FSS Research awards

Uitreiking

The FSS Dissertation Award seeks to increase the high quality of empirical research in the broad field of social sciences. In substantive terms, there is no restriction on the chosen topic of research. The granting of the FSS Dissertation Award is open to all FSS former PhD students that defended their dissertation in the past two years on the faculty. Each academic department of the FSS may annually nominate one candidate.

Nominations FSS Dissertation award 2020 

Thijs Willems

Jie Du (Communication Science): Social Media Self-Control Failure: Measurement, Predictors and Consequences
People nowadays live in a media-rich environment, where social media use (e.g., Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) is pervasive in daily life. While enjoying the benefits of being ‘permanently online’ (e.g., having contact with one’s social network and getting entertained any time anywhere), there is also an increasing concern about the potential costs of being ‘permanently online’. One of the costs, that appear to be a highly prevalent phenomenon among many social media users, is the experience that the desire to use social media often disturbs the pursuit of other important goals or obligations (e.g., study, work). The aim of this dissertation project was to increase our understanding of this phenomenon of social media self-control failure. Through four empirical studies, this dissertation shed light on (a) how to measure social media selfcontrol failure, (b) its potential predictors and (c) its psychological consequences.

Thijs Willems

Iteke van Hille (Organization Sciences): A balancing act: Convening cross-sector partnerships to strengthen sustainable development in global supply chains
Collaboration between business, non-profit organizations and/or governments in ‘cross-sector partnerships’ (CSPs) are considered a promising approach in furthering sustainable trade. However, CSPs are complex organizational forms and certainly not a guaranteed recipe for success. Therefore, CSPs can benefit from the involvement of conveners, to mitigate potential conflicts or challenges that can arise, and ensure an effective CSP-process. This dissertation focuses on the role of conveners as initiators of CSPs, and explains how mission-driven conveners initiate and convene cross-sector partnerships to strengthen sustainable development in global supply chains. This question is answered through a qualitative study of three cases in the coffee, tea and timber industries. The study shows that, while conveners are faced with tensions and conflicting demands on multiple levels, they cannot be simply considered as 'problem solvers'. Instead, conveners perform a balancing act, navigating these demands and tensions, as a means to safeguard a transition towards sustainable trade. 

Thijs Willems

Hester Paanakker (Political Science & Public Administration): Value Divergence: How Professionals, Managers, and Policy Makers Perceive Public Values and Street-Level Craftsmanship in the Prison Sector
Hester Paanakker’s thesis addresses the concrete role, meaning and enactment of public values in hands-on street-level professions. In the Dutch prison sector, the thesis examines the extent to which professionals, managers, and policy makers share a common understanding and evaluation of the values that relate to craftsmanship at the frontline of public service delivery. The results reveal a complex dynamic of convergence on key street-level values, but also a dynamic of divergence, toxic value stereotypes, and putting targets over content. Value divergence is shown to create implementation problems and organizational paralysis, to negatively affect street-level attitudes, and to undermine the realization of public values in public service delivery, but also to spur creative coping mechanisms. In a plea to better understand the value divergence on the surface and to better facilitate the value convergence that goes unnoticed, the thesis advances knowledge on the role of public values and frontline craft.

Thijs Willems

Tjeerd Piersma (Sociology): Blood donor careers: A dynamic approach to donating blood
Annually, four million patients in Europe are treated with blood-derived products, after traumatic events or during treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. To ensure a sufficient blood supply, hospitals heavily rely on voluntary donations benefiting anonymous recipients. To successfully recruit sufficient amounts of donors, scholars have identified donor characteristics and motivations. Yet, these studies lack knowledge on whether and how blood donor behaviour changes over the life course. By adopting a life course perspective on blood donation, using large, representative and international donor surveys and registers, this dissertation provides a better understanding of donor careers. We show how donation decisions are susceptible to change as a result of individual life events, social influence from friends and family, and contextual (blood bank) factors (e.g., closing donation centres). Without adequate interventions, a vast percentage of donors is at risk to stop donating across their career. Designing personalized, evidence-based interventions is key in guaranteeing a stable and sufficient future blood supply.

