The Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE) at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) is inviting applicants for a PhD within the project PATHWAYS. PATHWAYS is a comparative study of the representation of citizens with an immigrant origin in eight European democracies (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain). Selected applicants would be invited to submit an application for an FNRS PhD grant of 4 years (aspirant FNRS).

The applicant is preferably knowledgeable in both French and Dutch (English is also a great advantage) and must have a good knowledge of the Belgian political system. The applicant is free to tailor his or her research question(s) around the proposed research project, within the norms of the availability of data and expertise. Comparative projects are also stimulated.


BE-PATHWAYS is an innovative and comparative inter-university collaboration of a team of junior and senior scholars examining the political representation of citizens of immigrant origin in Belgium. It is part of an international PATHWAYS consortium (http://pathwayseu/), which analyses the political representation of citizens of immigrant origin in seven additional European democracies (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK). The principal goal of this particular project is twofold. On one hand, the project seeks to advance the knowledge and scholarship of the descriptive representation of citizens of immigrant origin (CIO) in Belgium's legislative assemblies, at the regional (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) and national levels. On the other hand, and as part of its innovative nature, the project seeks to analyse the parliamentary activities of representatives of immigrant origin (substantive representation). The project seeks to advance the study of democratic representation of CIOs in a number of ways:

   To provide tightly defined - hitherto unavailable - comparative data on the descriptive and substantive representation of CIOs in Belgium (currently data are often restricted to issues such as citizenship, e.g., Eurostat 2011).
   To provide comparative data on important institutional and socio-demographic contextual variables alongside different institutional levels in Belgium.
   To offer innovative explanations of cross-national, cross-regional, cross-level and diachronic variations in descriptive and substantive representation by building on a flexible analytical framework, which allows for the incorporation of a variety of theoretical approaches (e.g. social capital, path dependency, rational choice).
   To integrate the data with other research efforts in the field, most notably the PATHWAYS and IDEA projects.

Data collection and methodology

The research design combines a systematic approach to data collection on two levels of government, national and regional. The inclusion of the regional level is of particular importance, as this is where immigrants can more easily build capacity to win political office and where barriers to get elected should be easier to overcom. The data collection includes primary and secondary sources of information and will be organised in the following way :

   National level : the project collects information on (1) the descriptive representation of CIOs for all elections since 1991, and (2) on particular legislative activities (substantive representation) of minority and comparable non-CIO parliamentarians in the last completed legislative term (2010).
   Regional level : the project collect information on descriptive representation for the last completed legislative term (2009). Given the generally large number of regional assemblies throughout Europe, the variability of access to sources and the lack of general research on representation at this level, this will still be a major advance and will allow comparisons between Belgian regions, across European regions, or even between the national level and the regional level.

Send a brief research proposal (1 page max.) and curriculum vitae to Steven M. Van Hauwaert ( by 5 pm on 13 February 2015.