Planned subprojects for the applied for second funding period (2022-2025)
In the first funding phase, the CRC’s work focused on elaborating basic concepts of social theory related to the spatiality of society, and on empirically identifying the qualitative features of refiguration. This empirical analysis advanced an in-depth specification of the sensitizing concepts translocalization, mediatization and polycontexturalization. The CRC identified four socially dominant spatial figures: territorial space, network space, trajectorial space, and place.
For the second funding phase, three key priorities have been outlined: Research will (1.) highlight the role of conflicts in processes of spatial construction, particularly in and between different spatial figures. This inherently conflict-theoretical focus is (2.) linked to an in-depth exploration of the phenomenon of polycontexturalization and the way it is subjectively managed. These empirical investigations include the task of identifying and differentiating new emerging spatial orders.
Insights gained during the first phase have made it clear that though refiguration processes share certain similarities with regards to their qualitative features, there are also crucial differences resulting from tensions between the different spatial figures. Focusing on these similarities and differences, as well as the multiple interconnections between the spaces studied in widely different societies around the globe, the CRC will continue to systematically pursue its comparative perspective concerning (3.) multiple spatialities. Methodologically, this approach allows us to explore both social convergences and divergences of refiguration on different scales without having to ex ante identify the spaces under study as clearly demarcated or independent entities. The CRC thereby accounts for the – at times conflictual – plurality of spatial knowledges, spatial actions and spatial regimes in order to gain a more nuanced understanding of these concepts.
In addition to qualitative methods used to study refiguration, the CRC will further expand its repertoire by incorporating more quantitative data and mixed methods research. A range of case studies will investigate different spatial orders. By utilizing innovative combinations, such as panel data and spatial data, alongside novel mapping procedures, the CRC will continue to advance the task it set itself during the first funding period of developing independent methods of social-science-based spatial research. The successful inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration between scholars of sociology, geography, communication studies, planning studies, architecture and the arts will be carried forward. Urban anthropology represents a new addition to this interdisciplinary framework.
- A01: Geographic Imaginations II: Ontological (In)Securities in Rural Areas (Ilse Helbrecht)
The subproject “Geographic Imaginations II” adopts an international comparative perspective in order to examine the refiguration of rural spaces with regard to its effects on subjective geographical imaginations and related notions of security. We will empirically analyze how spatial conceptions of different population groups (especially in relation to age, gender, and social status) are undergoing significant changes due to processes of globalization, debordering, dis-embedding, re-embedding, and mediatization – leading to existential, subjective insecurities. Building upon our empirical studies of subjective spatial knowledge in the three highly urbanized locations of Vancouver, Berlin, and Singapore, we were able to deepen and expand the concept of ontological security in the first funding period. We were able to show empirically that the experience of security and insecurity is decisively shaped by subjects’ respective urban, geopolitical, social, and cultural contexts. In the second funding period, we will build on these insights and conduct a comparative study of refiguration processes in rural areas: What kind of functions do imagined forms of subjectively experienced spatial knowledge take on in relation to the confidence individuals feel in their own positioning in rural areas? Which spatial figures and spatial orders are perceived as conflicting? And what kind of geographical imaginations come to play important roles in the formation of ontological security – with regard to one’s own identity construction(s) as well as social and material environments?
The second funding period’s focus on rural spaces (in contrast to the globally networked spaces of agglomeration studied previously) appears particularly promising because here questions of power, sovereignty, conflict, and global embeddedness are posed differently in relation to ontological (in)securities, and we can therefore safely assume that different conflicts will emerge in refiguration processes between the spatial figures of territorial space, network space, trajectorial space, and place. Specifically, the subproject continues the focus of the first funding period on case studies in Canada and Germany in order to ensure comparability. The study sites selected in both countries mark a central field of tension in which rural areas are constituted in terms of ontological (in)securities: the distinction between prosperous and peripheralized rural areas. First, using the examples of Powell River (British Columbia, Canada) and Bad Urach (Baden-Württemberg, Germany), the project analyzes the geographical imaginations embedded in the everyday life of prosperous rural spaces, which are often negotiated as aestheticized places of longing and retreat for people looking to escape globalized everyday life in big cities. Second, using Burns Lake (British Columbia, Canada) and the Seeland (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) as examples, we examine the subjective geographical imaginations connoted with feelings of security in rural areas that are considered peripheralized and whose perceptions are dominated by a lack of perspective, images of failure, and flight (to the city). Empirically, the project pursues a multi-methods approach and combines different techniques including document and media analysis, photo elicitation, reflexive photography, and joint mapping.
- A02: The Spatial Knowledge of Young Adults: The Constitution of Online, Offline and Hybrid Spaces (Angela Million/Anna Juliane Heinrich)
In the first funding period of the CRC, the subproject was able to identify trends in the refiguration of spaces of childhood and adolescence. It became clear that, amid ongoing processes of refiguration, widely used “action space” models no longer adequately describe the lifeworld of young people. Simultaneity and overlaps between different spatial logics increasingly shape young people’s spatial knowledge. In the second funding period, we aim to consolidate our findings on a longitudinal basis. The aim of the second phase is to capture the increasing heterogeneity of adolescent lifeworlds by formulating different types that map the spectrum of adolescent spatial constitutions and thereby reveal different patterns of interweaving spatial figures. The project will moreover investigate the effects of digital mediatization on spatial knowledge. We determine the spatial knowledge of young people on the basis of spatial practices, communicative actions and spatial perceptions.
