Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Archiv - Übersicht

Wintersemester 2023/2024

Monday, the 6th of November 2023, 18 Uhr

Laura Kemmer

Universidade de São Paulo (USP)

Standing by a River: Contesting the Currents of Urban Progress in the Heart of São Paulo 


Rivers, historically perceived as carriers of disease and concealed beneath the city's surface, have violently shaped the urban development of São Paulo according to European ideals of modernity. Yet, urban waters also hold the promise of healing, as recognized in Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous cultures. This presentation explores a recent discovery during excavation for a new metro station in central São Paulo—the unearthing of artifacts from a maroon settlement in the former Saracura riverbed. Following the conflict over the “reading” of these artifacts, I show how urban rivers and riparian ecologies of humans, species, and matter act as evidence against verticalization and displacement in contemporary São Paulo.





Monday, the 13th of November 2023, 18 Uhr

Marek Nowak

Adam Mickiewicz University


It’s a matter of time:  duration of residence and neighborhood relations. Research project and case study from Poland

Late-socialists blocks of flats (LSBFs) are - in urban, architectural and social terms - an important part of the legacy of the Real Socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. To this day, there is an ongoing debate about their vitality or decline. The author analyses the emergence of neighborhood ties in LSBFs.

The lecture aims to define how the strength and peculiarity of neighborhood relations in an LSBF development depends on, among others, the duration of residence. The presentation illustrates the final research stage on a corpus of data collected in 2018 as part of a project analysing neighbourhoods in LSBF in three Polish cities differing in scale: Wronki, Warsaw and Poznan. The conclusions from the entire research project indicate the specificity of areas in large blocks of flats resulting from three types of factors: (a) historical heritage, (b) specificity of urban form, (c) period of habitation, and (d) institutional and economic conditions related to the privatisation processes that took place in the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium. The research problem was related to the question of the vitality of LSBF. The main conclusion of the research allows us to explain the high standard of post-socialist blocks of flats in Poland in the resulting coincidence of the factors indicated above.



Monday, the 20th of November 2023, 18 Uhr

Petr Kubala

Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences

Traces of Obduracy: Imaginaries of "Social Inertia" in the Process of Collaborative Housing Introduction



This presentation will delve into the sociotechnical changes necessary to introduce Collaborative Housing (CH) projects into the Czech super-homeownership housing regime. The concept of CH serves as an encompassing term to capture the diverse array of emerging housing models in various contexts. CH represents a form of housing typically rooted in collective self-organization, participation, and cost-sharing practices, including cohousing, baugruppen, resident-led cooperatives, Community Land Trusts, and various community-driven self-help and self-build housing initiatives. The emergence of CH holds several promises, such as enhanced housing affordability, increased environmental sustainability, and the alleviation of loneliness. Recently, these novel housing forms have become a wellspring of inspiration for certain Czech cities struggling with the consequences of multiple crises. These municipalities aim to integrate CH designs into their existing housing system (primarily based on individual homeownership). To gain a deeper understanding of the "obduracy" of the current czech housing system, we examined the primary barriers and threats to the implementation of such projects. This investigation was conducted through a series of workshops involving non-experts in several cities across the Czech Republic. Our findings suggest that the obduracy of the housing system is closely tied to imaginaries, which we define as the 'imaginary of social inertia.' This form of imaginary, in conjunction with other factors, such as a lack of supportive legal and financial infrastructures, creates a complex web of obstacles that reduce the likelihood of these housing projects gaining ground. In conclusion, my talk will underscore the significant role of imaginaries in studying obduracy that can offer specific insights into the mechanisms involved in sociotechnical change within urban contexts.



Monday, the 27th of November 2023, 18 Uhr

Daniela Zupan

Bauhaus-Universität Weimar



Paving the way for elections – undermining democracy: 'predizborni asfalt' in Sarajevo

The maintenance of roads and sidewalks through asphalt-works belongs to the mundane tasks and responsibilities of public authorities, essential for keeping modern cities running. Cracks and potholes in the asphalt must be fixed, crumbling and washed-out segments replaced and entire streets renewed. Every few years in late summer though – in the run-up to elections –, asphalt works undergo a see change in Sarajevo. The pace and quantity noticeably intensify and official communication channels are full of pictures showing political leaders in front of freshly laid out asphalt patches, inaugurating a finished part or showcasing the achievement of a stage's completion. In recent years, the term 'predizborni asfalt' (pre-election asphalt) gained popularity in the local population to engage with this phenomenon. But the active mobilization of asphalt works during election campaigns not only became the topic of critique, bitter satire and jokes, discussions also reflect honest yearnings for improvement and progress. This talk seeks to unpack the phenomenon of pre-election asphalting in Sarajevo. It holds that with its intensified rhythms of asphalting, its blatant political mobilization and its complex meaning-making processes, pre-election asphalting provides a particularly fruitful lens to study the particularities of urbanism in so-called hybrid regimes. In doing so I will propose three dimensions to conceptualize the latter.


Wednesday, the 6th of December 2023, 18 Uhr

Ayona Datta

University College London 

'Why Now?': Timing the digitalising state in the global southdatta.jpg


For geographers, the state is often seen as only one actor of many in a global information revolution. In global south contexts however, the state has been at the forefront of initiating large-scale digital transformations through digitisation of paper, e-governance, GIS-based planning and smart cities. As global south states aspire to become fully automated and digitalised in the near future, the timing of their state-led ICT initiatives have become more significant and powerful in their outcomes.
In this lecture, Ayona Datta takes 'timing' as an entry point to understand how the global south state exerts temporal power through its demarcation of past, present and future temporalities, and the ways that it loads the present with promises of the future. Temporal power of the state emerges as it orchestrates a multiplicity of actors and actions by – waiting for their turn, involving for the right duration, engaging in unfolding events, and anticipating what might occur in the near or long-term future. Timing the state means to understand how seemingly disconnected and asynchronous events across UN organisations, global ICT corporations, professionals, intermediaries and a range of marginal communities produce the digitalising state in the global south. Rather than seeing these as discrete non-state events and actors, timing enables us to see these as interconnected asynchronous temporalities that set the tempo, speed and duration of the digitalising state. Timing the state means to understand how the digitisation of paper and automation of governance are interactive sequences that convey temporal information about the spaces where they occur and the actors who make these happen. Taking timing as a verb that is dynamic and oriented towards anticipatory outcomes then enables us to understand the 'why now?' of state digitalisation initiatives and the entanglements of actors, events and information politics in the global south.


Monday, the 11th of December 2023, 18 Uhr

Oleksandra Nenko

collegium member Turku Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Turku

Participatory Mapping of Environmental Values

In her talk Oleksandra will discuss the topic of perceived environmental values and situated emotional experiences which derive from human-environment interaction. She will advocate mapping of the perceived environmental values together with local communities as a participatory action research approach. The social impact of such an approach resides in strengthening pro-environmental behaviors and informing responsive environmental design through increasing place recognition, place attachment and place engagement, and acknowledging environmental agency. Oleksandra will share methodological insights to map cultural and natural, tangible and intangible values people associate with their surroundings. She will highlight offline and online participatory mapping methods. The application of methods will be demonstrated in several empirical cases, including mapping perceived values of urban green areas in St.Petersburg and mapping natural-cultural values of lowly urbanized landscapes in coastal Western Finland. Oleksandra will finalize her presentation by discussing how research on the perceived environmental values can be helpful for sustainable participatory urban and territorial development.


Monday, the 15th of January 2024, 18 Uhr

Martin Coward

Queen Mary University of London IMG_20200505_161756_Bokeh_2.jpg


Domination by destruction: Russia’s antiurban way of war

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has foregrounded its distinctively antiurban way of war. Historically, Russian warfighting has been intertwined with antiurban violence. From Kabul to Aleppo via Grozny, the use of artillery and aerial bombardment to destroy the civilian fabric of the city has been an operational strategy. The targeting of homes, offices, roads, power grids – the infrastructure of everyday civilian life – is deliberate, not simply collateral. In this article I examine this antiurban way of war and argue that these attacks on civilian urban fabric can be understood as both a clearing of space and an undoing of interconnection as both punishment and manipulation of morale. As such they are strategies of domination: antiurban war seeks to erode the capacity of such otherness to resist. The article introduces 3 conceptual innovations for international politics. Firstly, the concept of strategies of domination provides tools for thinking about the politics of violence. Secondly, I show that that urban destruction is always already targeted towards civilians and thus challenges the basis of International Humanitarian Law. I show how the concepts of reverberating effects and entanglement help international politics scholars to think about the legacies of violence. Finally, I show that the slow violence urban destruction causes challenges the temporal horizons according to which international politics scholars traditionally understand war and violence. Instead, I argue that it is necessary to think about the way in which the legacies of destruction lead to long-term, even intergenerational, effects.


Monday, the 22nd of January 2024, 18 Uhr

Madlen Pilz

Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS)

Madlen Pilz.JPG

The Role of Money in Integration Work

Finances have been playing an increasingly significant role in German municipal integration policies since 2016, due to increased involvement from both the national government and the EU. On one hand, these funds offer municipalities and those engaged in the field of integration new opportunities and help establish standards within the integration field. On the other hand, these funds are typically time-limited and are intended for initial start-up financing. Often, when the funding expires, it also marks the end of services, positions, and the outflow of accumulated expertise.

In this talk, we explore the effects of the new financial resources on integration work in municipalities, using the experiences of three East German municipalities as examples. How do these financial resources change the work of actors involved in municipal integration work? How do they not only alter options for action but also hierarchies among the actors? What new forms of multi-level and municipal governance structures and strategies emerge as a result? How do these changes affect public debates about integration? Lastly, how can we theoretically conceptualize the role of finances in integration work?


Monday, the 29th of January 2024, 18 Uhr

Niloufar Vadiati


HafenCity University Hamburg & HIIG; 

based on Research Project: Grassroots Digital Urbanism

Funded by DFG Walter Benjamin


Kiez being codified: Praxis of Grassroots Digital Urbanism in Berlin

Telling observational and performative tales, I follow multiple, creative, and careful practices of resistance of bottom-up collectives in Berlin. Through the observation method, I have reviewed the different forms of resistance, the discourses underpinning their work and the alternatives they are building. The collectives range from DYI internet infrastructure with autonomous data-hub that contest the deterministic digital technological infrastructure, tech-feminist collectives (cyber feminist cities) that are loudly refusing the current hegemonic subjectivity of digital technology, and the neighbourhood-based digital currency based on the solidarity economy.

As a vignette, this presentation will discuss the communal refusal strategy of these collectives and elaborate on how they are politically, spatially and performatively reappropriating the technological glitches in the city and enabling the (re)imagining alternative modes of digital urbanism in Berlin.


Monday, the 12th of February 2024, 18 Uhr

Sarah Neal
Sarah 4.jpg

University of Sheffield

For public space: informal sport, urban practices, and why social infrastructure matters


This presentation is based on a paper. It examines the relationship between informal sport and urban inclusion in increasingly superdiverse and increasingly unequal cities. It reflects on the extent to which the growth of collective participation in non-club-based sports activities (for example, volleyball, parkrun, basketball, baseball urban walking, cricket, football) in the open spaces of cities involves groups who are marginalised or under-represented in club-based sport. It considers how informal sports activities may generate forms of belonging and social interaction, while recognising that such activities may incorporate their own mechanisms of exclusion. Over the last decade, theorising on urban social life and ‘lived multiculture’ has re-emphasised the value of social infrastructure (Klinenberg 2018; Latham and Layton 2019) and public space in the making ‘good cities’ (Amin 2006). As urban inequalities become more multi-dimensional, non-income related, environmental resources become ever more critical for social inclusion, practices of belonging and claim making. Yet, despite the increasing numbers of participants in informal sport, its visibility in the everyday spaces of cities and its appeal to socially and ethnically diverse and co-ethnic communities, the ways in which different material, and often micro, environments (e.g., corners of public parks, multi use games areas (MUGAs)) prompt collective informal sport practices have only recently begun to attract debate and research attention (Neal et al 2022).

