Postdoc in project ‘Business corporations as political actors’

The application deadline is 1 February 2022.

Companies are being regulated by politics, but they also shape the political arena themselves, whenever they influence politicians and political parties. Moreover, companies fulfill public functions such as providing public goods, regulating their own business activities, or addressing societal problems, like environmental harms. Can such a mixture of private activity and public responsibility be legitimate, in a democratic society? Do traditionally state-oriented normative ideals such as democracy, social justice and human rights apply to them? These are central questions in the ERC-Consolidator Grant-project ‘The Business Corporation as a Political Actor’. For more information, please visit the project website.

The postdoc position will execute one of the subprojects within this larger project, namely the one on ‘Economic Theories of the Corporation’. This subproject seeks to integrate insights from prevailing economic theories of the firm into the debate about the political theory of corporations. For example, can economic theories account for corporate power? To what extent do economic constraints arising from market competition make it more difficult to render corporate political power legitimate? Since corporations are both economic and political actors, the subproject aims to understand whether and how these two sides can be integrated. This is crucial for the development of a sound political theory of corporations.

You will work under the supervision of the program leader, Rutger Claassen. You will be part of a research team consisting of two PhD-candidates and two postdoctoral researchers. You will play an active role in the research team, organize and take part in workshops, public events and other activities. The positions are based at the Ethics Institute, which is part of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University, which provides a stimulating and internationally oriented research environment. The position starts at September 1st, 2022.


  • You have completed a PhD in philosophy or in a related field (or for Dutch applicants, a PhD dissertation in one of these fields has already been accepted by the PhD Committee), by the time the position takes effect (September 1st, 2022). Additional knowledge in a field relevant to the project (especially law, economics, political science, history, sociology or business/management studies) is a plus.
  • You are specialised in ethics and/or political philosophy, for example in the field of political authority/legitimacy, democratic theory and/or theories of justice.
  • You have an excellent track record and research skills, relative to experience; and excellent academic writing and presentation skills.
  • You have the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • You have an active interest in interdisciplinary work which connects philosophical analysis to other relevant disciplines and societal challenges.


We offer a position of 0.8 FTE for 2 years. Initially the contract will be for one year. In case of good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period. The gross salary – depending on previous qualifications and experience  – ranges between €3,420 and €4,348 (scale 10 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities) per month for a full-time employment. 

Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). More information about working at Utrecht University can be found here


To apply, please upload the following documents:

(1) a one-page letter of motivation; followed by a one-page research note, setting out your ideas about how to work out the postdoc subproject (‘Economic theories of the Corporation’ see above).

(2) a curriculum vitae of maximum 3 pages, including the names and contact details of two scholars who can be contacted for a reference (NO reference letters at this stage).

(3) One writing sample of maximum 20 pages. 

Interviews are scheduled in the week of 21-25 February. Employment will become effective by 1 September 2022. Webversion of the job ad can be found here. To apply, please click here.

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