The subproject’s main research questions are: (i) Which characteristic spatial practices, communicative actions and spatial perceptions shape the spatial knowledge of young people and what are the different types of spatial constitutions that can be inferred from this? (ii) How do young people connect different spatial figures (including territorial space, network space, trajectorial space, and place) in their everyday actions? (iii) Which influencing factors are particularly formative for young people’s spatial knowledge and to what extent does this establish different types of spatial constitutions? Above all, how does digital mediatization (especially smartphone use) shape young people’s spatial knowledge? And to what extent, how, and with what results are spaces constituted as online, offline, and as hybrid, or are spatial orders increasingly hybridized?
With an innovative multi-method approach developed specifically for the project, we aim at a comprehensive perspective that reconstructs the constitution of “online spaces” and “offline spaces” not as separate processes, but as mutually dependent processes that also produce “hybrid spaces”. The methodological design also allows for in-depth insights into the role of materialities (including the shape of concrete places and the meaning of individual artifacts) in young people’s spatial knowledge. The continued comparison between Germany (Berlin) and Peru (Lima) enables the project to determine to what extent global types of spatial constitutions can be made out – in view of (partially) converging (urban) spaces of childhood and youth worldwide as well as the effects of digital mediatization on the spatial knowledge of young people.
- A03: Knowledge and Goods II: Communicative Actions of Consumers and Intermediaries (Nina Baur/Elmar Kulke)
In the first funding phase, the subproject “Knowledge and Goods” used the example of buying and selling fresh fruit and vegetables to investigate the communicative actions of consumers belonging to different social milieus in four Berlin neighborhoods as well as those of retailers (so-called “intermediaries”) as actors in the commodity chain. The subproject carried out basic empirical and theoretical work in terms of (1) determining the spatial conflicts between territorial space, trajectorial space, and places that arise from the interweaving of consumption contexts, contexts of market withdrawal, and production contexts. (2) The knowledge held by consumers and other actors in the commodity chain includes spatial knowledge and plays a key role in maintaining circulation along the commodity chain. (3) Spatial knowledge needs to be polycontextural because (a) production, sales and consumption contexts each exhibit different spatial references but are linked along the commodity chain, (b) markets inherently set up a spatial conflict between territorial and trajectorial space at points of market withdrawal, and (c) actors within the market reflect the polycontexturality of commodity circulation more strongly with increasing mediatization. (4) Spatial knowledge includes non-knowledge, which constitutes a central strategy for resolving spatial conflicts in everyday life. (5) Given the extent of non-knowledge, circulation along the commodity chain can only be maintained because objectivations (goods, store, districts, traffic routes) are symbolically charged, act as carriers of knowledge, and stabilize the circulation of goods.
By analyzing the interplay of spatial knowledge and spatial order, the project has made a significant contribution to specifying the concept of polycontexturalization and its reciprocal dynamics with translocalization and mediatization. From its conception, the project has followed a generalization strategy for a specific spatial order (Berlin as an example for the Global North). Building on its results as well as additional preliminary work conducted by the project leaders, the second funding period will include a comparison with two divergent spatial orders, namely Nairobi (Kenya) and Singapore – cases that form a maximum contrast both to Germany and to each other. The project thus follows the aim of the CRC’s project area A to examine action-relevant knowledge in contrasting spaces. Even more so than in the first funding period, the project takes a systematic look at why and how knowledge is distributed unequally among different social actors in the commodity chain as well as material infrastructures, and how it can serve as a resource of power.
In preparation for the greater integration of quantitative methods, as envisioned for the second funding phase, the subproject developed an innovative, spatially sensitive and complex mixed-methods design, which will now be further refined. This research design combines quantitative geographical and sociological approaches (mappings of building use, supply mapping, product range surveys) and qualitative approaches (ethnographic site visits, photo documentation, mappings, expert interviews, narrative interviews combined with walk-alongs).
- A05: Being Home: Living Spaces and Self-Images of the Kenyan Middle Class (Jochen Kibel)
In the first funding period, the subproject investigated the biographical constitution of space among members of the middle-class in Kenya and Germany. Based on biographical narrative interviews, it could be shown that “investive status work” is a common feature of middle class-oriented lifestyles in Kenya and Germany. In both cases, a planned approach to conducting one’s life goes hand in hand with linear-concentric patterns of biographization. Central importance is given to the constitution of a home. Building on these results, the second funding period will focus on home-making practices among the Kenyan middle class. Home-making will hereby be understood as a process that encompasses both material-architectural aspects as well as relations between everyday spaces. This approach seems promising, as (1.) home-making constitutes a central field of investive status work; (2.) lifestyle patterns undergo significant changes in the context of home-making and have an explicitly spatial character; (3.) home-making assembles a spatial infrastructure of subjective life-worlds in which relations are established in a specific way; (4.) the analysis of home-making practices promises to shed light on the self-images of residents, which, in turn, makes it possible to examine how refiguration is processed on the level of subjective spatial knowledge.