In this context, the paper draws on the experience of two UK case study cities (London and Sheffield) and place-based fieldwork (compromising visual infrastructure mapping, participant observation, interviews), and focuses on immersive research with a Latin American ecuavoley (a form of volleyball originally developed in Ecuador) group in North London and a British Pakistani cricket group in Sheffield. Drawing on actor centred accounts the paper examines the intersection of bodies, migrant sport legacies, co-ethnic social networks, social media and the negotiated use of urban space to advance perspectives for understanding: first, concepts of informality (Hilbrandt 2021) and urban inhabitance; and second the embodied and affective ways in which trans/national place relationships are socially and materially made through informal sport practices. The research on which the paper is based has been conducted as part of the Economic and Social Research Council-funded project "Just Turn Up: informal sport and social participation in the superdiverse city (2022-24)”. 

Sommersemester 2023

Montag, 17. April 2023, 18 Uhr

Manuel B. Aalbers

KU Leuven & Visiting Research Fellow at IRS Erkner
based on work together with Zac Taylor, TU Delft

In Real Estate Investment We Trust: How and Why German Residential Funds Expand at Home and Abroad

FTM-Manuel Aalbers-36_cropped.jpeg

This lecture examines how real estate, finance, and the state are configured in relation to each other through residential real estate funds. We present a Narratives and Numbers approach, which analyses the financial accounts but also the strategies of the four largest publicly-traded funds in Germany. We make three claims. First, the ownership of stocks of these funds is remarkably homogeneous: the largest shareholders in each of the studied R-REITs are the three largest index exchange-traded funds, which are heavily backed by pension fund capital. For these investors, it is important that R-REITs provide a healthy return on investment at the lowest possible risk. This brings us to the second claim: the investors require the state, in its various guises, to guarantee attractive risk-adjusted returns on R-REITs investments. We identify six dimensions of state derisking in this context, deepening our understanding of the role of the state in housing financialization. Finally, we identify four cross-cutting expansion strategies employed by these funds: (i) investment beyond mainstream asset classes, (ii) the concentration and consolidation of ownership, (iii) acquisition across national borders, and (iv) institution-led new construction.


Montag, 24. April 2023, 18 Uhr

Hannah Schilling

Evangelische Akademie zu Berlin


Making a living in urban precarity
Comparative perspectives from Abidjan and Berlin

This talk discusses the reproduction of inequalities in precarious work based on empirical research with young precarious workers in Abidjan and Berlin. What can we learn from the everyday practices of airtime sellers in Abidjan and delivery riders in Berlin? Above all, we see that work is closely intertwined with the making of personhood. Understanding the reproduction of inequalities needs to take this into account and with it, the role of symbolic capital. Second, such a comparative perspective urges sociological analysis to decentre from a focus on labour positions. It invites to overcome conceptual dichotomies like in/formality. To capture the making a living in precarious work constellations, a broader view on relational settings as neighbours, friends and kin and on the cultural embeddedness of economic practices is necessary.


picture: @ PHOTOGRAFIC Berlin - Vivian Werk


Montag, 08. Mai 2023, 18 Uhr

Penny Koutrolikou

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)penny k.JPG

Philantrocapitalism as an anti-politics machine: reflections from Athens

Philanthropy has been gaining prominence in multiple fields; not least in the urban. The hegemony of neoliberal policies with their subsequent retrenchment of public resources coupled with a continuum of crises have created an ‘opening’ for private bodies to play an increasingly decisive role in key sectors of social and political life. Thus, in several crisis-inflicted cities local and global philanthropic foundations become key stakeholders in project development and implementation as well as in restructuring the terrain (and the agenda) of urban governance.

This presentation discusses the increasing influence that philanthropic foundations have on urban transformations in the city of Athens. These transformations include new governance arrangements, spatial interventions, cultural ‘millieux’ as well as new urban imaginaries that are ‘adorned’ with the notions of participation, commons, inclusion, diversity – to just name a few. These multifaceted transformations transpire at the spatial and governance levels but also at the discursive one. Focusing on Athens and drawing on critical development scholarship, this presentation aims to question philantrocapitalism as yet another “anti-politics machine” that extracts value from certain discourses, places and cultural groups while perpetuating ingrained injustices and further enclosing access and influence on decision-making.


Montag, 15. Mai 2023, 18 Uhr

Hyun Bang Shin

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)Shin - Profile - Recent.jpg


Fast-tracked city unbound? Speed, Scale, and Risk in China’s overseas investment

Fast urbanism has been one of the key aspirational characteristics of contemporary capitalism, especially in the context of urban mega-projects where local and transnational elites promote master-planned cities that often exist only in blueprints. In recent years, such promotion of master-planned cities witnessed an ‘Asian turn’, that is, a growing influence of the state and a range of non-state actors from East and Southeast Asia, where emphasis on speed and scale has characterised their condensed and speculative urbanisation. How do the experiences of speedy and large-scale urban development translate to overseas destinations? What does it mean to discuss the advancement of Asian capital into a speculative overseas real estate market, especially in the global North? What risk aversion strategies do they adopt? What does this tell us about the nature and agents of capital? To address these questions, this talk engages with an in-depth empirical study of an urban redevelopment project in East London that involved a Chinese developer. By evaluating the business practices of the Chinese developer in London and tracing such practices back to China, this talk aims to shed light on the nature of urban manifestations of global China and the meaning of ‘ethnic capital’ on the one hand and, on the other, the convergence of the Chinese and British practices of pursuing pro-growth alliances that seek risk minimisation.


Montag, 22. Mai 2023, 18 Uhr

Launch of the Einstein Scholars at Risk Group
'Urban Futures at Risk'



Ülkü Doğanay
Samir Harb
Olena Kononenko
Valeria Lazarenko
Oleg Pachenkov
Oksana Zaporozhets


Montag, 05. Juni 2023, 18 Uhr

Maja Sawicka

University of WarsawMaja_picture.jpg

Anger in the urban traffic of Warsaw. Emotions and the interaction order.

In this talk, I would like to further Goffman’s (1983) argument about the existence and origins of interaction order by reflecting on the emotional foundations of micro-structures permeating everyday social life: situational or local hierarchies, group/community boundaries, and role structures generating normative expectations. I will use the case of anger in the urban traffic of Warsaw to analyze how through expressions of anger in transient, casual interactions between strangers (drivers, cyclists, users of public transportation), a “situational stratification” (Collins, 2000) emerges and provides a temporary scaffolding for the course of interactions. I will argue that the significance of emotions as structuring factors increases due to the absence of a wider social consensus regarding norms that should regulate interpersonal conduct in the public sphere. In the particular case of Polish society, two aspects are crucial for the dynamics of anger in urban traffic: low levels of generalized social trust resulting in limited compliance with official regulations and the coexistence of diverse and often contradictory normative expectations towards interaction partners.


Montag, 12. Juni 2023, 18 Uhr

organised in cooperation with the project StadtumMig (BIM, HU Berlin).

Els de Graauw

Baruch College-CUNYBild1.jpg


Mayoral Leadership, Immigrant Sanctuary, and Multi-Level Policy Dynamics in San Francisco

This presentation discusses the role of mayors in developing, defending, and adjusting city efforts to shield undocumented immigrants from U.S. federal immigration authorities by analyzing immigrant sanctuary policies and practices in San Francisco between 1985 and 2018. It shows that the multilevel context of U.S. immigration policy is an important determinant for how mayors have addressed immigration issues locally. In particular, it highlights two strategies that San Francisco mayors have used to influence sanctuary policies and practices while navigating ongoing intergovernmental scrutiny of the city’s lenient treatment of undocumented immigrants. When the risk of intergovernmental antagonism over city policies and practices was low, mayors adopted facilitative, democratic leadership strategies characterized by collaboration with local governmental and nongovernmental actors to strengthen or institutionalize immigrant sanctuary. When the risk of intergovernmental antagonism instead was high, mayors retreated to executive, less democratic leadership strategies characterized by top-down decision-making and mayoral insulation from local political actors to curtail immigrant sanctuary and protect the city from state or federal attacks. This research illustrates how state and federal interference in city affairs can make it challenging for mayors to govern democratically by collaborating with other local actors.


Montag, 19. Juni 2023, 18 Uhr

M. Reza Shirazi

Oxford Brookes University

Documentary Film Screening and Discussionposter reza.jpgShirazi.JPG

Never Surrender: The fight for environmental justice in Bayview-Hunters Point, San Francisco (2020)

Director and Writer: M. Reza Shirazi

This documentary film (Trailer HERE) is the result of more than two years of research and fieldwork in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighbourhood, San Francisco. It narrates the community fight for environmental justice, and documents the conflict between people and government over the safety of the shipyard. Decades of remediation work at Hunters Point Shipyard, a former military base contaminated during the Second World War and beyond, were revealed to be fraudulent and data was falsified. This turned the biggest redevelopment project in San Francisco into the biggest eco-fraud case in US history. This film has been screened and discussed in more than 30 events around the world.
After the film screening, besides issues of environmental justice, community activism, university-community collaboration, the power and capacity of documentary film as a research method and communication tool in urban planning and urban studies will be discussed.


Montag, 26. Juni 2023, 18 Uhr

Isabel Ramos Lobato


TU Dortmund & ILS – Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung


School choice or schools’ choice? How organizational practices shape access to primary schools in Germany

Growing levels of residential segregation in combination with parents‘ selective school choice strategies play a key role in exacerbating school segregation in many cities across the globe. However, these factors alone cannot not fully explain the increasing polarisation between schools and its underlying processes and      dynamics. In my talk, I will therefore focus on the interaction between parents' choices on the one hand and the institutional context on the other hand. I will examine how (diversity-oriented) policies and practices of both school administration and principals shape access to, and thus the composition of, primary schools – not only in terms of the enrolment process, but also through targeted profiling and information policies, and their impact on parents‘ choices.


picture (© Uwe Grützner/TU Dortmund)


Montag, 3. Juli 2023, 18 Uhr

Nihad El-Kayednihad.jpg

Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung (BIM), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Local and translocal modes of in- and exclusion – Patterns of reception, arrival and infrastructure access of refugees in German local contexts

Refugees who arrived in Germany since 2015 are distributed across a wide range of local contexts: rural and urban municipalities, local contexts with different housing and labor market conditions, cities and regions which are strongly shaped by previous migration and ones that are not.

The talk is based on two research projects that dealt with the question how specific local conditions shape modes of refugee reception and how they form refugees‘ access to crucial resources like housing, jobs, information, and social support. The results emphasize the necessity to look at different dimensions of local in- and exclusion in their interconnection in order to see how they shape the arrival process of refugees. Depending on the constellation of accessibilities and inaccessibilities that different locations provide, refugees also rely to different degrees on translocal activities in order to access resources.


Montag, 10. Juli 2023, 18 Uhr

Noa K. Ha & Giovanni Picker

German Center for Integration and Migration Studies (DeZIM) & University of Glasgow



Book presentation: European Cities: Modernity, Race and Colonialism (Manchester University Press, 2022)

European cities: Modernity, race and colonialism is a multidisciplinary collection of scholarly studies which rethink European urban modernity from a race-conscious perspective, being aware of (post-)colonial entanglements. The twelve original contributions empirically focus on such various cities as Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cottbus, Genoa, Hamburg, Madrid, Mitrovica, Naples, Paris, Sheffield, and Thessaloniki, engaging multiple combinations of global urban studies, from various historical perspectives, with postcolonial, decolonial and critical race studies. Primarily inspired by the notion of Provincializing Europe (Dipesh Chakrabarty) the collection interrogates dominant, Eurocentric theories, representations and models of European cities across the East-West divide, offering the reader alternative perspectives to understand and imagine urban life and politics. With its focus on Europe, this book ultimately contributes to decades of rigorous critical race scholarship on varied global urban regions.