Thijs Willems

Younes Saramifar (winner) (Social and Cultural Anthropology): Future Past & Past Future: knowability & memory assemblage in postwar Iran
How does memory assemblage work in post-war Iran? By studying the politics of memory, insight can be gained into the way in which the state orchestrates memory and memory regimes. The Iranian state uses memory as an instrument to deny history, and therefore Iranians, as a nation, do not need history as a series of fixed narratives, but as an amalgamation of disputed dialogues. In three chapters: martyrdom, memory and main narrative, we analyze how memory becomes memory. By analyzing commemorations and the circulation of war stories among Iranian revolutionary youth, it is shown that dealing with and engaging in memory are specific ways of expressing revolutionary passion of some Iranians. Memory and remembrance are practices of world-making regardless of the history of those memories. It is memory that functions as a form without content, as a genre without substance, as an empty designation.

Previous years 

2019Marieke van Wieringennominees
2018
Thijs Willems
nominees
2017
Kasper Welbers
nominees
2016
Maaike Matelski & Jeroen Wolbers
nominees
2015
Dhoya Snijders
nominees
2014
Nicoletta Dimitrova
nominees
2013
Naná de Graaff
nominees

The FSS Research Award aims to bring the most appealing, promising and original research achievements into the spotlight. This recognition encourages the nominees to continue on the same foot, provides an example for other researchers, and enables the departments and the faculty as a whole to biennial contribute examples of research that contributes to accomplishing the mission of the faculty. 

Each academic department of the FSS may nominate one candidate.

This year the FSS Research Award will be granted to a junior research talent (who obtained it's PhD max. 7 ago). Next year the award will be granted to a senior research talent.

The granting of the FSS Research Award is not open to: a) persons who are part of the jury; b) persons who have already received the FSS Research Award in the previous five years. 

Nominations FSS Research award 2020

Thijs Willems

Loes Aldering (Political Science & Public Administration) – Throughout my academic career, I have been examining topics related to political representation, inequality, political news coverage, gender and politics, and electoral behavior. For instance, I have studied how politicians are discussed in the media in terms of their leadership traits and how these media representations of politicians affect voters in their candidate evaluations and electoral preferences (i.e., mediated leader effects). Moreover, I’m highly interested in gender differentiated media coverage of politicians and political gender stereotypes. I have recently been awarded a Veni-grant to study to what extent gender stereotypes are applied in the visual media coverage of politicians and to what extent the gender stereotypical portrayal of politicians in textual and visual media coverage affects citizens in their information processing and political attitudes. In my research, I combine manual/automated content analysis, panel data analysis, various types of experimental methods and meta-analysis.

Thijs Willems

Tijs van den Broek (Organization Sciences) – Societal issues are increasingly discussed online, influencing citizens’ attitudes and (collective) behavior. These online discussions and how organizations participate in them fascinate me. Social media has increased the diversity, dynamics and complexity of citizen-to-citizen and citizen-to-organization interaction, calling for new theories and approaches. My research contributes to organization theory on how organizations can effectively interact online with citizens. Specifically, my work offers insights on both behavioral and structural boundary conditions of large-scale online discussions and mobilization. Furthermore, I aim to contribute to more deliberative online discussions on societal issues and inform organizations how they can mediate. Methodologically, I advocate a critical realist perspective on research and employ a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to better grasp the online and offline interactions between citizens and organizations. Furthermore, interdisciplinary collaboration with computer scientists allows me to develop computational methods to keep abreast with the increasing amount of digital data.

