Currently Peter Achterberg (Dordrecht, 1977) is associate professor of sociology and member of the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS) at Erasmus University. After finishing his PhD-thesis on the rise of the new political culture and the decline in class voting, he conducted research on the nature of social inequality, cultural globalization, welfare state convergence, science communication, political communication, increased penalization, political polarization, secularization, and other subjects.

Stef Aupers (1969) is Associate Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and a member of CROCUS. He has published in Dutch and international journals like Sociologie, Asian Journal of Social Science, Journal of Contemporary Religion, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Information, Communication and Society, European Journal of Cultural Studies and European Journal of Communication on cultural change and topics like post-Christian spirituality, conspiracy culture, Internet culture, play, online gaming and popular culture. His latest books are Religions of Modernity: Relocating the Sacred to the Self and the Digital (Brill, 2010, edited with Dick Houtman), Paradoxes of Individualization: Social Control and Social Conflict in Contemporary Modernity (Ashgate, forthcoming 2011, with Dick Houtman and Willem de Koster). In 2012 a monograph Under the Spell of Modernity will be published (Ashgate).


Samira van Bohemen (Rotterdam, 1987) is a Phd candidate at the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research interests are primarily located in the fields of popular culture, religious studies and political sociology. Her Phd-project deals with the performative aspects of gender as expressed by members of the Red Hat Society (RHS), a popular international movement of women over fifty. In addition to her Phd-project she is also engaged in research on contemporary religion and environmental concern in the West and on secular intolerance of Islam and the rise of populist political parties in the Netherlands.

Nilyufer N. Hamid-Turksoy (Bulgaria, 30 August 1978) is a PhD candidate at the Department of Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She received her BA (2000) and MA (2002) in the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies at Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) in Cyprus. She worked as a research assistant and a junior lecturer within this Faculty (2000-2008). At the same time Nilyufer worked as a public relations and communications consultant in the projects funded by the UNDP, USAID and the EU. In 2008, Nilyufer received a grant from the European Commission to participate as a visiting researcher in Amsterdam School of Communication Research at Amsterdam University. In 2010, she continued her research by transferring to the Sociology Department of EUR. Nilyufer currently works on her PhD dissertation about Turkey’s political and socio-cultural representation in the British quality and tabloid press.

Jaron Harambam (Amsterdam, 1983) is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He uses the empirical case of “conspiracy theories” – or in better words, the culture of radical skepticism and distrust towards elites, media, politics, science, technologies and so on – to understand better the cultural mechanisms that constitute peoples’ engagements with knowledge, and its institutions, in times of epistemological/ontological uncertainty. The research is therefore not only focused on these lay people, but on the dynamic interactions with these other knowledge production machines. During his Research Master in Social Sciences at Graduate School of Social Sciences / University of Amsterdam, he undertook both qualitative and quantitative research under the supervision of Stef Aupers (EUR), Dick Houtman (EUR) and Jan-Willem Duyvendak (UvA), on the commercialization of virtual worlds and on the ambiguities of online social contact. He is mostly fascinated by empirical phenomena that relate to Technology, Popular Culture and Modernity, with a special theoretical interest in the Philosophy of (Social) Science.

Photo by Roger Cremers
Photo by Roger Cremers

Dick Houtman (Utrecht, 1963) is Professor of Cultural Sociology at the Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His principal research interest is cultural, political, and religious change in contemporary western societies, particularly the emergence of a political culture that revolves around cultural rather than class issues, processes of religious change and revitalization, and the cultural quest for authenticity. His most recent international books are Things: Religion and the Question of Materiality (2011, edited with Birgit Meyer), Paradoxes of Individualization (2011, with Stef Aupers and Willem de Koster), Religions of Modernity (2010, edited with Stef Aupers) and Farewell to the Leftist Working Class (2008, with Peter Achterberg and Anton Derks).  

Leonard van ‘t Hul (MSc) studied sociology at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam. He is currently enrolled in the research-master Sociology of Culture, Media & the Arts, and is currently preparing a PhD project (with Stef Aupers and Dick Houtman) on the role of religious pluralism in religious change. This project builds on his masterthesis on modern Witchcraft in the Netherlands, and effectively combines his main fields of interest, namely cultural and religious change. In addition, his academic interests circle between historical-sociology and the epistemology of the social-sciences.


Roy Kemmers (Delft, 1980) is a PhD candidate at CROCUS. In 2010 he graduated from the Research Master Sociology of Culture, Media and the Arts at Erasmus University Rotterdam with a thesis on the contrasting (and conflicting) worldviews of higher and lower educated regarding cultural diversity. His PhD project is provisionally titled ‘Understanding Contemporary Populism’ and in it he aims to understand ordinary people’s political disenchantment by taking into account the content of their dissatisfaction, their views and biographies. In addition, he has published (with colleagues) on secular intolerance of Islam in the Netherlands and on the political legacy of Pim Fortuyn.

Willem de Koster (Delft, 1984) is assistant professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He obtained his PhD from this university in 2010, with a thesis entitled ‘Nowhere I Could Talk Like That’: Togetherness and Identity on Online Forums. In addition to his Internet research, Willem studies the genesis and manifestations of contemporary cultural conflict in Western countries. He has published on a wide range of issues, including virtual communities, individualization, controversial cartoons, agony of choice, the rise of the penal state, the public role of religion, different forms of tolerance and their political implications, welfare chauvinism, and anti-immigrant voting. Next to his research, Willem serves on the editorial board of the Dutch peer-reviewed journal Sociologie.

Having studied sociology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), Radboud University in Nijmegen and Erasmus University Rotterdam, Katerina Manevska is currently a PhD-student at CROCUS. In 2009 she was awarded a prestigious Mosaic-grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for her PhD-proposal on economic and cultural explanations for ethnocentrism. In her PhD-research she mainly investigates the relationship between interethnic contacts and individuals’ opinions about ethnic minorities. Departing from the classic ‘contact hypothesis’, she attempts to develop a more elaborated theoretical framework for understanding whom will be more inclined to have interethnic contacts and under which circumstances such contacts will influence the opinion about ethnic minorities. In addition to her PhD research and together with various colleagues she has also been involved in research in the field of religious studies and political sociology.

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