Wintersemester 22/23

Montag, 17. October 2022

dies academicus




Montag, 24. October 2022, 18 Uhr

Anna Zhelnina, University of Helsinki

Class, gender, and urban futures: contesting urban redevelopment in Moscow                  1anna z.PNG       

In 2017, Moscow's government announced a large-scale urban redevelopment project, the Renovation program. The massive program suggested demolishing thousands of socialist-era apartment buildings across the city and relocating the residents into new high-rises. The new prospect triggered mobilizations on both sides, among the opponents as well as supporters of demolitions. In this talk, I will explore how intersecting inequalities, such as class, ethnicity, and gender influenced people's decisions to support or oppose Renovation and shaped their interactions with neighbors, authorities, and activists from opposing camps. I will analyze the mobilization in response to Renovation as a crisis, an extended moment of extreme uncertainty, in which new futures were created from a polyphony of individual perspectives, aspirations, and projects.




Montag, 07. November 2022, 18 Uhr

Jennifer Robinson, University College London
Discussants: Nadir Kinossian (IfL Leipzig) and Hannah Schilling (Evangelische Akademie zu Berlin)
Buchvorstellung - Comparative Urbanism: Tactics for Global Urban Studies
‘Comparative Urbanism fully transforms the scope and purpose of urban studies today, distilling innovative conceptual and methodological tools. The theoretical and empirical scope is astounding, enlightening, emboldening. Robinson peels away conceptual labels that have anointed some cities as paradigmatic and left others as mere copies. She recalibrates overly used theoretical perspectives, resurrects forgotten ones long in need of a dusting off, and brings to JR at UCL conf 49074679656_925eb9a982_c.jpgthe fore those often marginalised. Robinson’s approach radically re-distributes who speaks for the urban, and which urban conditions shape our theoretical understandings. With Comparative Urbanism in our hands, we can start the practice of urban studies anywhere and be relevant to any number of elsewheres.’







Montag, 14. November 2022, 18 Uhr

Noam Brenner, Hebrew University of Jersusalem
Seeing peace like a city: The case of Jerusalem
Violently contested cities are at the heart of ongoing ethnonational conflicts, and their final status is often a central issue for peace negotiations without which no final resolution can be reached. These negotiations, typically led by national politicians and diplomats, include little, if any, representation of local actors and voices. These voices are often fundamentally different from those of state-centriNoam Brenner - pic.jpgc actors, and they may bring to the table different ideas, values and perspectives concerning the future of contested cities. This article integrates the "seeing like a city" theoretical approach with the growing literature on urban peacebuilding and asks: How is "seeing peace like a city" different from "seeing peace like a state?" We analyse the case study of Jerusalem using historical analysis, public opinion surveys and in-depth interviews to illustrate the tension between state-centric and city-centric logics. Our findings show the distinction between the focus of state-centric processes on ‘rigid’ issues (e.g. security and sovereignty) and the focus of city-centric processes on ‘soft’ issues (e.g. tolerance and daily life). We conclude the paper with an explication of the implications of our framework, "seeing peace like a city", for research and practice in other violently contested societies.




Montag, 21. November 2022, 18 Uhr

Sandra Jasper, HU Berlin447749-natura-urbana-the-brachen-of-berlin-0-460-0-690-crop.jpg

Special Event - Film Screening: Film as Method in Urban Research screening "Natura Urbana - The Brachen of Berlin" by Sandra Jasper & Matthew Gandy, Discussant: Hilary Silver 

The film takes us from the Trümmerlandschaften and their unique ecologies to the abandoned roofs of the Friedrichshagen Waterworks on the edge of the city. Encountering an extraordinary variety of spontaneous vegetation from all over the world that has sprouted along railway lines, street corners, and in the distinctive Brachen of Berlin.
In Natura Urbana the changing vegetation of Berlin serves as a parallel history to war-time destruction, geo-political division, and the newest phase of urban transformation. Natura Urbana takes us on a unique journey through Berlin ranging from the botanical microcosm of cracked paving stones to elaborate attempts to map the entire city in terms of its distinctive ecological zones.



Montag, 28. November 2022, 18 Uhr

Hilary Silver, George Washington UniversityHeadshot 2018-Silver-small.jpg
Discussant: Thomas Faist (Bielefeld University)

Neighborhood Integration: Everyday Encounters in the Diverse German Capital

"Integration" has become a fraught term in German discourse, but remains a key sociological concept. Formal integration policies, institutions, and programs at the European, Federal, State, and District levels offer similar but distinctive definitions of their objectives. But rarely does the welter of language and history courses, employment and social policies, citizenship laws, cultural debates about democratic, gender, and religious values and schooling quality acknowledge the implications of everyday encounters of local residents of diverse backgrounds. This paper contrasts ordinary social interactions, both friendly and conflictual, in two Berlin 1bild_2020.jpgneighborhoods, one in the former East, the other in the West. A more social conception of integration recognizes the role of everyday civility, associational networks, "cosmopolitan canopies" and celebrations in shared spaces and mundane activities that knit together strangers with a common neighborhood identity.





Montag, 05. December 2022, 18 Uhr

François Bonnet, Sciences Po Grenoble

The Upper Limit: How Low-Wage Work Defines Punishment and Welfare 

Since 1993, crime in the United States has fallen to historic lows, seeming to legitimize the country’s1index.jpg mix of welfare reform and mass incarceration. The Upper Limit explains how this unusual mix came about, examining how, beginning in the 1970s, declining living standards for the poor have defined social and penal policy in the United States, making welfare more restrictive and punishment harsher. François Bonnet shows how low-wage work sets the upper limit of social and penal policy, where welfare must be less attractive than low-wage work and criminal life must be less attractive than welfare. In essence, the living standards of the lowest class of workers in a society determine the upper limit for the generosity of welfare and for the humanity of punishment in that society. The Upper Limit explores the local consequences of this punitive adjustment in East New York, a Brooklyn neighborhood where crime fell in the 1990s. Bonnet argues that no meaningful penal reform can happen unless living standards and the minimum wage rise again. Enlightening and provocative, The Upper Limit provides a comprehensive theory of the evolution of social and penal policy.




Montag, 12. December 2022, 18 Uhr

María José Álvarez Rivadulla, Friederike Fleischer & Adriana2-0.jpg Hurtado Tarazona, Universidad de los Andes

Networks of Care  


In the early months of 2020, confronted with a yet unknown rapidly spreading infectious disease, the world went into panic mode. Offices sent employees to work from home, schools and other social institutions were closed, and people wereUnknown.jpeg increasingly isolated in their homes. Care work became the center of households' daily concerns, and especially women spent even more time and unpaid labor on related tasks. This was the moment when the Bogotá Mayor's Office introduced a new policy in the city's neglected and impoverished urban peripheries that aims at fostering class and gender equality. In this talk, we present the initial findings of our new research project about the innovative program "Mananzas de Cuidado" (Neighborhood Care Centers), which offers a variety of Adriana-Hurtado-Cider-Uniandes.jpgservices to "carers" in an effort of alleviate their burden and improving women's lives. Besides highlighting the tangible benefits of this initiative, we also interrogate the policy from a social capital perspective: How does the program connect vulnerable women to institutions, to other women and resources? And, what is the effect on women's lives and wellbeing?





Montag, 09. January 2023, 18 Uhr

John Joe Schlichtman, DePaul Universityjj-schlichtman-2022.png

Buchvorstellung - Showroom City: Real Estate and Resistance in the Furniture Capital of the World. A unique and engaging account of local urban decision-making within the globalizing world.

Showroom City is a story of exclusionary growth and unchecked development, of a city flailing to fill the void left by its dwindling factories. It engages the lessons behind High Point, North Carolina’s deindustrialization as well as its stunning reinvention, revealing how power operates locally and how citizens may affirm, exploit, influence, and resist the takeover of their community.



Montag, 16. January 2023, 18 Uhr

Tuba İnal-Çekiç and Urszula Woźniak, HU Berlin

Buchvorstellung - We, the City: Plurality and Resistance in Berlin and Istanbul 1Tuba_foto4_ss.jpg

In the face of uninhibited neoliberal restructuring, Berlin and Istanbul have for the past decade been subject to various forms of political polarization and social injustice. As a result, the struggles for affordable housing, access to public space, fair labor, ecological justice, and the right to live differently have intensified. Various forms of grassroots resistance have put the relationship between local governments and social movements to the test, provoking questions about where and how the city’s political subjects emerge. Blending dialogues, essays, and critical reflections, this 11DSC_6528.jpge-book investigates the ways in which the residents of Berlin and Istanbul experience, express, and contest the physical, political, and normative reordering of their cities. Three chapters focusing on (i) various forms of urban resistance, (ii) the un/silencing of subjects, and the seemingly mundane (iii) practice of walking put the idea of a multiplicity of political subjects in the urban to the test, to ask: Who are We, the City?


Montag, 23. January 2023, 18 Uhr

Carlos Sandoval García, Universidad de Costa Rica

Forced migration in Central America. Trajectories, trends, and politicsC. Sandoval Foto 1 2020 1.jpg

This presentation aims to analyse three main trajectories of mobility in the region: transit migration of people coming mainly from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and African countries who seek to approach the Mexico/US border, Nicaraguans migrating to Costa Rica, a main case of South to South migration, and Central Americans leaving their countries wishing to reach the US. It also seeks to reflect on the relationship between structural factors that force people to migrate, including material dispossession, gender and sexual violence, criminal violence and climate emergency, and the securitization policies that impede them to arrive to destination countries. The presentation ends asking to what extend there is an urgent need of a right not to have to migrate forcefully.




Montag, 06. February 2023, 18 Uhr

Michele Lancione, Polytechnic of Turin

Inhabiting Radical Housing: Violent histories, mundane struggles, and the intersection of the housing political 

Krankheitsbedingt ins Wintersemester 2023/2024 verlegt!

Rescheduled to winter term 2023/2024 due to sickness!

In their modes of organising and fighting housing injustice, radical housing movements demand MLancione_Portrait_Web.jpgmore than just housing. Across the urban north and south, they bring to the fore profound critiques of dominant economic, cultural, and societal inequalities. Scholarship investigating these grassroots efforts is copious but still limited: it theorises radical struggles mostly from a Western tradition; it largely fails to bring resistance into dialogue with new modes of theorising the city; and it is still too cautious in its theorisation of the political. How housing and inhabitation struggles enable people to articulate wider, if often mundane, politics to fight class, race, and gender injustice? This is a crucial question to appreciate how the struggle for housing is central in the definition of urban futures across geographies. The paper advances a critical epistemological orientation to tackle these questions, expanding on decolonial, vitalist and processual approaches to urban studies. It proposes to rethink the politics of urban precarity from the ground, beyond the colonisation operated by humanitarian approaches, to focus instead on tracing historical violence, translocal political and societal structurations, and the embodiment of the housing political.



Sommersemester 22

Montag, 25. April 2022, 18 Uhr

Nir Cohen, Bar Ilan University & Angelika Gabauer, TU Wien & Henrik Lebuhn, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & Tihomir Viderman, BTU Cottbus and TU Wien

Buchpräsentation „Care and the City. Encounters with Urban Studies“ edited by Angelika Gabauer, Sabine Knierbein, Nir Cohen, Henrik Lebuhn, Kim Trogal, Tihomir Viderman, Tigran Haas

Care and the City is a cross-disciplinary collection of chapters examining urban social spaces, in which caring and uncaring practices intersect and shape people’s everyday lives. While asking how care and uncare are embedded in the urban condition, the book focuses on inequalities in caring relations and the ways they are acknowledged, reproduced, and overcome in various spaces, discourses, and practices.

This book provides a pathway for urban scholars to start engaging with care_lebuhn.jpg

approaches to conceptualize care in the city through a critical-reflexive analysis of processes of urbanization. It pursues a systematic integration of empirical, methodological, theoretical, and ethical approaches to care in urban studies, while overcoming a crisis-centered reading of care and the related ambivalences in care debates, practices, and spaces. These strands are elaborated via a conceptual framework of care and situated within broader theoretical debates on cities, urbanization, and urban development with detailed case studies from Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

By establishing links to various fields of knowledge, this book seeks to systematically introduce debates on care to the interconnecting fields of urban studies, planning theory, and related disciplines for the first time.




