Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu



30 April 2013

‘The reflexive imperative and the third age’


Applications are being sought for a prestigious (+3) full time PhD Studentship, to be based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, to begin in October 2013.

About the project: In recent years, theoretical and empirical research has led to claims that contemporary conditions are leading to increasing reflexivity.  In this work, later life has been largely neglected; despite recognition that the experience of ageing has been transformed with some scholars identifying a long ‘third age’. This raises questions about the extent to which reflexivity applies to later life and/or whether it is experienced in different ways in old age.  This project will examine modes of reflexivity in later life by; (i) reviewing theoretical approaches to the concept of reflexivity and how these relate to later life (ii) adopting Margaret Archer’s four modes of reflexivity (communicative, autonomous, meta and fractured) as a framework for understanding potential orientations towards action and wider social relations in the third age (iii) examine empirically a number of key areas where ageing and reflexivity now intersect and where the outcomes transform both ageing and its social coordinates (including health, wellbeing and social participation in the third age).  This will be done by means of a survey and in-depth interviews of people aged 50+ living in Wales using Archer’s ICONI scale as a sampling mechanism and through secondary analysis of categorical data in existing Welsh surveys

Information about the School: Cardiff School of Social Sciences is a large School with over 160 staff and a thousand undergraduate and postgraduate students. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise rated almost all of its research to be of an international standard, with 55% of it either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. This rating, together with the size of the School, places it amongst the top five centres in the UK. Since its creation in 2000, the School has attracted over £18 million of research funds.

Cardiff University is the home of the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre, part of a national network of 21 accredited Doctoral Training Centres across the UK judged by the ESRC to deliver truly excellent postgraduate training provision.

About the studentship 
The award is available on a +3 basis. A +3 studentship provides funding for the three years only, and assumes that the applicant will already have had research training from an appropriate master’s degree.

Studentships will commence in September 2013 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant and an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for three years for full-time students. In 2012 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £13,590 and the RTSG was £750.

ESRC studentships are available from the Wales DTC for UK and EU students who meet residency requirements set out by the ESRC. Please consult the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide for full details on residential eligibility requirements.

ESRC studentship funding is highly competitive. Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class, or upper second class, honours degree or appropriate master’s degree.

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit the following documentation by the deadline of 12.00pm, 31st May 2013. Note that the deadline is absolute and applications received after this specified time and date will not be accepted. 

  • Covering letter and CV - Please send in a covering letter outlining what makes you a suitable candidate (this should cover what skills/knowledge you bring to the project, what aspects you find particularly interesting and any ideas you may they have on how it could be developed). This should be no more than 2 pages. Please also specify whether you wish to apply on a +3 or 1+3 basis. You will also need to submit a CV with this.
  • A completed application form for admission to doctoral study in the School of Social Sciences – submitted to the Academic Registry via the online admissions portal:

(Please specify the School of Social Sciences – Research Degree – Doctor of Philosophy (Social Sciences) with a start date of October 2013 whether you are applying for a +3 or 1+3 award)

Applicants should complete the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application form (approx 500 words) to summarise how they would approach the given specified research project.  They should use the ‘Personal Statement’ section (approx 500 words) of the application form to compliment the information given in the covering letter and talk more about their background and interest in postgraduate study.

  • Academic References – all applications require two references to be submitted in support. Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as we will be using these to help us evaluate your ESRC studentship application.
  • Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application by the funding deadline.

If you have any queries about the application process, these should be directed to Vicky Parkin at 

How applications will be assessed

The closing deadline for applications is 12.00pm, 31st May 2013. Application forms will be assessed by a panel made up of the project supervisors and the Director of Graduate Studies, following which short-listed applicants will be invited to interview. We expect interviews to take place in early June 2013.

If you have any queries regarding the studentship please contact Vicky Parkin – 02920 870 855 (9am-1pm)