For the Kenyan sample, it was also shown that experiences abroad and global mobility are constitutive for the self-image of the middle class. In the second funding period, the subproject will therefore analyze forms of subjectivation among members of the Kenyan middle class on the basis of their spatial relations. To this end, the project will study 40 Kenyan middle class households (20 each in Nairobi and Berlin). The interrogation into how and which polycontextural relations are established in home-making practices (e.g. between countryside, city, diaspora) will provide the central criterion of difference with which distinctive types of spatial lifestyles will be reconstructed. The subproject thus answers the following research questions: (1.) How can the social change in living conditions due to entry into the middle class be described spatially? (2.) Which spatial forms of subjectivation can be reconstructed in the context of home-making? (3.) How are discursive subject attributions internalized on the level of subjective spatial knowledge? (4.) Which conflicts between spatial figures arise in relation to home-making practices?
The biographical perspective of the first funding period will now be complemented by an interpretative subjectivation analysis. The internal diversity of the Kenyan middle class is further broken down along its spatial orientations, thereby empirically sharpening the concept of multiple spatialities. A sociological discourse analysis is, moreover, used to reconstruct subject attributions in the discourse around the global middle class. In addition, residents are asked to create images of home-making by photographing their relevant residential and everyday spaces. The resulting visual data serve as impulses for in-depth interviews. Ethnographic observations in the living environment and go-alongs tracing everyday spatial relations complete the data corpus.
- A06: Trajectories, Networks and Places of Disparate Infrastructures: Spatial Figures, Attitudes and Social Inequalities (Jan Goebel/Maria Norkus)
The subproject investigates the question to what extent the spatial environment of central infrastructural facilities, as experienced in everyday life, influences attitudes towards social justice and redistribution as well as assessments of existing inequalities, which are becoming increasingly polarized and therefore seem to drive processes of refiguration. Hereby, the subproject conceives of environments of everyday life not as fixed container spaces, as is usually done in quantitative spatial studies of social inequality, but as individual entanglements of network and trajectorial spaces spanning different places. Looking at respondents’ places of residence and work, the subproject analyzes the relationship, interlinkage and overlap between them.
Since studies using quantitative survey data to examine social inequality in relation to space tend to maintain a one-sided territorial focus based around the respondents’ place of residence, other spatial dimensions have largely been ignored. The subproject aims to close this research gap by incorporating further spatial figures, both theoretically and empirically. For this purpose, the project uses the geolocation information of the quantitative survey data provided by the Socio-Economic Panel. In addition to providing data on specific administrative regions, linking the different data sources to the survey data at the level of exact spatial coordinates allows the subproject to use geocoded data to characterize the specific locations of infrastructures and to model their actual integration into the spatial network as well as the pathway patterns of respondents.
The subproject thereby reconstructs trajectory and network spaces around respondents’ places of residence and work in order to (1) form typologies, which are then (2) related to sociodemographic data on social inequality. In a further step (3), the subproject connects this data with attitudinal data on social justice and redistribution. This combination enables an examination of the influence of spatial figures on attitudes regarding redistribution, and on notions of justice and the associated conflicts. We anticipate that concrete spatial experiences of inequality are relevant in shaping attitudes regarding distribution and justice. The subproject thus offers an innovative contribution to the study of the relationship between space and social inequality. It examines the role of spatial figures and processes of refiguration associated with socio-spatial polarization with reference to normative spatial knowledge.
- B01: Peripheral Rural Areas: Digitalization and Social Constructions of Space (Gabriela Christmann/Ariane Sept)
In the first funding phase, the project investigated the refiguration of spaces with regard to digitalization processes, digital practices, and changes in constructions of space in urban planning and development contexts since the 1970s. The focus lay on the increasing use of digital planning tools such as GIS and CAD. The analysis of all case studies, from New York City (USA) to Lagos (Nigeria) and Frankfurt/Main (Germany), showed that while digitization processes contain non-simultaneous developments, the overall picture revealed significant similarities in the way shifts and changes in planning activities and the social construction of urban spaces are taking hold. A strong tendency towards translocal actions could be observed: Members of planning teams increasingly used digital systems to work spatially distributed, from widely separated workplaces on the same planning project in the development of a particular urban space, which may, in turn, also be located elsewhere. Only a few members of the planning team needed to have direct experience with the specific urban space in question. On the other hand, planers increasingly have to process very heterogenous sets of digital spatial data and thus have to contend with a high degree of spatial polycontexturality. As urban spaces have become more and more “data-fied” and entered into digital computer worlds, planning-related constructions of space are now further structured and co-constructed by these machine-based processes. Another finding was that these changes did not tend to create tensions or conflicts, and despite an increase in the translocalization and polycontexturalization of actions, their reference points remained firmly anchored in urban contexts. Rural contexts did not come into view.
In the second funding period, the focus will shift from urban to – peripheralized – rural areas, in which we expect to see more tensions and conflicts related to changes in digitized planning actions. Research will continue to focus on the practices of actors directly involved in regional planning, but a further line of inquiry will look into practices of (regional) political actors and rural residents. Digitalization processes, digital practices and related changes in social constructions of space will continue to be at the heart of our investigations. Using the examples of China (Asia) and Chile (South America), we ask: What kind of digitalization strategies have been pursued, and what kind of digitalization processes have taken place as a result? What kind of changes can be observed in the practices of key agents in relation to the available digital technologies and applications? How are social constructions of space in rural areas affected by these changes in the respective cultural contexts? We will examine the spatial figures that emerge from this constellation and investigate to what extent they clash or stand in conflict with each other. Data collection will be carried out through meta-analyses, expert interviews, problem-oriented interviews and participatory observations. Data analysis will utilize concepts based on the Grounded Theory approach.