Montag, 02. Mai 2022, 18 Uhr

Olena Kononenko, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
New challenges of the city of Slavutych: social geography approach
Olena.jpgThe city, which was built to serve the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station (ChNPS) after the April 1986 accident, continues to meet the challenges. The presentation will consider the historical, political, social, planning and management aspects of the development of the city of Slavutych. The last city of the USSR, the ideal city, atomograd, monofunctional - these and other characteristics reflect the unique fate of the city and its inhabitants. The study aimed to assess the city's resilience to the greatest challenge of the city`s short history – the closure of the ChNPS. As a result, the number of jobs at the nuclear power plant is decreasing every year. How did the residents perceive the fact that from valued and highly qualified employee they became unnecessary for their country? What prevented the mass outflow of the population in the face of the declining quality of municipal infrastructure, poor housing and community services and the slow introduction of market mechanisms? The research is an attempt to answer these questions. The methodology has combined a system-structural approach and situational analysis, a survey and a mix of chorological, historical, statistical and other methods.



Montag, 09. Mai 2022, 18 Uhr

Valeria Lazarenko, IRS - Leibniz-Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung

Under the Sounds of Sirens. Ukrainians' Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions during the First Days of Full-Scale War.

Discussant: Dr. Lela Rekhviashvili, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (Leipzig)

photo_2022-04-25_15-32-56.jpgOn 24 February, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale war on Ukraine. For many people, this was preceded by months of anxious anticipation: some prepared survival kits, some joined first aid courses, others regularly monitored the latest news and war forecasts. For those Ukrainians who survived the hostilities in Donbas and became IDPs, the anticipation of a Russian attack may have been even more difficult.
What were the first perceptions and practical reactions to the breakout of the war? What stands behind the decision to flee or stay? How did the beliefs and life principles change? Why did people decide to volunteer? What were the most important decisions they had to make? After numerous ethical and methodological preliminary considerations, the team of Kyiv think tank Cedos posed these questions to citizens of Ukraine in a qualitative online survey. The presentation and following discussion will focus on the feelings, thoughts, and actions of people in Ukraine during the first days of the war.




Montag, 16. Mai 2022, 18 Uhr

Laurent Fourchard, Sciences Po Paris

Classify, Exclude, Police. Urban Lives in South Africa and Nigeria.

In this presentation I will question the possibility of comparison between cities often perceived as incommensurable and suggest to combine ethnographic and historical methods in urban studies to reflect a genealogy of dispositifs of power in Lagos, Ibadan (Nigeria) and Cape Town (South Africa). I will come back to two concepts (the colonial situation and twilight institutions) shaped by thephoto Fourchard.jpg observations of the ordinary experiences during the colonial period and the post structural adjustment period.  Despite their global circulation, these concepts, still rarely used in urban studies, open up the possibility to emancipate oneself from a sometimes too Western vision of the urban and to develop empirically comparative possibilities. The colonial situation demonstrates the temporary and precarious nature of urban life, a product of the colonial power and its capacity to classify, exclude and police everyday life in unexpected ways. Twilight institutions contribute to highlighting the plurality of local political landscapes where power relations and service provisions are negotiated in daily social encounters.  They re-examine the porous boundaries between the state, the bureaucracy and the social world and grasp routine forms of urban politics beyond informality and social movements. To do so the presentation will be focusing on everyday forms of policing in poor neighborhoods of Ibadan and Cape Town and street level bureaucracy in major places of transport (the motor parks) in Lagos and Ibadan.  



Montag, 23. Mai 2022, 18 Uhr

Haim Yacobi, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU)

From Urban Syndemic to Syndemic Urbanism: rethinking urban health justice in post-covid cities

In this presentation I will suggest that the current global pandemic crisis is an opportunity to critically revisit our urban health justice, policies and planning, while arguing that COVID is not a pandemic but rather syndemic—


the assembling of conditions, their interaction at the biological, social, and psychological level, and how they are shaped by social and political factors. Inspired by Richard Horton, I would suggest understanding the current urban conditions as “syndemic urbanism” and hence adopt a different orientation to urban public health by developing an integrated approach— that is both political and proactive—for treating health disparities as a public concern rather than the treating of individual patients. Based on some work-in-progress research in Gaza, Jerusalem, Belfast and Bangladesh, I will conceptualise the notion of syndemic urbanism, focusing on how urban-spatial elements influence the development of several health conditions and how these are experienced in an urban context.  




Montag, 30. Mai 2022, 18 Uhr

Sandra Carolina Pulido Chaparro, Universidad de los Andes (Kolumbien) International Fellow with the Urban Studies Foundation

Construction of moral materialities of emerging middle classes in informal neighborhoods

Sandra Carolina Pulido Chaparro.jpgGlobally, most research on the middle class shows that place of residence is an important characteristic in the way individuals define their positions and identities within the social structure. So much so that, in Latin America, discussions of the "emerging or aspirational middle class" have focused on the formal spaces of the city and have not worked on middle-class identities in informal self-built neighborhoods, as these are viewed as mostly related to poverty and illegality. The presentation seeks to contribute to these discussions by analyzing the positioning and identities of the emerging middle class in five self-built neighborhoods in Bogotá, through their spatial boundaries and their practices of social differentiation.
In this paper, I show that through the construction and arrangement practices of their houses, residents construct moral materialities that draw spatial boundaries that position them in an intermediate space between wanting to get closer to the "order" of the formal city and, at the same time, move away from the "chaos" of the informal city and all the negative attributes and stigmas of poverty in the city. These practices in turn, perpetuate prejudices in these neighborhoods towards other self-built neighborhoods in the city, reproducing the structural inequalities between them.




Montag, 13. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr

Carolin Genz, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

A Search of Traces vs. Intervention? Qualitative Methods in Spatial and Urban Research


Qualitative methodological approaches for exploring urban spaces cannot be reduced to specific tools. It can only combine a multitude of qualitative approaches and thus be understood as an interdisciplinary and multi-modal access to analyze socio-spatial practices. Many disciplines face the methodological challenge of capturing the complexity of everyday experiences in socio-spatial and urban structures, interactions and infrastructures on different scales. This presentation aims to clarify the interrelationship between spatial practices and (im-)material spaces. For this approach, it is crucial to address spatial practices as an epistemological starting point for urban anthropological research to subsequently provide methodological insights into the ethnographic exploration of spaces and the researcher's positionality. The reflexive turn in the context of the writing-culture debate has been equipping the methodological approach of qualitative urban and spatial research with constant self-reflection, whereby a critical examination of one's position has become the status quo of qualitative spatial research. Hence, the tasks of how to reflect on the researcher's positionality and to simultaneously uncover underlying contradictions in this regard are pivotal, as they interrelate the urban setting with a critically reflexive approach to interdisciplinary qualitative spatial research that is mainly dedicated to social problems and wants to intervene in areas of political conflict.




Montag, 27. Juni 2022, 18 Uhr

Nina Margies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Lost future, lost hope? Young people, crisis and collective emotions

In this talk, I explore how we can look at experiences of crisis and change through the lens of emotions. What does crisis feel like and what does it mean for people when they see their future prospects ripped away?
This exploration is based on qualitative research with young people in Madrid in the aftermath of the economic crisis (2016-2018) and their emotional accounts of change: the impacts the crisis had on the supposed securities of their lives and how they dealt emotionally and cognitively with lost future prospects, especially their investments in education that rarely led to (good) employment.
I will demonstrate that for the young people the changes felt like being stuck in an impasse and how this led to a particular structure of feeling shared by many of them: uncertainty, anxiety, frustration and resentment. Secondly, the talk looks at how young people explained their impasses and what role the city played here, in whether they interpreted their experiences as personal or as shared and structurally conditioned.




Montag, 04. Juli 2022, 18 Uhr

Ceren Kulkul, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Revisiting Gezi Uprising: Right to the city or more?

In summer 2013, Istanbul witnessed unprecedented gatherings of people from different backgrounds, ages, educational levels, but all with the same purpose: to claim their rights to the city. The Gezi Park Occupy movement initially started as a protest to protect this park in Taksim, but soon spread throughout the country and became a symbol of civil disobedience against the rising authoritarian regime. Although it is still accepted as an act of right to the city (and more), numerous high-skilled young professionals who were backbone of the Gezi Uprising began to leave the country after 2013 summer.

In this talk, I will analyze the processes after Gezi Uprising and the reasons of those who began to leave the country based on a research that I conducted in 2017. In that research, I talked with high-skilled young professionals who migrated to Berlin, and I focused on Gezi movement, right to the city in Istanbul and socio-spatial polarization of secular and conservative groups. This time, on the ninth anniversary of Gezi, I re-visited some of the questions with former interview partners and analyzed contemporary socio-political and economic crisis in Turkey retrospectively.




Wintersemester 21/22



Montag, 25.Oktober 2021, 18 Uhr
Kick-Off Think & Drink Special Events 2021/22

Talja Blokland, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Looking back and looking ahead: Thoughts on lockdown, urban life and the future of public trust

In this welcoming session of Think & Drink, our first live NDWXQ7fK_400x400.jpgevent since a long time inside, Talja Blokland discusses some of the findings of the BUA-project 'Urban Life under COVID19' in which Berliners reported on their lost activities during lockdown and from there looks ahead at the further questions that these data provoke and looks back at some of the analyses that her team has done so far on these data. In connection with her recent work on public safety, she explores the role of public trust for urban life, the damage to trust that lockdowns may cause, and the questions we may start asking ourselves for the future of public trust in urban space. 




Montag, 08. November 2021, Treffpunkt: 16Uhr (S-Bhf. Storkower Straße, Friedrichshain)
Walk & Talk

Christian Kassung, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Zwischen Infrastruktur und Umwelt. Das Berliner Zentralvieh- und Schlachthofgelände 1883-2021


Die Ortsbegehung führt an einen Knotenpunkt der Industrialisierungsgeschichte: das Berliner Zentralvieh- und Schlachthofgelände. Durch das infrastrukturelle Zusammenspiel einer Vielzahl von Dingen, Praktiken und Technologien entstand hier Fleisch als bis heute stabiles Nahrungselement. Zugleich stellt sich damit aber das Problem der Umwelthaftigkeit, das infrastrukturelles Denken und Planen hinterfragt.



Montag, 22. November 2021, 18 Uhr

Die Veranstaltung mit Carolin Genz wird krankheitsbedingt auf das Sommersemester 2022 verschoben

Carolin Genz, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

A Search of Traces vs. Intervention? Qualitative Methods in Spatial and Urban Research


Qualitative methodological approaches for exploring urban spaces cannot be reduced to specific tools. It can only combine a multitude of qualitative approaches and thus be understood as an interdisciplinary and multi-modal access to analyze socio-spatial practices. Many disciplines face the methodological challenge of capturing the complexity of everyday experiences in socio-spatial and urban structures, interactions and infrastructures on different scales. This presentation aims to clarify the interrelationship between spatial practices and (im-)material spaces. For this approach, it is crucial to address spatial practices as an epistemological starting point for urban anthropological research to subsequently provide methodological insights into the ethnographic exploration of spaces and the researcher's positionality. The reflexive turn in the context of the writing-culture debate has been equipping the methodological approach of qualitative urban and spatial research with constant self-reflection, whereby a critical examination of one's position has become the status quo of qualitative spatial research. Hence, the tasks of how to reflect on the researcher's positionality and to simultaneously uncover underlying contradictions in this regard are pivotal, as they interrelate the urban setting with a critically reflexive approach to interdisciplinary qualitative spatial research that is mainly dedicated to social problems and wants to intervene in areas of political conflict.



