Objectives of the SFB

The DFG-funded collaborative research centre “Re-Figuration of Spaces” (SFB 1265) focuses on the wide-ranging spatial restructuring and new orders created by intensified forms of transnational economic activity, radical changes in political geographies worldwide, the development and proliferation of digital communication technologies and the global increase in the circulation of people and goods since the late 1960s.

The basic assumption of the SFB 1265 “Re-Figuration of Spaces” is that the various relationships between spaces and people have radically changed and are currently being renegotiated, rearranged and transformed in complex ways as a result of the social transformations usually referred to as globalisation. We start from the programmatic idea that spatial processes of mediatisation, polycontexturalisation and translocalisation are crucial complements of the acceleration of communicative action on the temporal level.

The collaborative research centre analyses spatial transformation processes with the aim to contribute to a better understanding of current social conflicts and uncertainties that threaten to destabilise societies. By including architecture and urban planning studies for the first time in a collaborative research centre, we also hope to be able to advance alternative models for future developments of public spaces.

Close collaborations across the disciplines of sociology, geography, architecture, media and communication studies, urban planning and the arts provide excellent opportunities to develop novel approaches and innovative methodologies in the study of space, and contribute to fleshing out the future profile of transdisciplinary research on space.

The overall goal during the first phase is to outline and redefine social research on space in terms of re-figuration. We seek to advance a new theoretical approach to the social order as a form of spatial-communicative re-figuration. This can only be done if existing and new methods of theory-based empirical research on spatial phenomena are brought together in systematic ways. Synthesising theory work and methodologies from different disciplines and fresh empirical research is thus a priority, and new research formats to ensure the integration of joint work and proactive integration of all participating researchers in the project will be established and put to the test.

A public relations project using the resources and means of contemporary art to prepare and communicate the results of the projects to a wider, more general public, is an integral component of the SFB.