Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-25 "Disney governance, sustainability and contestation of the growth model"

This job offer has expired

    Université Gustave Eiffel
    Political sciences
    SociologyUrban sociology
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Marne-La-Vallée
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND


The major urban planning and economic development projects organized around Disneylands worldwide raise the issue of strategic development choices and possible transformations in terms of the governance of the territories hosting the parks managed by the Walt Disney Company. The issue of the social acceptability of these developments was absent at the time of the historic completion of the first Disneyland (Anaheim, California). In the 1980s, at the time of the signing of the original French convention, it was restricted to a debate around threatened French cultural values. It has now been broadened to address global issues of sustainability and to consider the potential risk in terms of the contestation of the projects by civil society. In the name of sustainability, new forms of contestation of the growth imperative are now indeed emerging: this was shown to some extent by the results of the Commission Nationale du Débat Public (CNDP) set up during the pre-operational phase of the construction of the Center Park leisure center in the Disney cluster of Marne-la-Vallée (2010). In the same timeframe, in the ""original"" territory of the Disney parks (Anaheim, California, host city to Disneyland since 1955), the intensification of tourist activities and of the urban production was challenged for a brief moment in the early 2010s. At that time, a City Council hostile to the growth model in place was determined to break with the development model in place since the 1950s.

This relative specificity of each situation, which is more or less conflictual depending on the territory, refers, in the scientific field this time, to the notion of the ""growth coalition"", originally developed in the 1970s and 1980s by H. Molotch and J. Logan (Molotch, 1976; Logan & Molotch, 1987) from a political economy perspective. The concept aimed to understand the place of politics in the promotion of economic growth, as well as the coalitions between political and entrepreneurial elites to ensure the sustainability of this same growth pattern. This notion is now being remobilized in Europe, in times of shrinking state action and the parallel growth of the role of big business in the production and management of the city (Cox, 2017), particularly, but not exclusively, through public-private partnerships.

The candidate is expected to have a strong theoretical background in terms of the political economy of territories (Cox, 2017) in order to grasp the subject. The aim of the thesis would be to contribute to extending the analysis of these forms of partnerships over a long period of time (between 30 and 50 years depending on the case study) by trying to understand the tipping points and the reordering around new actors that have appeared in both the political and economic fields. A second goal would be to integrate the paradigm of sustainability (in all senses of the term) as a potential disrupter or, on the contrary, as a factor of reinforcement of growth coalitions (cf. the risk, unprecedented in the extent of its impact on tourism activity, posed by the covid pandemic since 2020). The thesis will question to what extent the mobilization for sustainability, whether keeping a high or low profile, is likely to overturn these coalitions or to redefine their objectives profoundly.

The future doctoral candidate will be integrated into the DISGOUVDYN research program started in 2021 (i-site project). The project aims to test this notion of growth coalition in order to understand the arrangements (and above all the rearrangements) of local governance around the Disney parks over time, and thus to explore their evolution under a regime of uncertainty as to the sustainability of the chosen development paths. He/she will be hosted at the University of California, Irvine in the Dept. Of Urban Planning and Public Policy for his/her mobility.

Although the study in the framework of the DISGOUVDYN project is anchored in two specific cases (Anaheim and sector 4 of Marne-la-Vallée), the candidate is also encouraged to propose, according to his or her skills, an additional or alternative field work to the Marne-la-Vallée case study (Orlando, Tokyo, Shanghai, or Hong Kong)."

More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel.
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory.
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.

  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.
  • Support service is available during every step of the application process by email: clear-doc@univ-eiffel.fr

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Geography: Master Degree or equivalent
    Sociology: Master Degree or equivalent
    Political sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Specific Requirements

A secondment at UC, Irvine, Dept. of Urban Planning and Public Policy (USA).

A very good level in French is expected if one of the field work is situated in Marne-la-Vallée.

Basic notions in Mandarin are welcome if one of the field work is situated in China.


Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
5, Boulevard Descartes

EURAXESS offer ID: 717428


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