Montag, 29. November 2021, 18 Uhr

Åsa Wettergren, Universität Göteborg

An emotions sociological perspective on hope and climate change

The purpose is to theorize hope from an emotion-sociological perspective, emphasizing its interactional, social, and collective dynamics. According to c_971330-l_3-k_image.jpgliterature, hope relates to an unknown future and arises when one’s agency appears limited. Hope may connect to an imagined future outcome (representational) or be generated in the process of the present (non-representational). I consider hope an emotive-cognitive faculty spurred and directed by emotions relating to context-bound, interactional meaning-making evoking for instance fear, despair, aggression, grief, sympathy, love. As an emotion, hope can be analysed in terms of sources, objects and outcomes. Hope-orienting supportive emotions rise from imagined outcomes tying hope to different sources and objects. One task is to analyse how collective cognitive re-framing (emotion management) constructs ties between hope, its sources and objects, and varies imagined outcomes, allowing to understand hope’s impacts on individual and collective action. Drawing on previous work on negative hopes, I propose a model where the action orientation of hope is passive or active, and the social level of hope is individual or collective, resulting in different emotional orientations and actions. Given an imagined outcome of climate breakdown, some sources and objects of hope generate fear and aggression or grief and love respectively. In combination with passive or active action orientations at the collective or individual level, the result is different types of hope and thus potentially different future scenarios. The model is illustrated by preliminary findings from an ongoing research project studying the Transition Network and the Collapsologists, notably the collective emotion management called ‘inner transition’ and ‘positive deep adaptation’.



Donnerstag, 09. Dezember 2021, 16 Uhrcsm_Oevermann_200-300_sw_164643df5c.jpg

Heike Oevermann, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

"Aktivismus und Citizen Science: plurale Quellen des Wissens über die Stadt und die Herausforderung transdiziplinärer Stadtforschung" – Ehrung von Heike Oevermann und Podiumsdiskussion mit Ilse Helbrecht, Talja Blokland, Ignacio Farías und Sandra Jasper Silent Green, Atelier 2


Anfahrtsskizze Silent Green, Atelier 2



Montag, 10. Januar 2022, 18 Uhr

Andrej Holm, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Buchpräsentation - Andrej Holm & Christoph Laimer (Hrsg.): "Gemeinschaftliches Wohnen und selbstorganisiertes Bauen"

Gemeinschaftliches Wohnen und selbstorganisiertes Bauen bieten neueholm_bookcover.jpg
Antworten auf die aktuellen Herausforderungen im Wohnungswesen. Seit vielen Jahren haben Baugruppen und Hausprojekte in zahlreichen Ländern Erfahrungen in der gemeinschaftlichen Planung gesammelt, neue Wohnformate entwickelt und unkonventionelle Formen gemeinschaftlichen Wohnens erprobt. Das gilt insbesondere für Initiativen, die mit selbstorganisierten Planungsprozessen, einer nicht gewinnorientierten Bewirtschaftung und kollektiver Verantwortung gemeinschaftliche Wohnformen entwickeln und nutzen. Diese Publikation möchte aufzeigen, wie Nischen innerhalb des kapitalistischen Systems genutzt werden können und welche Ansätze es darüber hinaus gibt . Darum finden sich neben Beiträgen über das Wohnen und Bauen im engeren Sinne auch solche über Commons, Solidarische Ökonomien, Eigentum, Dekommodifizierung oder alternative Finanzierungsinstrumente. 




Montag, 24. Januar 2022, 18 Uhr

Die Veranstaltung mit Henrik Lebuhn wird aus organisatorischen Gründen auf das Sommersemester 2022 verschoben

Henrik Lebuhn, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Buchpräsentation „Care and the City. Encounters with Urban Studies“ edited by Angelika Gabauer, Sabine Knierbein, Nir Cohen, Henrik Lebuhn, Kim Trogal, Tihomir Viderman, Tigran Haas


Care and the City is a cross-disciplinary collection of chapters examining urban social spaces, in which caring and uncaring practices intersect and shape people’s everyday lives. While asking how care and uncare are embedded in the urban condition, the book focuses on inequalities in caring relations and the ways they are acknowledged, reproduced, and overcome in various spaces, discourses, and practices.

This book provides a pathway for urban scholars to start engaging with care_lebuhn.jpg

approaches to conceptualize care in the city through a critical-reflexive analysis of processes of urbanization. It pursues a systematic integration of empirical, methodological, theoretical, and ethical approaches to care in urban studies, while overcoming a crisis-centered reading of care and the related ambivalences in care debates, practices, and spaces. These strands are elaborated via a conceptual framework of care and situated within broader theoretical debates on cities, urbanization, and urban development with detailed case studies from Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

By establishing links to various fields of knowledge, this book seeks to systematically introduce debates on care to the interconnecting fields of urban studies, planning theory, and related disciplines for the first time.




Montag, 07. Februar 2022, 19 Uhr (Sinema Transtopia im Haus der Statistik)

Nitin Bathla, ETH Zürich

Filmvorführung „Not just roads“ von Nithin Bathla & Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou

Aufgrund begrenzter Kapazitäten erfolgt der Einlass nur nach Voranmeldung an!


Not Just Roads is a feature-length documentary film, which explores the recent history of planetary entanglements between the built environment, monetary speculation, and everyday life. It focuses on the sensorium of an urban expressway, the Dwarka Expressway located on the peripheries of Delhi. This expressway is being constructed as a part of the


Indian government's Bharatmala ('Garland of Limitless Roads') program, which aims to add a total of 65,400 kilometres of new highways to the existing network of highways in India. Thus opening the Indian countryside to a massive urbanisation geared towards speculative investments for the emerging Indian middle classes and global investors. Currently, these territories are inhabited by agricultural and working-class communities and nomadic herders and criss-crossed by native trails and vital ecological commons. The film captures the friction between the social and material lives of these competing life worlds, shifting between the sensorium of the world outside and inside of the gated utopias along the expressway. It journeys between working class neighbourhoods undergoing demolition, construction landscapes, protests sites, and the persuasive pitches by the real estate salesmen attempting to sell dreamscapes.

This film was premiered at the Architecture Film Festival London 2021, where it was shortlisted as part of the 2021 International Film Competition. It was featured as part of the 'Beyond the screen competition' at the DocAviv Film Festival 2021. Additionally it has screened the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam 2021, and the Copenhagen Architecture Festival 2021. In November it will premier in India as part of Dharamshala International Film Festival in India.

Mehr Infos zur Vorführung auf der Webseite des Veranstalters.




Sommersemester 20


Montag, 20.4.2020

Nadja Kabisch, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin







Montag, 27.4.2020

Neera Adarkar, Adarkar Associates





Montag, 4.5.2020

Speaker, Institution






Montag, 11.5.2020

Hyun Bang Shin, University of Oxford (COMPAS)





Montag, 18.5.2020

Bhawani Buswala, John Hopkins University






Montag, 25.5.2020

Speaker, Institution





Montag, 1.6.2020 wird kein Think & Drink stattfinden!



Montag, 8.6.2020

Henrik Lebuhn, Humoldt University Berlin






Montag, 15.5.2020

Speaker, Insitution






Montag, 22.6.2020

Derek Hyra, American University (D.C.)

Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappoccino City


Cover des vorgestellten BuchsRace, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City is an in-depth ethnography of this gilded ghetto. Derek S. Hyra captures here a quickly gentrifying space in which long-time black residents are joined, and variously displaced, by an influx of young, white, relatively wealthy, and/or gay professionals who, in part as a result of global economic forces and the recent development of central business districts, have returned to the cities earlier generations fled decades ago. As a result, America is witnessing the emergence of what Hyra calls “cappuccino cities.” A cappuccino has essentially the same ingredients as a cup of coffee with milk, but is considered upscale, and is double the price. In Hyra’s cappuccino city, the black inner-city neighborhood undergoes enormous transformations and becomes racially “lighter” and more expensive by the year.





Montag, 29.6.2020

Sunil Kumar, John Hopkins University






Wintersemester 19/20



Montag, 21.10.2019

Petr Vasat, Czech Academy of Sciences

From Exclusion to Expulsion: The Emergence and Development of Homelessness in Post-Socialist Czechia


Homelessness is a relatively new phenomenon in post-socialist cities. Whereas it did exist under the communist regime, it fully manifested itself in Czech cities with the fall of the Iron Curtain, the democratisation of society and the early 90s integration in the global economy. Since then, the dominant narrative about homelessness has been that it represents a result of individual and/or societal causes and homeless people are socially (spatially) excluded. The goal of the paper is to explore the emergence and development of homelessness in post-socialist Czechia. In the paper, I argue that contemporary Czech homelessness is not a form of exclusion but - referencing Saskia Sassen - rather expulsion. In doing so, I first examine it in the framwork of Peter Marcuse's political-economic analysis, as emerging at the intersection of unequal distribution of income, conservative (neoliberal) political reforms and gentrification. Then I move beyond the political-evonomic approach and demonstrate how homelesseness in post-socialist Czechia materialises through a complex assemblage of not only political-economic processes such as transformation or globalisation, but also the specific accompanying dynamics and logics based on the cultural, institutional or affective conditions typical of Czech cities and society in general. Taken together, the paper seeks to better understand the particularities of homelessness in the post-socialist context and beyond. 



Montag, 28.10.2019

Stijn Oosterlynck, University of Antwerp

Exploring alternatives to neo-assimilationism: looking for solidarity in diversity, here and now

National and to a lesser extent urban diversity policies in Europe have recently been taking a turn towards neo-assimilationism. This turn is often justified by referring to the perceived failure of multiculturalist policies and widespread concerns that formal and informal solidarity mechanisms are challenged by increasing ethnic and cultural diversity. In this lecure, I address the question of solidarity in diversity and explore how group loyalty and the sharing of resources can take place across ethnic-cultural lines. I briefly explain how, due to the intricate interweaving of nation-state building and welfare state construction in the 20th century, in our current understanding solidarity is grounded in the spatial boundedness of territorial state and the intergenerational continuity of supposedly culturally homogenous nations.
This leads me to the argument that our historically developed understanding of solidarity should be complemented and enriched with an in-depth knowledge of solidarities developing in an entirely different spatiotemporal frame, namely that of the everyday places and practices in which people engage across ethnic and cultural boundaries. I will support this argument for a place- and practice-based perspective on solidarities in diversity with a number of case studies in which people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds have nurtured solidarity in diversity by taking joint responsibility for the places in which they live, work, learn and play in super-diversity. The case studies will both highlight the potential of place-based practices of solidarity in diversity as well as some limitations, e.g. the importance of scale for redistribution. 



Montag, 04.11.2019

Liza Weinstein, Northeastern University

Contesting India's World Class City Evictions:
Place Difference, Path, Dependencies, and
Local Character of Anti-Eviction Activism


Since the early 2000s, local governments across India have carried out large-scale demolitions in informal settlements and “slum” communities, evicting hundreds of thousands of marginalized urban residents, justified by the stated need to make India’s cities “world class.” While these evictions have been characterized in academic and popular accounts as part of a global land grab and rooted in the logics of capital accumulation under contemporary global capitalism, this paper is part of a larger effort to historicize and localize India’s “world class city” evictions. This paper highlights, in particular, the distinct ways that evictions are being contested across India’s major cities and aims to explain why distinct movement forms emerge in different localities. Based on interviews, ethnography, and historical research in the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, the paper identifies four ideal-typical models of anti-eviction contestation prevalent across urban India: legal activism, protest politics, political party advocacy, and civil society influence in local administration. In order to explain the city-specific character of these contestations, this paper draws on sociological theories of “place distinction” (Molotch et al, 2000) to develop a framework for explain how locally-specific movement forms emerge through cities' historical developments.



Montag, 11.11.2019

Adolfo Estalella,
Complutense University of Madrid

Property,The City and The Law

Property is under dispute in the city. Institutions with a long history in certain countries like tenants unions or housing cooperatives based on the right to occupy have been extended to new geographies while urban commons are emerging all around the world. In all these initiatives, urban dwellers are defying Western conventional property relations (in all its expressions: private, public, and collective). Participants in these processes learn the technicalities of the law, produce material arrangements and explore social relations to produce novel arrangements of property relations. This talk pays attention to the subversion of urban property in the city to tentatively propose a program aimed at exploring the deep relation between the law and the city: How the law shapes the city? Could the city be described as a legal landscape? If the emergence of the modern citizen is tied to the creation of public institutions (like libraries, schools, etc.), we could ask what kind of political subject is brought into the city by new forms of property relations.