- B02: Control/Space: The Spatiality of Digital Infrastructures in Contextures, Maps and Discourses (Hubert Knoblauch/Silke Steets)
In the first funding period, the subproject’s focus lay on the question of how digital mediatization affects the work of and in control rooms. Changes in translocal control work were particularly evident in the phenomenon of polycontexturalization, i.e., the simultaneous observation and management of a wide variety of spaces. This is made possible by the digital integration of control centers, which connects human control actions as part of cyber-physical systems with the controlled spaces.
In the second funding period, the subproject will investigate the spatiality of digital infrastructures focusing on control and data centers of “the Internet”. In doing so, we use the insight gained during the first phase that the control of infrastructures remains dependent on interpreting agents despite progressing automation. A broadening of our research perspective seems necessary, since digital infrastructures exhibit their own materiality and spatiality and are closely connected to both representations that guide action as well as spatial imaginaries. In order to engage with the complex spatiality of digital infrastructures, we follow a threefold strategy: Following on from the first funding period, we (a) use focused ethnography, videography, and expert interviews to examine what can be understood as “control spaces of the Internet”, that is, the contextures of control work in data centers and Internet Exchange Points. In a diachronic as well as synchronic comparison, we (b) collect typical chartings and mappings of the Internet since the late 1960s and analyze them from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge. With the help of discourse analysis, we (c) collate the imaginaries and metaphorical descriptions of digital spaces as they can be found in governmental, scientific, entrepreneurial, net activist, and pop cultural texts. The empirical entry points are Germany and India. From the triangulation of the three project levels, we expect to unfold a complex understanding of the spatiality of digital infrastructures. The project thus aims at an understanding of the refiguration of spaces generated by digital mediatization. It intends to further define the spatial figure of the network (as well as possible conflicts with other spatial figures) and addresses the connection between space, infrastructural regimes, and power in a comparative way that also promises to provide insights into the multiple spatialities of the digital.
- B03: Smart People: Queer Everyday Life in Digitalized Spaces (Martina Löw/Jörg Stollmann)
In the first funding period, we investigated the refiguration of spaces in the context of South Korea’s smart city Songdo as large-scale real estate project. It could be shown that social tensions between locally rooted family values and an orientation towards the globalized market economy, which underlie much of the city’s everyday practices, are mediated by homogenous housing typologies as well as an extensive digitalization concept geared towards the interests of the Korean middle class. Given the obvious way in which South Korea’s smart city developments bolster nuclear family structures and leave aside social, cultural and ethnic differences, the second funding period will focus on the refiguration of spaces in highly digitalized South Korea specifically in relation to conflictual sociocultural placements. Since the 1990s, South Korea’s planning culture has increasingly attracted public criticism resulting in the formation of social movements calling for participatory modes of planning, greater ecological sustainability and a sensitive approach to renewal. South Korea has, moreover, witnessed a diversification of lifestyles, particularly in metropolitan regions. Especially the increased public visibility of LGBTIQ+ can be seen as unsettling the heteronormative and familial structures of South Korean society.
The project will analyze digitalized, mediatized (inter)actions and practices in the context of queer subcultures and urban social movements. Data on the smart city project gathered during the first funding period will be put in relation to subcultural placements of queer and urban development movements in order for the CRC to gain a deeper insight into the emergence of multiple spatialities and processes of spatial refiguration in South Korea. A central research question will be: Which spatial figures are linked, relationally and dynamically, to what kind of of spatial logics, and what is the role of digitalization in these contexts? To this end, we have defined three work packages for analysis – 1. ethnographic field work focusing on spatial strategies of LGBTIQ+ communities in the greater Seoul area; 2. secondary analyses of interviews with Korean inhabitants of Songdo exploring social constructions of othering; and 3. expert interviews with key actors of urban social movements on conflictual productions of space.
- B04: Locative Media II: New Spatial Realities between Conflict and Coexistence (Ingo Schulz-Schaeffer)
The subproject investigates the effects of the routinization of locative media on spatial realities constituted by spatial knowledge and its impact on everyday actions. Locative media are mobile apps that access the geolocation features of smartphones to locate their users in physical space and display web content tailored to their current location. In the user’s perception, the digital space on the smartphone screen and the physical space merge into a cyber-physical reality context. In the first funding period, the project made an important contribution to our understanding of the refiguration of spaces by using locative media to focus on the recent wave of digitalization of urban spaces, and by empirically investigating and theoretically conceptualizing the consequences of this refiguration process for the question of accessibility of public places.
Since the application process for the first project phase, locative media have evolved from an experimental field for new practices of spatial appropriation and perception to becoming everyday technologies. Leading internet platforms have adopted the annotation functions of locative recommendation services, and mobile games (e.g., Pokémon Go) and mobile dating (e.g., Tinder) have become widespread. Our previous findings show that the routinization of locative media is accompanied by a polycontexturalization of space-related constructions of reality. This process results in new constellations characterized by conflictual appropriations of space as well as by coexistence.
In the second funding period, the subproject therefore uses the example of mobile recommendation services, mobile gaming and mobile dating to investigate different forms of digital mediatization of preexisting spatial realities and the cyber-physical construction of alternative spatial realities, focusing on constellations of conflict and coexistence. In all these cases, locative media can become the cause of conflicts, for example when the cyber-physical spatial reality deviates from established perceptions of reality and this is interpreted as a distortion, or when it is accompanied by practices of spatial appropriation that contradict established socio-spatial norms of behavior. However, in all of these cases locative media can also enable new forms of coexistence of different spatial realities, for instance when the respective cyber-physical spatial realities remain mutually invisible to each other. The subproject thus empirically explores the specific conditions in which either conflicting or coexisting spatial realities emerge by using a mix of methods including problem-centered interviews, focused-ethnographic observations, and computer-assisted text analyses.
