Shaping European Research Leaders for Marine Sustainability (SEAS)

Research possibilities for the MSCA SEAS postdoctoral research fellow in social anthropology on changing human-ocean relations

The information on this page is a supplement to the complete advertisement of the position in the recruitment-portal Jobbnorge. The full advertisement of this position in Jobbnorge will be available after august 1, and linked from this webpage. Call deadline is October 31, 2022.

Main content

Key information

One position

MSCA SEAS postdoctoral research fellow at Department of social anthropology

Jobbnorge title

MSCA SEAS postdoctoral research fellow in social anthropology on changing human-ocean relations

Topical frame

Anthropological research on changing human relations with the ocean in areas such as (depending on supervisor): Temporal orientations and practices of changing human-marine relations, multispecies rhythms, technology, automation and digitalization in the maritime sector, environmental sustainability, marine economies and gendered socio-economic inequalities, anthropology of the ocean, and ocean governance

Available supervisors

Professor Edvard Hviding; Associate Professor Jon Henrik Z. Remme; Associate Professor Iselin Strønen; Professor Cecilie Ødegaard


For an incoming or outgoing candidate, see mobility rules

Unit of employment

Department of social anthropology at University of Bergen

Group affiliation(s)

Depending on project

Thematic area and contact

This position is open for anthropological research on changing human relations with the ocean within a variety of research topics/sub-topics. The position is open to either an incoming or an outgoing candidate, see mobility rules. The successful candidate will be employed at the Department of Social Anthropology, at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

The position will be connected to one of four potential supervisors and topical frames:

More information about the supervisors, research possibilities and resources for the postdoctoral fellow is available below. For further details please contact relevant supervisor(s).

Edvard Hviding - research possibilities and resources

Research related to the interaction of anthropology of the ocean with a plurality of ocean-oriented knowledge forms and relevant arenas and actions of ocean governance will be associated with the project Island Lives, Oceans States: Sea-level Rise and Maritime Sovereignties in the Pacific (OCEANSTATES).

The postdoctoral fellow is expected to develop an independent research agenda where an anthropology of the ocean, broadly speaking, interacts with a plurality of ocean-oriented knowledge forms and relevant arenas and actions of ocean governance.

In the context of the department’s interdisciplinary research project Island Lives, Ocean States, the postdoctoral fellow would be expected to carry out original ocean-focused research, bringing in new perspectives from the anthropology of science and the anthropology of diplomacy.

Field research would be concentrated in locations and arenas where knowledge and power interact, such as in international negotiations on ocean governance and in the production of scientific foundations for ocean policy. In such contexts of challenges for a sustainable ocean, there is an urgent need for broadening the approaches to integrate social science as well as traditional and local knowledge, and a postdoctoral fellow in anthropology would be able to provide exactly that.

Access to such field locations, which may not be within the typical realms of anthropological fieldwork, is secured through the unique international network of Island Lives, Ocean States, which includes the United Nations Headquarters in New York and other key diplomatic arenas, as well as research institutions in the Pacific Islands region and globally where a focus on the plurality of knowledge and the science-diplomacy interface are key.

Edvard Hviding is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, and the founding director of the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group. He is also an Honorary Adjunct Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. Hviding is presently the PI and director of the international research project Island Lives, Oceans States: Sea-level Rise and Maritime Sovereignties in the Pacific (OCEANSTATES), funded by the Research Council of Norway’s TOPPFORSK programme for 2018-2025.

During 2012-16 Hviding was the scientific coordinator of ECOPAS, the European Consortium for Pacific Studies (funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme), and during 2008-2012 he directed the international research programme Pacific Alternatives: Cultural Heritage and Political Innovation in Oceania (funded by the Research Council of Norway, with 12 participating institutions worldwide). In 2012-2013 Hviding was Chair of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO). His research record in the Pacific has been ongoing since 1986, with four years of fieldwork in Solomon Islands and shorter visits to ten other Pacific Island countries. As PI and Director of the OCEANSTATES project 2018-2023, he closely follows Pacific regional and United Nations meetings and conferences on ocean and climate diplomacy. He has been closely involved in science diplomacy in the United Nations context under the auspices of Norway, UNFCCC, UN DESA, Palau, and the Pacific group of Small Island Developing States.

Jon Henrik Z. Remme - research possibilities and resources

Research related to the study of relations between humans and marine life, including temporal orientations and practices of human-marine relations and multispecies rhythms will be associated with the project Seatimes: How Climate Change Transforms Human-Marine Temporalities (SEATIMES).

