The collaborative research center CRC 1265 has institutionalized the format of cross-sectional team-building with a view to promoting and bringing together joint work from individual projects and project areas. Cross-sectional groups 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 organization of the research process, and the spontaneous collaborations it enables, during the first funding period of the CRC 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 operationalize 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 digital mediatization, 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 groups of the current funding period:
Cross-sectional group “Objectified Infrastructures”
The cross-sectional group “Objectified Infrastructures” sheds light on social, material and digital infrastructures, their interconnections and their spatial impacts. We ask how infrastructures emerge, solidify, and transform; how they enable certain uses while excluding or impeding others; and how infrastructures are legitimized through discourses. Infrastructures can reproduce social inequality and objectify power (e.g., border infrastructures), but they can also enable emancipatory forms of agency (e.g., internet access in marginalized spaces). Our work focuses on the material-digital interconnections of infrastructures and the new spatial arrangements they produce.
Contact: René Tuma
Cross-sectional group “Intersectionality, Gender, Race & Class”
Under the guiding term of intersectionality, the cross-sectional group investigates intersections, overlaps and overwritings of class, race and gender as well as other dimensions of social inequality (e.g. citizenship, age, disability, caste) in the field of spatial constitution. Symbolic and physical-material restrictions on participation are as much in the focus of the analyses as specific conflict constellations and life experiences. Since space is also produced through corporeality, the gendered, racialized and classed body is inescapably part of spatial knowledge. However, discrimination and identity become relevant in very different ways depending on the space. Therefore, mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion also vary and become the object of comparative analysis in the cross-sectional group.
Contact: Martina Löw
Cross-sectional group “Empirical Theory of Science”
The cross-sectional group “Empirical Theory of Science” intends to reflect on the elaboration of concepts and theories within the CRC from different disciplinary perspectives. We ask which concepts derived from anthropology, geography, architecture and planning, media studies, sociology, and art can be made productive for inter- and transdisciplinary research and how the CRC’s theoretical work can feed back into these various disciplines. We are particularly interested in how knowledge emerges in the translation between textual and visual modes of representation, and how it takes effect in different media. At the same time, the group addresses the need to define minimum standards for the production of scientific knowledge.
Contact: Silke Steets
Cross-sectional group “Rurality”
Spanning different projects and disciplines, the cross-sectional group “Rurality” investigates the question of what rurality means in relation to different spatial contexts and asks which forms of rurality are associated with which conflicts between the different spatial figures.
Contact: Ariane Sept
Cross-sectional groups of the first funding period
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 legitimize spatial (political) practices as well as a specification of the concept of ontological in/security (Giddens, 1991) in relation to 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, 2021).
Cross-sectional group “Space and Time”
The cross-sectional group “Space and Time” committed itself to the systematization 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., 2021).
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 processes of 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).