- B05: Translocal Networks II: Contested Spaces and Climate Justice on Social Media (Barbara Pfetsch)
During the first funding period, our project investigated the spatial arrangements of public spheres, focusing on Twitter communication in the cities of Berlin and Jerusalem. Results revealed that actual places remain critically important in digital communication and are regularly integrated into novel, translocal arrangements of public communication. Thus, we were able to empirically characterize translocality as a central feature of refiguration, especially apparent in situations of spatial contestation where conflictual meanings of places are negotiated.
Expanding on these foci in the second funding period, we will investigate discourses on conflicts around space and natural resources to show how they are negotiated in social media communication. Our aim is to map out communication in contested spaces by conducting four case studies, each representing a locally rooted spatial conflict which simultaneously links to the global issue of climate justice. The cases vary with regard to actor constellations and power relations, and are located in four different countries, each carrying varying political and social relevance in relation to climate change. We will study social media discourses on protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL) in the United States; movement action against deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest; protests against forest destruction for coal mining in Germany; and protests against the construction of Israel’s largest private natural gas power plant, which is located in close proximity to both Israeli and Palestinian cities.
On the level of (1) interaction networks, we ask how different communities are involved in climate justice discourses, and how they are rooted in space and locality. With regard to (2) issue spaces, we ask how actors connect local conflicts to similar issues in other places: which places are named and made relevant in the discourse, and how are they connected to translocal meta-narratives of climate justice and environmentalism? Finally, we also investigate the (3) spatial imaginations that social media users share in their textual and visual communication, examining how these are related to conflicting spatial figures and mobilized through political action.
For each case, we plan to collect data from the social media platform on which the respective public discourse is most salient (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram). The project combines network analyses, automated content analyses, image analyses, mapping, and qualitative, interpretative methods.
- C01: The Borders of the World II: Conflicts and Tensions in the Formation of Macro-Territorial Borders (Steffen Mau)
As part of project area C “Circulation and Order,” the subproject approaches the question of the refiguration of spaces from the perspective of borders. In the first funding period, the project focused on an inventory and analysis of border infrastructures in a global context and analyzed four highly fortified borders in relation to their determinants. In the upcoming phase, the project will focus on processes of macro-territorial border formation in the course of regional integration projects and their impact on mobility. The assumption, hereby, is that forms of regional integration represent an important intermediate level between the global level and the nation-state “container.” Processes of regional integration often support the opening of internal borders and strengthen freedom of movement within internal relations, but also – possibly as a result – precipitate processes of closure toward the outside world. While the Schengen Agreement, designating a complete dismantling of border controls, represents the most advanced form of macro-territorialization, in other cases typical elements may include visa exemption, extended rights of residence and settlement, or access to the labor market. At the same time, political and economic inequalities and conflicts have been observed to permanently block ambitious integration projects. This subproject is therefore also concerned with collisions and entanglements of different border types and spatial figures as well as the emergence of new spatial orders. Border change of the kind mentioned here links the territorial spaces of nation-states in new ways, transforms the border as a place, and creates new kinds of networks and circulations – each process producing specific tensions. Using three exemplary cases from different regions of the world (EU; Mercosur; ECOWAS), the subproject examines how circulation changes within and across macro-territorial borders and asks which types of spatial conflicts arise in the process. In addition, it will be analyzed how processes of extra-territorialization of borders (for example, in the context of the EU’s border policy) can come into conflict with the logic of space expressed in projects of regional integration. For example, the involvement of member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the EU’s migration policy has led to less freedom of movement within the regional integration zone. The project adopts a systematic comparative and case-reconstructive perspective and explores the research subject through document analysis and expert interviews. Finally, the border data collected in the first phase will be expanded along with our visa data to allow for a comparative examination of a larger number of regional integration projects. The guiding proposition here is that borders open up on the inside and harden on the outside, and that new circulation regimes emerge in the process. The project investigates the creation and structure of new spatial arrangements in this context.
- C05: Urban Microclimate Planning Regimes: The Constitution of Spaces and Infrastructures of Heat (Ignacio Farías)
Starting from a conceptualization of the city as critical zone of the Anthropocene, the subproject investigates the refiguration of urban spaces associated with microclimatic adaptation strategies. The project’s empirical focus therefore lies on the current formation of a microclimate regime in urban development contexts aimed at mitigating negative effects of creeping thermal stress on human and non-human life in the city. Using the interrelated examples of two pioneering cities with respect to microclimatic adaption strategies – namely Stuttgart in Germany and Fukuoka in Japan – three moments of the regime forming process will be examined from the perspective of spatial sociology: a) the problematization of urban heat, which is linked to certain socio-spatial arrangements of heat and affectedness; b) the infrastructuring of heat-resilient spaces, which is characterized by material-political strategies and conflicts with existing practices and infrastructures; and c) the translocal circulation of the microclimatic regime, which reveals variations in the associated refiguration of spaces. The subproject thereby aims to make a threefold contribution to the CRC’s research agenda: firstly, by studying spatial arrangements of heat and affectedness in order to determine which spatial figures are suitable for conceptualizing current processes of planetary refiguration; secondly, by examining urban microclimatic interventions in order to observe how the current climate crisis and climate policies are impacting the refiguration of spaces; and thirdly, by exploring local variations of this refiguration process through the interwoven stories told by the selected case studies.
