The collaborative research centre CRC 1265 has institutionalised the format of cross-sectional team-building with a view to promoting and bringing together joint work from individual projects and project areas. During the first funding period, the following cross-sectional teams were formed on issues relevant to all project areas:
- Control, Power and Security
- Gender and Space
- Public Sphere
- Space and Time
Cross-sectional teams consist of researchers from at least two different project areas and various individual projects for whom the cross-sectional topic appears to be particularly relevant. The participation of MGK doctoral candidates in the cross-sectional groups is actively encouraged and promoted. The format provides space for creativity within the CRC, allowing it to accommodate unforeseen topics as new groups can be proposed proactively by researchers at any time. Examples of this rhizomatic organisation of the research process, and the spontaneous collaborations it enables, include the theme of the Covid 19 pandemic as well as the working group “Space and Religion”.
While the central project areas set out to operationalise the concept of refiguration by identifying three key aspects, namely (A) knowledge of space, (C) circulation and order, and – on a mediating level – (B) spaces of communication, the cross-sectional groups systematically address key issues arising in individual projects. They thereby contribute to the successful implementation of projects and advance the integration of theoretical debates and empirical findings, cutting across the different project areas.
- Cross-sectional group “Control, Power and Security”
By focusing on questions of security, the cross-sectional group “Control, Power and Security” established a theme that was highly relevant to various subprojects. The group’s work particularly engaged with the use of security discourses to legitimise spatial (political) practices as well as a specification of the concept of ontological in/security (Giddens, 1991) in terms of spatial theory. As a result, members of the cross-sectional group published a CRC working paper, which discusses the notion of ontological security in terms of spatial theory (Schröder, Castillo, & Helbrecht, 2021)
- Cross-sectional group “Gender and Space”
The cross-sectional group “Gender and Space” contributed to a stronger integration of gender within the CRC’s overall research focus by providing regular talking points as well as publishing a CRC working paper (Birkholz, 2021), which proposes refiguration as an alternative to the fixation on identity.
- Cross-sectional group “Public Sphere”
The cross-sectional group “public sphere” bundled contributions to the discussion on the refiguration of public spaces from different subprojects and doctoral projects and submitted a theoretical paper on “relational communication spaces” to a special issue of the journal “Media and Communication” (Keinert, Sayman, & Maier, forthcoming). A workshop to discuss the concept with international researchers is planned for the end of 2021.
- Cross-sectional groups “Space and Time”
The cross-sectional group “Space and Time” committed itself to the systematisation of different spatio-temporal relations: from the physical-bodily experience of specific situations and their immediate passing or persistence, to different social constitutions of historicity in connection with spatial constitutions (e.g., as a narrative of progress in national societies), to questions of distances and how to overcome them in the shortest possible chronological intervals (e.g., in the case of the international transport of goods). These considerations also resulted in a CRC working paper (Frehse, 2020) on dimensions of temporality in spatial theories. Furthermore, issues concerning temporality were prominently discussed in the CRC edited volume “Spatial Transformations” (Million et al., forthcoming).
- Working group “Space and Religion”
The working group “Space and Religion” engaged with the recent discussion on “urban religion” as well as approaches to spatial theory within the sociology of knowledge. The CRC supported the analysis of the spatial refiguration in the Texan city of Waco, which particularly explored the role of religion within these processes. The results were presented in a CRC working paper (Steets, 2021).