Montag, 18.11.2019

Bernd Belina,
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

Where AfD is (not) strong: urbanization, provinciality, anti-politics


The electoral success of the AfD is marked by three spatial patterns. It is stronger in east Germany than in west German, within east and west it is stronger in southern parts than in northern parts, and finally, it is stronger in municipalities with fewer inhabitants that in municipalities with more inhabitants. Making sense of the last pattern is at the center of this talk. Instead of referring back to the county-city-divide, it proposes to use the notions of urbanization (Lefebvre), provinciality (Adorno) and, finally, anti-politics, understood as a mode of making political claims that negates arguments, negotiations, and compromise and instead starts from absolute, non-negotiable positions. The talk argues that right-wing populism becomes a political project by, among other things, using anti-political subjectivations; that provinciality, understood as conscious or unconscious unreflectedness, is the opposite of the urban and therefore the breeding ground for anti-politics; and that the urban and provinciality both can be found in city and country alike, but that provinciality is more likely to materialize beyond metropolitain areas.



Montag, 25.11.2019

Margit Fauser,
University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt

The Emergence of Urban Border Space

While state control borders, cities have been recognized as the sites where the inclusion of migrants "takes place". Notions such as of borderscapes draw attention to the multiplication of spaces where borders are now being located and negotiated and to the multiplicity of different actors involved. This had provided new perspectives into externatlization of the border and its control. Less attention has been given to the growing diversity of instruments of internalization and localization, and the institutions, mechanisms and agents that are turning cities into key sites of control too. In engaging with these debates and arguments I suggest a framework for the study of urban border spaces and present some first results from ongoing empirical research. This framework accounts for the need to capture the ways in which territorial and social differnetiation relate, bringing together border studies and sociological boundary debates; the inherent spatialization and spatial transformation of the border; the partly newer role of city and urban scale in these processes, not merely as subordinate unit in multi-level governance, and rather key to the multiscalar production of borders in face of state-urban rescaling; lastly, this also calls into question the external/internal-divide for the understanding of the complex forms of territorial and sociopolitical governance from the urban scale. 



Montag, 02.12.2019

Noa K. Ha & Kristina Graaff,
TU Dresden & HU Berlin

Street Vending in the Neoliberal City
A Global Perspective on the Practices and Policies of a Marginalized Economy


In their talk, Kristina Graaff and Noa Ha discuss their coedited anthology Street Vending in the Neoliberal City which investigates street vending as a global, urban, and informalized practice found both in the Global North and Global South. The volume entails case studies from international scholars on cities as diverse as Berlin, Dhaka, New York City, Los Angeles, Calcutta, Rio de Janeiro, and Mexico City. The aim of this global approach is to repudiate the assumption that street vending is usually carried out in the Southern hemisphere and to reveal how it also represents an essential economic practice in urban centers of the Global North. After giving an overview of the anthology as such and discussing its relevance to Urban Studies, Kristina Graaff and Noa Ha will introduce their own case studies on New York and Berlin, placing a particular emphasis on urban informality and how it is changing due to the rise of neo-racism and far-right parties.



Montag, 09.12.2019

Antonie Schmiz, Freie Universität Berlin

Sari vs. Dim Sum. The branding of ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto.


Under the umbrella of Toronto’s city motto, ‘Diversity our Strength‘, ethnically labelled Business. Improvement Areas (BIAs) have become the object of branding strategies. While these branding processes generate tourist places and multicultural neighbourhoods for the creative and cosmopolitan, they challenge social cohesion. Branding often leads to urban revitalisation and thus causes the displacement of diverse communities and migrant enterprises through rising rents. Furthermore, ethnic place-making and branding activity can create local conflicts around identity and urban images in which migrant agency plays a central role. The talk compares two ethnically-branded BIAs in a political-economy perspective to show that marketability between ethnic groups varies. It provides systematic analysis of urban policies towards the branding of migrant entrepreneurial neighbourhoods in Toronto. It further shows how heterogeneous power structures influence ethnic entrepreneurial neighbourhoods.



Montag, 16.12.2019

Stale Holgersen, Uppsala University

Class character of urban policy and planning: from urban neoliberalism to dark conservatism?


Inspired by state theory and in particular Nicos Poulantzas, Holgersen claims that urban policy and spatial planning should be seen neither as autonomous (subject) nor merely an expression of something else (thing), but rather grasped as a place for condensation of social relations. And the notion of dialectics (following e.g. Bertell Ollman) could be used in order to grasp relations between policy/planning and other aspects and social relations. From this, five theses can be oulined, claiming that policy/planning (1) is constituted by conflicts which are grounded in social relations, (2) is never a neutral place, (3) contains neither an inherent "dark" nor a "bright" side (as often argued in planning theory), (4) and is changing and being changed by the world and also that (5) political alliances should be made between planners/policy makers and movements outside the municiplaity who want the world to change in similar directions.
In his presentation Holgersen focuses on social class as a social relation, and discusses the class character of urban policy and plannig. He will do so by examining recent trends in Scandinavian urban policy/planning, where the liberal in neoliberal ideologies are arguably being replaced by conservative ideology - often in xenophobic and highly authoritarian versions. The implications such changes might have for class, for urban policy and for our cities will be discussed.




Montag, 06.01.2020

Gareth Millington, University of York

Urban Infrastructures and Pentecostalism: Reflections from Lagos and Kinshasa


Following recent research in Lagos and Kinshasa, this paper critically analyses examples of urban infrastructure financed and provided by Pentecostal organisations. These include electricity and water supply, bridges, as well as new homes, schools, universities and hospitals. The questions posed by this paper are: what is distinctive about this mode of urbanisation? How should we understand the ontology of religious urban infrastructure? And, what distinct kinds of urban social relations do these ‘infrastructural experiments’ result in? On a fundamental level, infrastructural projects delivered by religious actors challenge the assumption in urban studies that urbanisation has become a secular process, driven solely by relations between market and state. As such we consider the degree to which urban theory adequately makes sense of infrastructure that is understood by its providers and users to exist by ‘faith of God’.  Evocations of ‘lively’ infrastructures, the ‘poetics’ of infrastructure and ‘enchanted’ materialities go some way towards understanding these developments, but critical questions concerning responsibility for planning and infrastructural delivery, inclusivity and the imaginaries tied to these new infrastructures remain. This paper address these issues and more broadly, the novel ‘relation between things’ associated with a Pentecostal ‘alter-city’ that exists  within but also as an extension of/ in opposition to the mega-city.




Montag, 13.01.2020

David Kirk, University of Oxford

Home Free: Prisoner Reentry and Residental Change after Hurricane Katrina


More than 625,000 individuals are released from prison in the United States each year, and roughly half of these individuals will be back in prison within just three years. A likely contributor to the churning of the same individuals in and out of prison is the fact that many released prisoners return home to the same urban environment with the same criminal opportunities and criminal peers that proved so detrimental to their behavior prior to incarceration. This study uses Hurricane Katrina as a natural experiment for examining the question of whether residential relocation away from an old neighborhood can lead to desistance from crime. For many prisoners released soon after Katrina, they could not go back to their old neighborhoods as they normally would have done. Their neighborhoods were devastated by a once-a-generation storm that damaged the vast majority of housing units in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina provided a rare opportunity to investigate what happens when individuals move not just a short distance, but to entirely different cities, counties, and social worlds. This study draws upon both quantitative and qualitative evidence to reveal where newly released prisoners resided in the wake of the Katrina, the effect of residential relocation on the likelihood of reincarceration through eight years post-release, and the mechanisms revealing why residential change is so important.  




Montag, 20.01.2020

Luděk Sýkora, Charles University Prag

Half-Life Cities: Capitalist Pasts and Socialist Futures


In 1990, Ralf Dahrendorf in his “Reflections on the revolution in Europe” envisaged that sixty years are barely enough to lay social foundations of new society. Three decades since the Great 1989 we are half-life through the anticipated change. Where we are now in 2019? This presentation argues that “Transformation” is not finished project yet. While the social practices of firms, households, and governments under the conditions of expanding neoliberal global capitalism brought former socialist countries and their cities into the global mainstream, the ever-present legacies of communism are deeply embodied in everyday urban life. Struggling through the second round of transition, the urban development paths are shaped by volatile equilibristic of discursive, policy and financial games. Critical reflections of three decades of post-socialist urban transformations help to illuminate alternative development perspectives on cities in Central and Eastern Europe.




Montag, 27.01.2020

Tuba Cekic, HU Berlin

Perceived and Conceived Space: Ambiguity and insecurity in urban transformation in informal settlements


The speech will focus on the apathetic engagement behavior of the larger part of the population in an informal neighborhood in Istanbul in reference to the institutional environment of urban development. By telling the story of Okmeydanı, institutional ambiguities, and the associated uncertainties concerning the residents’ rights to land in that specific informal neighborhood will be presented. Contextual characteristic of public participation and civic engagement to an urban regeneration project in an informal settlement is significantly affected by the prevailing conditions of the land tenure system and governments’ past and present attitudes in urban issues, as well as citizens’ trust in institutions.




Montag, 10.02.2020

Naika Foroutan, HU Berlin

East-Migrant Analogies - A Comparison of Stereotypes, Feelings of Devaluation and Ascension Conflicts



Foto: Rasmus Tanck

Significant parts of German society share experiences of decline, social inequality and political alienation. In addition to these structural disadvantages, two groups in particular are also affected by social, cultural and symbolical devaluation: Migrants - and within this group, the particularly salient, group of Muslims - and East Germans. With this talk I want to take a look at the parallels of recognition processes of these two social groups.



Sommersemester 19


Montag, 29.04.2019

Dr. Tatiana Fogelman, Roskilde University Denmark

Conflicting temporalities, communal politics and governance of religious difference in Copenhagen


Most scholars and lay observers alike see Copenhagen as "a pioneering municipality and a role-model for other municipalities with respect to diversity" in Denmark (Andersen et al 2014: 4). In 2014 the city itself boasted that it had become the 3rd most inclusive city in Europe, according to the Intercultural cities index. It also claimed it was well on its way to achieve its goal to become "the most inclusive metropolis in Europe" by the year 2015. That very same year, however, left-leaning Copenhagen municipality decided to stop accommodating Denmark’s only Jewish nursery and preschool’s request for extra closing days (due to Jewish holidays), effectively forcing it to leave the public sphere, very much against the latter’s wishes. Drawing primarily on document analysis from the case in this talk I seek to understand city’s turnaround and resistance to the accommodation of religious difference against both, the background of self-proclaimed "diversity mainstreaming" in the city, and the existing conceptualizations of urban-scale governance as more progressive and inclusive in their minority and integration policies than national one. Focusing on this case of a communal institution of a religious minority and its navigation between minority and national temporalities, I discuss how difference, including religious difference, has come to be understood and sought to be governed at the municipal and national scale. I draw on concepts of post-secular city, and redistribution and recognition in order to highlight the ongoing difficulties of thinking equality beyond sameness in the Danish context.



Montag, 06.05.2019

Prof. Tommaso Vitale, SciencesPo Paris

From Romanian autochtonies to French slums: Regional migration network, homophilia and integration skills

Recent literature shows that Roma from different regions of Romania have major exchange relationships with people randomly met from settlements in the same slums. Based on the example of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma living in slums, we propose to explore a mixed model combining the effects of selection by relevant territories of trade/social exchange relations and the broader effects of socialisation through cohabitation during migration. This global objective raises several questions:
- Is there a regionalized difference in the socio-professional backgrounds of the population studied?
- How are the effects of selection and socialization balanced in the relations between Romanian and Bulgarian migrants?
- Are slums homogeneous or heterogeneous spaces in terms of regions of origin?
- Is there an effect of selection of exchange relationships on criteria of social integration skills (vocational training, schooling...)?
Empirical data are coming from a database of slum-dwellers in Paris, collected by social workers to respect French regulation and prefecture directives. The existence of data produced for the State for the purpose of social intervention allows us to take up these questions by giving them a more systemic overview: how are regional migration chains and sociability in migration articulated within migration networks?