- C06: Streaming Series: Spatial Stories and the Production Regimes of Afronovelas (Séverine Marguin)
This subproject investigates the production of spatial stories in popular culture using the example of streaming series. Over the past decades, TV series have emerged as influential mass media products boasting a wide range. They tell us stories about, in and through the world, thereby contributing to the creation of collective spatial stories and offering their own interpretations of current spatial changes worldwide. The project focuses on afronovelas to analyze spatial stories of the West African (upper) middle classes, which contain (as yet understudied) projections of a successful life and its associated everyday spaces in a West African metropolis.
Using both film analysis and approaches in spatial and cultural sociology, these spatial stories will be investigated within the context of their respective production regimes. The landscape of West African TV series is currently undergoing significant changes. It accommodates three competing production regimes, which will serve as paradigmatic units of comparison in our research: The first regime is a remnant of the colonial period and follows the model of global cooperation under the tutelage of France; the second regime grown out of increasing regionalization resulting in the emergence of a local West-African private sector in the field of audio-visual production; the third regime was spurred by the rise of platform economies leading to a growth in translocal co-productions. The subproject asks whether and how the production of fictional spaces in these tv series varies between different production regimes. It will, moreover, look into potential conflicts and mutual tensions between spatial stories of refiguration and refigured conditions of production.
Based on the concept of multiple spatialities, the project aims to map out variations of spatial stories in similar contexts and investigate whether they can be attributed to the series’ production regime. The different regimes can be read as spatial figurations – the links, interactions, and overlaps between them will be focus of our analysis. As paradigmatic markers of a refigured spatial order, these spatial figurations are of particular interest for the study of the refiguration of spaces, not least because they address two major societal challenges in recent decades, namely decolonization and mediatization. The project adopts a multimodal qualitative research approach that includes an in-depth analysis of three West African afronovelas, a focused ethnographic study into the production of fictional spaces on set, and an institutional mapping of the three production regimes.
- C07: Platform Economy: Spatial Conflicts over Airbnb between Global Marketization and Territorial Containment (Stefan Kirchner)
The subproject investigates the refiguration of spaces using the example of Airbnb. The broad question it concerns itself with is how and when conflicts arise from tensions between the spatial figures of place, network space and territorial space. The observation that Airbnb’s digital marketplace is characterized by a specific interrelationship of place and network space forms the basis for these analyses. As a key example of the platform economy, Airbnb enables its users to book accommodations around the world, thereby linking places in a digital network space. As a cyber-physical space, Airbnb combines location-based attributes, such as location and environment, with attributes of a virtual digital marketplace, such as algorithms, descriptions and ratings. In doing so, Airbnb curates location-based listings and global demand in order to make a profit. While initially many had hoped for a sustainable way of doing business and for the formation of a digital community, as encapsulated by the catchphrase “sharing economy,” today there is growing criticism. Critics see Airbnb as a prime example of a market regime of radicalized economization that turns private accommodation into a global commodity. Indeed, more and more professional providers are using Airbnb to offer several private accommodations on a commercial basis. In many cities, the global success and professionalization of Airbnb has increasingly led to problems, such as declining housing quality, rising real estate prices and non-regulated tourism. In the process, spatial conflicts often arise around Airbnb locally, as local initiatives and municipal bodies predominantly act in cities or neighborhoods, which, in turn, become clearly defined territorial spaces. Thus, territorial administrative areas often become the starting point for attempts to establish and enforce rules to contain Airbnb. So far, however, little is known about how Airbnb incorporates concrete places into a digital network space and how the conflictual interrelationship of network and territorial space shapes activities in Airbnb’s digital marketplace.
The subproject investigates these spatial conflicts and the underlying interrelationships between the spatial figures of place, network space and territorial space by employing a mixed-methods design comparing three cities: These cities (Berlin, Cape Town, San Francisco) will be examined in order to investigate, on the one hand, whether Airbnb implements uniform marketing strategies worldwide and, on the other hand, whether and how local initiatives and municipal bodies implement effective containment efforts. The project’s quantitative analyses use Airbnb itself as a novel data source. Here, web scraping stores the data of individual listings (GPS coordinates, ratings, descriptions, etc.) as a local dataset. For Berlin, with monthly intervals starting in 2015, this, for instance, includes over one million specifications which map the offers and their attributes over time. With this highly detailed panel data structure combined with the GPS coordinates, the marketplace can be extensively analyzed and linked to other data sources. Further quantitative analyses use data on conflict events and panel data on Airbnb listings to explore the interplay between the marketplace and spatial conflicts over time. Additional qualitative analyses moreover deepen and substantiate the quantitative results. Based on qualitative case studies of individual offers, interviews with experts broaden the perspective to include an analysis of the spatial conflicts surrounding Airbnb. This step examines Airbnb, local initiatives and municipal bodies. Against the backdrop of current developments, the project concludes by examining whether the discovered relationships will continue in a path-dependent manner after the Covid-19 pandemic or whether the conditions in Airbnb’s digital marketplace are undergoing substantial changes.