Research context
Human-Marine Entanglements in transformation: Climate change and its socio-marine implications. The postdoctoral fellow will work in close collaboration with the supervisor Associate Professor Jon Henrik Ziegler Remme, particularly as it relates to his research project Seatimes.

Research sub-themes
The postdoctoral fellow is supposed to contribute to independent research on relations between humans and marine life in ways that extend beyond the dominant focus in the anthropology of fishing on marine life as economic resources. The research might relate to the Seatimes-project’s three thematic foci:

  1. Temporal orientations: What transformations in people’s imaginations of the past, present and future do changes in human-marine relations engender?
  2. Temporal practices: How do different temporal practices – conservation, restoration, market development, new fishing practices and attempt at caring for marine species – combine, collide, and find ways to operate simultaneously? and
  3. Multispecies rhythms: How does climate change affect the rhythms and pace of human lives with each other and with marine species.

The postdoctoral fellow’s research may also complement the Seatimes-project by investigating other aspects of human-marine relations such as for instance spatiality, sensoriality, mobility, technical and digital mediation. While the Seatimes-project is regionally focused on the US, Norway and Senegal, the postdoctoral fellow’s research should ideally be located elsewhere. Postdoctoral candidates are invited to propose research projects that fit within any of these themes or other projects that fall within Remme’s marine research interests and competence.

Supervisor research interests and competence
Remme came into anthropology of the sea and marine life from studies of human-spirit-animal relations in the Philippine highland. Situating his research within posthumanist, more-than-human scholarship and environmental anthropology, Remme works currently with a multispecies perspective on human-marine relations. As PI in the Seatimes-project, Remme conducts research on the impacts of climate change on the socio-marine relations in the Gulf of Maine, US, with a particular focus on the state’s lobster industry investigation the ways in which warming waters cause changes to underwater ecosystem and transform human-marine socio-marine relations accordingly.

International research network
Remme has an international research network across Europe, North America, and Asia. Opportunities exist for the postdoctoral fellow to collaborate with marine oriented scholars within anthropology and environmental humanities at the University of Bergen, University of Oslo, Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, MIT, University of Stockholm and Wageningen University.

Iselin Strønen - research possibilities and resources

Research related to environmental sustainability, marine economies and gendered socio-economic inequalities

Research focus
Prospective postdoctoral candidates are welcome to develop a project that thematically, analytically and theoretically falls under the scope of the INTPART*- project Environmental sustainability, marine economies and gendered socio-economic inequalities (ENMARINE) (2020-2025), led by Associate Professor Iselin Åsedotter Strønen.

This is an interdisciplinary strategic partnership in teaching and research development based on a collaboration between the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen (UiB), and the Institute for Oceanography and the Institute for Education at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG) in Brazil.

The project’s thematic focus is centered on the complex intersections between marine economies, environmental sustainability, and the gendering of socio-economic inequalities. The project defines marine economies as the extraction and harvesting of marine resources, but also economic activities that encroach upon marine space, such as offshore renewable and non-renewable resource extraction, industrial development and sea-based trade. The project aims to develop teaching, research networks and research projects concerned with how the growing complexity of economic activities taking place at various scales and amongst unequally positioned actors in and adjacent to marine space, has complex and accumulative effects upon environment, eco-systems, communities and broader society. Furthermore, a central focus is on how multiple forms of inequality, political economies, epistemologies and value-systems intersect with local and global processes and structures. Moreover, in the tradition of feminist political ecology, Strønen and her project colleagues are particularly interested in women’s often-neglected, but significant role in marine economies, and how this also intersects with the gendering of socio-economic inequalities more broadly.

Theoretically, the project draws on political ecology and political economy, gender studies, environmental and marine studies, marine anthropology and the anthropology of resource extraction. Prospective post-doctoral candidates are expected to develop their own and innovative theoretical perspectives that adds to the project and the field of study as such. Projects may focus on fishery per se, but also on its dynamics with other sea-based economic activities as encompassed by the project. A gendered perspective is particularly welcome. Prospective post-docs are invited to submit a research proposal ethnographically situated in Latin America, but other regions are also of interest.

Strønen has extensive experience in research on resource extraction, resource politics, social inequality and gender, with extensive field research in Venezuela, Brazil, and to some extent, Angola. Having focused on the politics of oil- and gas for more than a decade, she is currently developing her research interest within the field of marine resource studies. In her most recent research project as part of the UiB-based NRC-project Energethics, she studied the relationship between Norwegian oil company Equinor and women working in the fishery sector in coastal communities in Brazil. Through the ENMARINE-project, Strønen and her colleagues are working on developing a research project that aims to break new ground in analyzing and theorizing the gendered dynamics of fishing practices, fishery politics and ocean management.

