2020

Post start date: 1st November 2020