- C08/A04: Architectures of Asylum: Circulation of Governance Approaches, Planning Knowledge, Design Practices, and Materialities (Philipp Misselwitz)
In the first funding period, the subproject investigated subjective socio-spatial practices of appropriation and home-making among refugees in refugee camps and emergency shelters in Germany and Jordan. Research revealed these processes to be conflictual negotiations in which different bodies of knowledge become hybridized. The CRC’s guiding hypotheses on polycontexturalization and translocalization as manifestations of the refiguration of spaces proved fruitful for the analysis of this hybridization of subjective spatial knowledge. It was shown that they decisively shape extreme locations of asylum architectures, both in their materiality and as socio-spatial constructs. In this respect, another key finding was the observation that conditions established by regimes of care and control, which co-determine asylum architectures, cannot be understood as monolithic and homogeneous. The institutional knowledge manifested through planning and design standards or management regulations is shaped by complex, multiscalar and translocal dynamics of circulation.
In the second funding period, the subproject will undergo a shift in perspective in order to devote greater attention to these dynamically developing systems of order and the actors, conflicts and negotiation processes associated with them. Civil society actors and city administrations involved in concrete planning and construction processes of asylum architectures will constitute a key focal point of the investigation. These actors take on an increasingly important mediating role: between, on the one hand, asylum legislation defined at the national level, geostrategic security policies, actors belonging to the international humanitarian regime such as UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), globally active NGOs and development agencies and, on the other hand, the contextual factors and concrete everyday conflicts and challenges arising locally. The subproject will address the question which new “glocal” governance constellations emerge in the management of refugee migration in cities and how they influence the physical-material constitution of space through asylum architectures. By observing planning negotiations and the places they create in their physical-material dimension, the project investigates how nationally and supra-nationally defined regulatory frameworks (political and legal bases, norms, design standards, or manuals) are adapted to local conditions as assurances for technopolitical regimes of refugee housing and care, and what kind of new regime-building processes grow out of this constellation.
In continuity with the first funding period, the project will extend its case study of Berlin Tempohomes as a particular typology of emergency shelters. The case study in Jordan will be refocused on the metropolitan area of Amman. Abuja in Nigeria will be added as a third, validating case study in a region characterized by crises, internal displacement and international interventions. The subproject thereby expands the spectrum of asylum architectures under study and seeks to develop a typology beyond refugee camps and emergency shelters. This approach also allows for the consideration of a wider group of refugees, internally displaced persons, and migrants, between whom it is increasingly difficult to draw clear distinctions. Taking the critical juncture of global refugee migration as an example, the subproject looks at urban crisis management in terms of multiple spatialities asking how it is shaped and changed by translocally operating conflicts and encounters between different spatial figures, each characterized by particular political, legal and technical aspects.
- MGK: Integrated Research Training Group (Martina Löw/Anna Juliane Heinrich/Séverine Marguin)
As in the first funding period, the core aim of the Integrated Research Training Group (MGK) is to provide structured support in guiding highly qualified and motivated doctoral students with research interests related to the refiguration of spaces to a doctorate within the interdisciplinary network of the CRC and to prepare them for a further academic career by offering a comprehensive and needs-oriented qualification concept.
To this end, the MGK creates optimal conditions: The qualification concept stipulates continuous individual support of doctoral candidates by an interdisciplinary team of doctoral supervisors, postdoc mentors, MGK directors, and external experts who are specifically invited for this purpose. In addition, the study program offers doctoral students structured guidance and provides them with professional and methodological skills and other key qualifications for the completion of their dissertation as well as their further personal and scientific development.
An onboarding spring school will serve as a kick-off for the MGK program. It will be held in spring 2022 to introduce new members of the MGK to the work and central results of the CRC’s first funding period, to explain its guiding hypotheses, to familiarize them with interdisciplinary methods of spatial research, which are particularly relevant to the CRC, and, lastly, to provide an introduction to research ethics and good scientific practice. This event will both establish a common knowledge base at the outset as well as a cooperative working culture within the interdisciplinary network. The periodic MGK colloquium, at which all PhD students present their projects at least once a year, will continue to serve as a linchpin of the MGK. These regular insights into each person’s research work facilitate in-depth discussions and individual support, which primarily operate on a peer-to-peer level. A new feature introduced in the second funding period is an annual supervision day, on which all doctoral candidates present their progress to their supervisors and subproject leaders. It will moreover serve to promote further coordination between the doctoral studies and their respective subprojects. As a milestone event, the supervision day will be linked to obligatory submissions and will be used to discuss the next steps in each doctoral project.
First and foremost, the CRC strives to develop a consistently collegial and needs-oriented MGK program. Formats such as advanced training courses and data sessions are carried out in close coordination with the doctoral researchers. Activities organized on the doctoral candidates’ own initiative are encouraged and supported in order to promote the personal responsibility and independence of early career researchers. These opportunities for participation proved their worth in the first funding period, giving rise to ample commitment on the part of MGK members. Several measures provide opportunities to enhance the international visibility and networking of doctoral researchers: Two international workshops (e.g. summer schools) are planned. The PhD students are consistently included in the selection of and exchange with international guest researchers. Lastly, the MGK supports participation in conferences in order to strengthen the internationalization of the doctoral candidates’ profiles.
In addition to the 17 doctoral candidates who are employed as research associates in the CRC’s subprojects, the integrated research training group also offers non-material support to 13 associated doctoral candidates from the participating universities who work on topics related to the refiguration of spaces. This is intended to promote the integration of the MGK into its scientific environment.