Thijs Willems

Eva van Roekel (Social and Cultural Antrhopology) –  Eva van Roekel is an up-and-coming talent in cultural anthropology in the Netherlands with a promising track record of studying, writing and filming about contemporary violence and justice in Latin America. Since the beginning of her academic career, she innovatively combines anthropology, social philosophy and the arts, while engaging with urgent societal problems always from the bottom-up.   She did long-term fieldwork in Argentina with victims and perpetrators involved in the trials for crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship. Her monograph Phenomenal Justice (2020) already received various awards for outstanding research on human rights and accountability that really shifts our understanding of trauma and reconciliation in post-conflict societies. In 2021, she starts the distinguished ISRF Political Economy Fellowship on the role of gold in the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. She will empirically examine the contentious relationship between social and environmental justice amid growing ecological destruction and the correlated rising violent crimes concerning extractivism and smuggle in the Northern Amazon.

Thijs Willems

Mariken van der Velden (winner) (Communication Science) – Voters allegedly punish politicians for making compromises in government. Yet, virtually nothing is known about the consequences of compromises for politicians and voters. This lack of understanding is highly problematic, because societies face increasing political polarization and fragmentation. These trends make compromises increasingly necessary, but also hotly contested. To reconcile this tension, I theorize that political compromises force politicians to strategically communicate their decisions in order to mitigate electoral costs. Comparing the Dutch, German and Spanish case, I test my argument at three levels: (1) employing advanced computational text approaches coupled with case-oriented approaches to identify how politicians communicate compromises; (2) experimentally investigating voters' willingness to accept compromises using Virtual Reality techniques; and (3) bridging the two by utilizing regression and experimental techniques to study the real-world effects of compromises. My research advances our understanding of voters' critical attitudes towards democratic processes, such as coalition government formation – referred to as ‘cartel politics’ by populists.

Thijs Willems

Arjen de Wit (Sociology) – Arjen de Wit studies nonprofit organizations, volunteering and student involvement. The Dutch Charity Lotteries give part of their income to charities, largely without restrictions. Mixed-methods research shows how grantee organizations use this income for financial stability, sustainable HR policies and innovations. Arjen’s dissertation (2018) questions the expectation that people give more to charities when the government cuts on spending. Whether donors 'fill the gaps' depends on their knowledge of government policies and the type of organization to which they donate. In addition to revenues, many charities depend on volunteers. Longitudinal analyses show that volunteers are - and remain - healthier. As a productive and meaningful activity, volunteering can protect against deteriorating health, especially among the elderly and the weak. Furthermore, Arjen participates in the development of the A Broader Mind Longitudinal Survey, which examines the personal, social, professional and civic development of VU students.

Previous years 

2019Halleh Ghorashinominees
2017
Johan Hoorn
nominees
2015
Kees Boersmanominees
2013
Christian Burgers
nominees
2011
Marleen de Witte
nominees

Nominations for 2020

Maurice Crul

Bram Verhulst (Public Administration)

Title thesis: Educational desire ‐ A public administrational‐philosophical reflection on education
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Maurice Crul

Lizanne van der Aa (Policy, communication and organization)

Title thesis: Humans, algorithms and reducing food waste at Dutch supermarkets ‐ A study of decision‐making processes in the automatic replenishment system of Albert Heijn
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Maurice Crul

Josephine van der Erve (Communication Sciences)

Title thesis: Covid‐19 and mobile news users ‐ A pilot study into mobile news behavior and the  underlying motivations
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Maurice Crul

Layla Attwood Durrani (Culture, Organization and Management)

Title thesis: Unplanned and Planted: multispecies entanglements during the COVID‐19 Pandemic in San Francisco
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Maurice Crul

Cille Kaiser (Political Science) (winner)

Title thesis: Rethinking the Polycentricity‐Equity Paradox. On the North‐South Imbalanced in Transnational Climate Change Governance
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Maurice Crul

Martina Manna (Social and Cultural Anthropology)

Title thesis: Dwelling the house. Materialization of social hierarchies in Nepal
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Maurice Crul

Fabian Holle (Sociology)

Title thesis: Queer creations between a rock and a hard place. Art practicing LGBTQ+ forced migrants unsettling Dutch hegemonies
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