Montag, 13.05.2019

Dr. Anders Blok, University of Copenhagen

Civic Modes of Greening the City? Urban Natures In-between Familiar Engagement and Green Critique

In this presentation, we deploy the loosely bounded phenomenon of 'urban green communities' – in the shape of urban gardening, beekeeping, food collectives, biodiversity enhancement, tree planting and kindred citizen-based group practices towards urban greening – in order to probe the wide variations in modes of civic engagement with urban sustainability politics. The work of Laurent The´venot on regimes of engagement, in particular, allow us to trace translations in-between the familiar attachments and the public critiques undertaken by urban green communities. Empirically, we leverage this re-conceptualization as part of a comprehensive digital mapping exercise set in Denmark, in which we trace core patterns and differences in modes of urban-green politics at the level of everyday citizen practices. Having identified six such civic modes of urban greening and specified their group styles of engagement, we end by discussing the implications of our findings for questions of care, justice and democracy in sustainable city-making.



Montag, 20.05.2019

Dr. Elena Fontanari, University of Milan / Visiting fellow at the Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität; Dr. Laura Colini, Urbact; Nihad El-Kayed, BIM/ Humboldt-Universität; Chair: Dr. Christine Barwick, Centre Marc Bloch; further speaker tba.

[Paneldiskussion] Roundtable „Arrival cities and the incorporation of refugees" (Centre Marc Bloch, Sciences Po Paris, Georg Simmel Zentrum für Metropolenforschung)

In this roundtable discussion, we want to start from the notion of arrival cities / neighborhoods and discuss what facilitates or inhibits the incorporation of refugees. Large cities with a long history of immigration and the corresponding infrastructure are often seen as places where the incorporation of newcomers can occur without much conflict, in contrast to, for example, more rural areas with little experience of immigration. Based on the example of Berlin, we want to discuss the experience of refugee incorporation and thereby analyze the factors that make up an 'arrival city' (or neighborhood). Concurrently, we also look at the factors that inhibit the smooth incorporation of newcomers. We thereby want to discuss a variety of actors, including among others the city administration, civil society, and migrant organizations.



Montag, 27.05.2019

Prof. Fraya Frehse, Universidade de Sao Paulo

Everyday Patterns of Social Inequality in São Paulo's Public Places


The social sciences on social inequality in Brazil emphasize the role that residential places play in the production and/or reproduction of asymmetries of social positioning therein, with the acceleration of economic globalization as of the 1990s. My purpose here is to address what may be said about social disparities in urban space in Brazil by contemplating public places so absolutely receptive to social diversity as the squares of downtown São Paulo during workday afternoons. By tackling ethnographic data about the everyday patterns of bodily use of five of these public places in the city's historical core between March 2013 and August 2014 from a peculiar dialectical and phenomenological perspective, a Lefebvrean and Goffmanian one, peculiarly long-standing body-behavioural and moral inequalities come to the fore.


Montag, 03.06.2019

Dr. Ryan Powell & Dr. John Flint, University of Sheffield

[Book Launch] Class, Ethnicity and State in the Polarized Metropolis: Putting Wacquant to Work

Loïc Wacquant’s sociological approach to understanding the contemporary polarizing city has resonated widely across the social sciences.  His theorizing represents a distinct synthesis which is historically informed, multi-disciplinary, empirical, relational, power-centred, and committed to a constant “espistemic reflexivity”.  Yet Wacquant’s work is often read in “bits and pieces” as a result of academic specialization and the artificial bracketing off of interconnected areas of urban inquiry.  Many critiques fail to fully capture the totalizing nature of Wacquant’s framework and are therefore easily dismissed.    This talk presents content from, and reflects on, a new edited collection, which critically engages Wacquant on his own terms - bringing class, ethnicity and state into a unified frame of analysis in seeking to make sense of the dynamic and complex re-making of urban marginality in “advanced capitalist societies”.  With reference to the diverse contributions within the volume we assess the potential of Wacquant’s work, highlight areas for revision and refinement, and reflect on its further development and expansion beyond the “Global North”.


Montag, 10.06.2019 Feiertag. Es findet kein TnD statt.


Montag, 17.06.2019

Prof. Felipe Link,  Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

Residential density and personal social networks. Paradoxes of metropolization?


The hypothesis regarding the relation between personal networks and residential density proposes that in both, low residential density and high residential density, sociability decreases. Despite that, the urban space can be a fertile ground for the consolidation and multiplication of sociability in some specific contexts.

Santiago de Chile is analyzed in different representative neighborhoods of the city, in their different densities and urban characteristics, taking into account the economic and demographic changes, in order to evaluate the structure and composition of personal networks of their residents.

The theoretical framework is based on the idea of relational social capital of Nan Lin, as well as the understanding of social capital as one of the forms of capital, following Pierre Bourdieu. In addition, understanding geography as a structure that encourages or inhibits social relations and a structure that is shaping a new kind of solidarity, as has been described by Francoise Ascher and Barry Wellman.

The methodology corresponds to the analysis of egocentric personal networks of residents in representative neighborhoods of the city in Santiago de Chile.



Montag, 24.06.2019

Prof. Steffen Mau, HU Berlin
Borders are back! Grenzen und Grenzkontrolle im 21. Jahrhundert


Der Vortrag widmet sich der Transformation staatlicher Territorialgrenzen vor dem Hintergrund von Prozessen der Globalisierung und Reterritorialisierung. Im Zentrum steht dabei die Frage, wie Grenzkontrolle verschoben, verstärkt und technologisiert wird. Es wird argumentiert, dass Grenzen immer mehr zu semipermeablen Filtern umgebaut werden, die zwischen erwünschten und unerwünschten Personen unterscheiden und Mobilität weit vor dem eigentlichen Territorium steuern. Zugleich nutzen sie datenbasierte und biometrische Verfahren der Identifikation und Kontrolle, die erweiterte Formen der Selektion und einen höheren Grad an Automatisierung zulassen. Parallel dazu entstehen neue Grenzfortifizierungen, also stark bewehrte und militärisch hochgerüstete Grenzen, die Barrierewirkung ausüben und dazu beitragen, dass die Bewegung von Personen eingedämmt wird. Der Vortrag diskutiert die These, dass im Zusammenspiel von Kontrollverlagerung, Technologisierung und Fortifizierung ein neues Grenzarrangement entsteht, das zugleich ein globales, ungleiches und stark stratifiziertes Mobilitätsregime hervorbringt.


Montag, 01.07.2019

Prof. Tobia Lakes, HU Berlin

Making sense of the spatial location for urban studies using geoinformation science


Spatial data and geoinformation systems are increasingly available for addressing diverse research questions. Indeed, the location in space provides several benefits, however, at the same time, challenges for the scientific workflow. This presentation offers insights in opportunities of geoinformation science for empirical research on environmental justice and childhood health in urban areas. New data sources and techniques are being critically discussed and conclusions are drawn for possible future multi- and transdisciplinary research.







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Wintersemester 18/19


Montag, 12.11.2018

Prof. John Mollenkopf, City University of New York

The Future of Urban Studies

foto mollenkopfCities are 'back in town,' to borrow the title of a seminar series at Sciences Po in Paris. Signs include economic vitality, choice of millennials to live in urban settings, dramatic technological changes, the reshaping of urban populations by immigrants and their children, the shift of rapid urbanization to the global South and East, and tensions over globalization that may center (elements of) cities and urban regions as key global actors. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, much of the debate, especially in the U.S., was about whether cities still had important economic, social, and political functions, with disinvestment, racial change, white flight, and suburbanization being key motifs. Today, concern centers more around who has "the right to the city" and how to balance the inclusion of many rising urban constituencies and cultures with the imperatives of economic growth. Such major changes call for a retooling and recentering of the theoretical interests and subjects of urban studies. This talk reflects both on the new dynamics that must be central to this process and the enduring questions posed at the beginning of urban studies about the interrelationships of industrialization, urbanization, and mass migration. It concludes by arguing for the centrality of tensions between the state and market institutions in the new urban era.


Montag, 19.11.2018 [Different location: Takes place at Grimm Zentrum/ HU]

Berlin Dialogues @NYU in cooperation with

Think & Drink Colloquium, Georg Simmel Center, Humboldt University

“Decolonize Mitte! The Humboldt Forum, Museum Island, and Schloss”


Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Grimm-Zentrum, Auditorium

Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3
10117 Berlin

Moderator: Ares Kalandides (NYU Berlin)

Discussants: Annette Loeseke (NYU Berlin), Stephanie Pearson (NYU Berlin and Humboldt University), Wayne Modest (Research Centre for Material Culture, Amsterdam), Iris Rajanayagam (xart splitta, Berlin) (tbc).

As the Asian Art and Ethnological Museum collections move into the Humboldt Forum, questions have arisen about how to be responsible stewards of cultural heritage. Provenance research and repatriation are in the spotlight; but what is still missing from the public discourse is any recognition of—and attempt to grapple with—a far more pervasive problem: the colonial perspective that informs museum displays not only in the Forum (most evident in its architectural frame, the reconstructed imperial Schloss), but all across Museum Island. This public talk draws attention to the above challenges and searches for solutions.

It is the first of a series hosted by NYU Berlin, this time in cooperation with the Think & Drink Colloquium of the Georg Simmel Center, Humboldt University.


Montag, 26.11.2018

Prof. Bob White, Université de Montreal

Cultural Distance as a Measure of Integration:

Citizenship Tests and Moral Panic About Cultural Conformity

foto whiteIn the nations of the industrialized West where immigration is a state-based project intended to respond to economic and demographic problems, new forms of mobility (Nail 2016) and diversity (Vertovec 2007) have exacerbated concerns about the status of strangers (Simmel 1908). This new demographic reality amplifies local fears about difference, drawing on the tension between civic and ethnic identity that is central to history of the modern nation-state.

Over the last decade countries in Europe and North America have witnessed not only a backlash against various forms of state-sponsored multiculturalism, but also the emergence of exclusionary policy tools aimed at the selection of immigrants based on particular culturally-held beliefs or values. While there is nothing new about the idea of majorities imposing cultural norms and values on minorities, there is something different about these mechanisms, since increasingly they take on the status of legal documents and since in most cases (for example the recent policies proposed by the Trump administration) they are intended to keep certain categories of migrants from ever being able to enter the country, primarily on the basis of claims about cultural or religious beliefs.

This project, in collaboration with the Intercultural Cities Program of the Council of Europe, will draw from several recent examples of “cultural conformity” in immigration policy in order to show how the notion of culture is being used to discriminate against certain categories of migrants. The first phase of the research will set out to identify a typology of mechanisms based on preliminary research: tests, charters, contracts. The next phase of the research will involve a comparative analysis of policy mechanisms at the national level and will propose a set of concrete policy recommendations intended to help cities develop tools to test the knowledge of residents (not only immigrants) based on intercultural principles.


Montag, 03.12.2018

Dr. Stefan Höhne, Technische Universität Berlin

New York City Subway: The Invention of the Urban Passenger

foto hoehneThe opening of the first metropolitan underground railroads around 1900 marks the rise of a central subject type of modernity: the urban passenger. Focusing on the New York Subway, the largest urban transit system of the 20th century, Stefan Höhne traces the historical dynamics of the sociabilities and subjectivities of its passengers. He reconstructs the interactions of men, women and machines and analyzes the experiences, conflicts and governmental techniques in these vast infrastructural spaces below the city.