- INF: Research Data Management (Jan Goebel/Hubert Knoblauch)
During its first phase, the CRC not only implemented mechanisms for quality assurance for the methodological approaches used to collect its empirical data, but was also successful in compiling an inventory of the collected research data as well as in coordinating data management plans. In addition, methods, requirements and needs of subprojects with regard to research data management (RDM) within the CRC were collated and systematically evaluated. Despite the challenges posed by multimethod interdisciplinary work and the constraints introduced by the Covid-19 crisis, preliminary work was conducted to develop a metadata schema that can accommodate different data types. In the medium and long term, this metadata schema should enable a thorough indexing of archived research data for systematic reuse within the CRC and serve as an essential RDM basis for the transfer of selected data corpora to specialized research data centers (RDCs).
This infrastructure project aims at a sustainable mode of handling the wide range of digital or digitized research data collected in the various disciplines represented in the CRC with a view to internal and/or external reuse in RDCs in the third funding period. The project was especially designed to enable the CRC to achieve this sustainability goal. In close cooperation with the Methods Lab, it will moreover take on additional functions regarding methodological development and services for the CRC. These applications are needed to link the data corpora collected in the individual subprojects technically, infrastructurally and methodologically in the form of a CRC-wide RDM, so that the data can be reused internally or externally in the medium to long term.
As an element of the research process, RDM is a task that is usually performed within individual projects, following both methodological and discipline-specific guidelines and, especially in the field of qualitative empirical research, often adopting idiosyncratic or project-specific approaches. There are then hardly any common bases guiding the structured archiving and reusability of joint data corpora collected in research networks. Thus, uniform technical and, in particular, methodological standards must first be developed, tested, and applied. Individual projects of primary research can therefore neither be expected to have the resources required for this task nor be able to generate them by themselves. Consequently, the establishment and coordination of a uniform RDM concept at the level of the CRC as well as the development and testing of corresponding structures have to be carried out within the framework of specially tailored technical and methodological work packages.
Based on preliminary work conducted during the CRC’s first phase, the main task of the infrastructure project will be to (1.) (further) develop uniform technical and methodological standards according to the requirements of primary research, to test them and to implement them practically in cooperation with the researchers. These standards should eventually make it possible to systematically represent the different sub-corpora or their metadata in a digitally searchable research data corpus spanning the entire CRC. Against this background, subtasks of the project in particular concern (2.) the technical-infrastructural (server) as well as (3.) the methodological realization of these standards, especially with regard to the usage-oriented development and implementation of a metadata schema able to cover different data types as a basis for the internal and external reusability of the research data (metadata).
In addition to laying the foundations for internal use, the infrastructure project is also intended to create conditions for the external use of research data by the wider scientific community: To this end, it will (4.) coordinate cooperation with suitable RDCs (networking).
The expertise gained in the CRC in dealing with space-related data corpora will be fed back into the development process of ongoing infrastructure initiatives (NFDI/ KonsortSWD). The infrastructure project will thereby participate in the (community-oriented) development of research data infrastructures (RDI) and strategies that extend beyond the CRC (structural development). The collaboration with the CRC’s subprojects will also entail (5.) consultations regarding the implementation of the CRC-wide RDM. In this context, ongoing communication will serve as an empirical basis for further development of the infrastructure project and ensure its approach remains firmly community oriented.
Given these objectives, the infrastructure project will meet its greatest challenge in focusing on the diversity of research practices, which vary greatly in accordance with the qualitative, quantitative or mix-methods research designs of the respective subprojects. In order to meet the markedly heterogeneous demands on RDM within the context of the CRC, the project will therefore explicitly consider not only research designs that work quantitatively or qualitatively, but also specifically those that follow a mix-methods approach. Special attention will moreover be given to the extensive field of data corpora related to space, which, depending on the respective research design, pose very specific challenges for a CRC-wide RDM with regard to data reusability.
- Ö: Migrating Spaces and Tourism II: Imagination, Pictorial Space and Contextures of Venice (Stefanie Bürkle)
This public relations subproject aims at communicating the work and key results of the Collaborative Research Center 1265 through an artistic engagement. In particular, the subproject will devise an exhibition plus an accompanying program designed to appeal to a wider public beyond the narrow confines of the participating academic disciplines and the scientific community. Moreover, in accordance with the principles of a self-reflecting mode of science communication, the CRC has developed a public relations subproject that not only uses artistic means to communicate the results of the CRC, but also conducts its own independent artistic research related to the CRC’s main interests.
In the first funding period, the project used empirical case studies in South Korea and Berlin to reveal spatial changes linked to overlapping spatial figures of migration and tourism across different scales. In the second phase, it will conduct a new case study on Venice to artistically explore how circulating images and Venice-replicas refigure the northern Italian city. The central research question the project hereby pursues is: How do globally circulating images of Venice reorder spaces? This approach examines on-site processes of refiguration in Venice in relation to different replicas of the city elsewhere and to images, including digital ones, that travel around the world. Using various qualitative methodological approaches (interviews, photography, videography), the project (1) conducts its own empirical investigation pursuing an artistic research concept. In addition, the art project (2) also takes up the topics of other, thematically related subprojects of the CRC and designs (3) strategies of knowledge transfer utilizing various artistic forms. This will be achieved (a) through various media formats, (b) through a visual intervention in urban public space two years into the second phase, and (c) through a touring exhibition at the end of the CRC’s second funding period.