International research collaborations
The post-doc will be integrated into the ENMARINE-project, providing possibilities for participating both in teaching, networking activities and research project development as set out in the ENMARINE project plan. The post-doc will also have the possibility to spend three months as a guest researcher at FURG. Project leader at FURG is Lúcia de Fátima Socowski de Anello (PhD in Environmental Education), Professor at Institute for Oceanography and a leading scholar in the field in Brazil.

*INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research, financed by The Research Council of Norway (NFR), and The Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (DIKU).

Cecilie Ødegaard - research possibilities and resources

Automation shift in the maritime sector of the oil and gas industry: Assessing risk and safety, protecting labor (ASMOG)

Research related to changing human relations with the ocean, technology, automation and digitalization in the maritime sector will be associated with the Automation shift in the maritime sector of the oil and gas industry: Assessing risk and safety, protecting labor (ASMOG)

Research theme/sub-themes
The postdoctoral fellow is expected to work with anthropological methods and perspectives in the exploration of changing human relations with the ocean through the study of technology, automation and digitalization in the maritime sector. The thematic emphasis of the research could be oriented towards one or more of the following sub-themes, although is not limited to:

  1. reconfigurations of the land/sea-boundary: how new technologies affect spatial boundaries and interconnections between land and sea, ship and control room through the changing virtual and material landscapes of shipping operations;
  2. labor: the relationship between human and automated labor; human-machine interaction; work relations, (re)distribution of responsibilities, values and hierarchies;
  3. simulation training for seafarers: learning processes, skills and competencies needed, especially regarding the relationship between embodied, formal and computer-game knowledge at the crossroads between «real-life» and simulated realities;
  4. changing concepts and routines of risk and security: the relationship between technology development, laws/regulations, and seafarers’ practices and experiences; changing ways of relating to dangers at sea;
  5. the energy shift and requirements for reduced carbon emissions: the relationship between the ongoing automation shift in the maritime sector and the ‘green shift’: prototyping, knowledge systems and transfer, energy politics and the politics of place making.

Related research focus and themes can also be considered. While the ASMOG-project takes the maritime hub of Haugesund as its point of departure for multi-sited ethnography, the postdoctoral fellow is welcome to build her/his research around other regional sites both in Norway and beyond.

Supervisor’s research interest and competence
Ødegaard has long-standing research experience in the Andes (Peru) and the Arctic (Svalbard, Norway), more specifically in frontier places of resource extraction, co-existing claims for sovereignty, as well as negotiations over value, labor relations, subject formation, and competing understandings of nature. The ongoing automation shift in the maritime sector takes the character of another form of ‘frontier’: a frontier of technology development and reconfigurations of value, labor, nature, and human relations with the ocean. Ødegaard is the project leader of the RCN-funded research project “Automation shift in the maritime sector of the oil and gas industry: Assessing risk and safety, protecting labor”, in which she draws on her research expertise related to extractivism and energy politics in Peru and the energy transition in Svalbard, Norway. For more information about the ASMOG project, please visit the project’s home page

International research network and environment
Ødegaard has an extensive international research network that spans Europe, the Arctic, and North- and South America. Ample opportunities exist for the postdoctoral fellow to collaborate with eminent researchers and/or visit world-class research institutions. There will be significant opportunities for the post.doc to be involved in joint publications – as well as research collaborations beyond the ASMOG-project itself. Ødegaard’s international network includes experts also beyond the discipline of social anthropology, spanning disciplines of the social and natural sciences and the humanities, hence offerings possibilities of a fertile and creative interdisciplinary research environment for the postdoctoral fellow.

See the full advertisement in Jobbnorge

The full advertisement in Jobbnorge will be available from august 1, 2022, until call deadline October 31.

Important general information

Please be aware

  • That until August 1st 2022 (official call opening), the information on this page must not be considered as final, as adjustments may be done! There might also be minor adjustments in the Guide for applicants and the templates needed for applying.
  • That the application process is time-demanding and requires a close dialogue with name-given available faculty supervisor or contact who, close to the deadline, must sign a supervisor match declaration if an application is to be eligible.
  • That some fields of research, especially within sensitive technology areas, might be enforced by Norwegian and international regulations regarding Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in these regulations might be prohibited from recruitment to UiB.