Montag, 10.12.2018 - kein Think and Drink


Montag, 17.12.2018

Dr. Monika Streule, ETH Zürich

Ethnography of Urban Territories. Metropolitan Urbanization Processes of Mexico City

Book launch and discussion with Monika Streule


foto StreuleEthnography of Urban Territories literally invites us to roam the streets of Mexico City. Based on the experience of 12 years intense empirical and theoretical commitment with the urban question in Mexico City, the book offers not only a compelling close look to everyday life in this metropolis, but also a novel interpretation of urbanization processes by focusing on inherent but often underrepresented power relations in the production and appropriation of urban territories. In this book launch, the author Monika Streule explores and discusses the experimental, critical, and self-reflective use of differing methods in urban studies. One of the main concerns of the book unfolds around the question of how can qualitative-empirical methods, like ethnography or qualitative mapping, be adapted to explore contemporary urban conditions? The book seeks to contribute to current debates by suggesting a socio-territorial perspective and by introducing specific methodological design of a mobile ethnography that enables an analysis of large and heterogeneous urban territories. By suggesting different representations of the urban, the book thus emphasizes how important it is to transductively entangle empirical and theoretical conceptualizations to further decenter urban knowledge production.


Streule, Monika (2018) Ethnografie urbaner Territorien. Metropolitane Urbanisierungsprozesse von Mexiko-Stadt. aus der Reihe Raumproduktionen: Theorie und gesellschaftliche Praxis Band 32. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot. ISBN: 978-3-89691-294-7

More information here





Prof. Jens Wurtzbacher und Prof. Hans-Joachim Schubert, Katholische Hochschule für Sozialwesen Berlin

Das Problem des Vertrauens und der Sicherheit in großstädtischen Sozialräumen

foto wurtzbacherfoto SchubertSeit Entstehung der Großstadt stellt sich auch das Problem des Vertrauen zwischen Menschen, die sich persönlich fremd bleiben. Der Vortrag thematisiert zunächst theoretisch soziologische Konzepte zu neuen Formen des Vertrauens im urbanen Zusammenhang. Anschließend werden empirische Ergebnisse zu Fragen der Sicherheit und des Vertrauens in großstädtischen Zusammenhängen zur Diskussion gestellt.





Montag, 14.01.2019

Prof. Maarten Van Ham, TU Delft

Vicious circles of segregation over the life course and generations


foto van hamIn many large cities, socio-economic segregation is increasing; rich and poor are increasingly living separated in different neighbourhoods. The rich live more concentrated than the poor because they can afford to buy houses in the best neighbourhoods. We developed a multi-level conceptual model of segregation, by using three conceptual levels – individuals and households, generations, and urban regions. Different socio-economic groups sort into different types of neighbourhoods and other domains, leading to patterns of segregation at the urban regional level. At the same time exposure to different socio-economic contexts also affects individual outcomes, and this subsequently leads to sorting processes into neighbourhoods and other domains. This vicious circle of sorting and contextual effects continuously crosses the three levels, and leads to higher levels of segregation. We end with a discussion of several intervention strategies that focus on breaking the vicious circles to improve cities as places of opportunities by investing in people, in places and in transport.


Montag, 21.01.2019

Dr. Roy Coleman, University of Liverpool

Contemporary Charisma, Emotional Faking and the Entrepreneurial City

This paper draws on earlier sociology to critique contemporary patterns of charismatic rule through the figure of the entrepreneur: the entrepreneurial city, the academic as entrepreneur, the businessman/woman as entrepreneurial saviour. For Durkheim and Gramsci alike, the figure of the entrepreneur was cast in terms of a sign of social malaise and morbidity – an anti-social figure who stands alongside other social ailments such as fascism, state coercion, a longing for a past and, what we can call today, the faking of happiness. My talk will focus on the creation of entrepreneurial cities and the forced ambience and emotional animations that they bring. Where is the role of imagination, emotion and ‘spontaneity’ in an area where charis-ma and fake ‘magic’ is organised so tightly around the figure of the entrepreneur? What does this government-through-faking mean for what Durkheim called ‘creative effervescence’ and Lefebvre called ‘the right to the city’?


Montag, 28.01.2019

Dr. Els de Graauw, City University of New York

Working the System: U.S. Cities and the Rights of Undocumented Immigrants

foto graauwThis talk engages with the literatures on urban citizenship and immigration federalism to discuss how U.S. cities, especially those with more progressive political leadership, have addressed the plight of undocumented immigrants, who in recent years have seen their rights restricted by federal officials and especially the Trump administration. Drawing on interviews with local government officials and immigrant rights organizations in San Francisco (CA) and New York City, this talk shows that these two politically progressive cities have successfully experimented with new local citizenship policies and practices vis-à-vis federal noncitizens. Yet, while notable laboratories of policy innovation that push the federal boundaries of citizenship, these cities have done so in ways that do not formally challenge or undermine the federal monopoly over immigration and citizenship matters. The talk will also discuss the political institutional and political normative factors that constrain city officials from pushing the boundaries further.


Montag, 04.02.2019 - kein Think and Drink


Montag, 11.02.2019

Prof. Victor Seidler, Goldsmiths University of London

Making Sense of Brexit: Democracy, Europe and Uncertain Futures


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Sommersemester 18


Montag, 23.04.2018

Arjun Appadurai, New York University

Joerg Niewöhner, HU Berlin

Urban matters - an anthropological conversation with Arjun Appadurai


In a conversational mode open to the audience, this session will explore anthropological perspectives on the urban condition today. Two aspects are of particular interest: What is the role of 'the material' in shaping urban conviviality? And how can we begin to understand cities as intimately connected to local Umland and global Hinterlands. We will draw on examples from Germany, India and the US to better understand, how established problems of justice, governance and planning may be appearing in a somewhat new light through recent shifts towards new materialisms. Is this changing the way we conduct our own research?



Montag, 30.04.2018 - kein Think and Drink


Montag, 07.05.2018

Lígia Ferro, Universidade do Porto

Moving Cities: Interdisciplinarity and ethnography in approaching urban life

Since the Chicago School, the urban studies field is being built from a very intense interdisciplinary dialogue, nurtured by diverse theoretical concepts and methodological approaches to urban settings. Following this line, joint work was developed at the European Sociological Association Research Network 37 – Urban Sociology. One of the main results of the multiple collaborations established within this research network from 2015 to 2017 is the book “Moving Cities: Contested Views on Urban Life” (Ferro, Poziemska, Gómez, Kurtenbach, Pereira & Villalón, 2018, Springer). In this talk, the speaker will focus the notions of interdisciplinarity and ethnography. Particularly ethnography as an holistic and integrative methodological approach to urban life, supports the different practices of interdisciplinarity. Starting from the 12 chapters of the book “Moving Cities”, written from projects carried out in different spaces and scales, these notions will be explored and proposed to the audience for further discussion.


Montag, 14.05.2018

Joanna Kusiak, Universität Wien / University of Cambridge

Right to the City and Law in the City: The ambiguous politics of legal engineering


Is law a sustainable tool for urban justice? The lecture points at the level of informality hidden within highly formalized legal and judicial systems. Analysing the contested process of urban property restitution in Warsaw, I show how seemingly neutral legal technicalities are used to smuggle in neoliberal agendas. Yet can we also co-opt the grey zones of the law and employ legal technicalities for our progressive struggles?









Montag, 21.05.2018 - kein Think and Drink


Montag, 28.05.2018

Johanna Hoerning, TU Berlin

The Politics of Space of Non-Governmental Organizations

The presentation deals with the transformative role of formally organized collective actors for the spatial structuring of housing and refugee politics. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been said to undermine the territorial logic of nation states and other state bodies, as well as of international organization, through their action strategies based on exchange and circulation. But not only do the policy areas differ greatly in the extent to which they are applied to and refer to certain scales; it is also the organizations themselves that show varying forms of organization, goals and target publics.







Montag, 04.06.2018

Nir Cohen, Bar-Ilan University

'Do they even care'? The micro-politics of urban empathy in Tel Aviv

Enmity in on the rise in Israeli cities. Hostile, hate-filled exchanges are visible between distinct socio-political groups across the country. Skirmishes between orthodox and seculars over the closure of businesses on the Jewish day of rest, leftists and rightists over the deportation of African migrants, and lower and middle classes over the magnitude of urban renewal projects dot its contemporary urban landscape. Scholars have often employed a justice-oriented framework to account for these clashes, explaining their unfolding against the backdrop of dwindling rights for socio-physical goods and services – or the threat thereof – perceived by either group, or both.
In this talk, I set to critique the rigorous centering on material rights as a leading approach for explaining urban antagonism in Israel. Employing an ethics of care paradigm, I suggest instead that animosity is frequently induced by the perception of marginalized groups that powerful segments are unwilling (or unable) to take their perspective. Urban resentment is further exacerbated when the perceived misidentification of dominant groups is interpreted within an 'elitist' discourse of cosmopolitan values, like environmentalism or human rights.
Using insights from three case studies in the Tel Aviv metro area, my talk explores the micro-politics of urban care. Drawing on qualitative methods it examines the ways in which members of different residential groups narrate their (often unrealized) quest to be acknowledged and sympathized with. It is this purported 'empathy deficit', it argues, that largely sustains animosity between urban groups divided along class, ethnic and religious lines.


Montag, 11.06.2018 - kein Think and Drink


Montag, 18.06.2018

Walter Nicholls, University of California

Cities and Social Movements: How Cities Matter in the Fight for Immigrant Rights


The presentation addresses a simple puzzle: How is it that extremely precarious groups like undocumented immigrants and refugees grow into a potent political force? These people face a number of barriers, including deportation and violence, that make public resistance difficult if not impossible. Nevertheless, we find many instances in Europe and North America where highly precarious people overcome serious obstacles and mount potent mobilizations for dignity and rights.  Drawing from our book (with Justus Uitermark) Cities and Social Movements, this presentation maintains that urban environments are well suited for transforming precarious individuals into empowered and contentious political groups. Large cities provide emergent activists safe spaces and propinquity needed to cultivate strong and trusting relations. Cities also provide many opportunities for emergent activists to develop connections to various allies in possession of a range of resources (economic, political, cultural, symbolic capital). While strong tie relations among precarious individuals allow them to “come out of the shadows”, weaker tie relations with diverse allies enable the acquisition of resources needed to bolster their position within the political field. The presentation does not suggest that all precarious people resist or that all resistances are successful. It simply maintains that the relational conditions in cities facilitates the political emergence of these groups and their development into forceful mobilizations.


Montag, 25.06.2018 - kein Think and Drink


Montag, 02.07.2018

Javier Ruiz-Tagle, Catholic University of Chile

Urban marginality and institutional effects: Disinvestment, inefficacy and stigmatization in Santiago de Chile

The 'neighborhood effects' thesis assumes that social environments of concentrated poverty lead to a number of social problems (school dropout, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, drug consumption and trafficking, domestic violence, single parenthood, and the like). Despite the wide usage of this thesis, several scholars have questioned its poor theoretical grounding and its intimate relation with policies of poverty dispersion, public housing demolition and social mix.

Drawing on literatures on 'total institutions', 'institutional geographies', urban marginality and urban political economy, we propose an alternative perspective rooted on a critique of the practices of external institutions that have an influence on marginal neighborhoods. We hypothesize that institutions can affect the life chances of poor and excluded communities through three interrelated mechanisms: (1) investments and disinvestments, (2) inaction and inefficacy, and (3) symbolicbranding and stigmatization. We have worked with this hypothesis through a large mixed method, case study of three marginal neighborhoods in Santiago de Chile.

After the second year of this three year-long research, we have found the following evidence. Regarding investments and disinvestments, there is an absence of several important institutions configuring what has been called 'Red Zones'. This happens when public, private and civil institutions, for different reasons, refuse to enter marginal neighborhoods and to deliver their services, which generates a variety of social, economic and symbolic effects from this institutional abandonment. Regarding inaction and inefficacy, social organizations in these formerly active communities have waned, as a consequence of different interventions from local governments, such as incentives for internal competition, divisive strategies, social control and political clientelism, just to name a few. These actions have modified their behavior and modes of organization, bringing a generalized feeling of distrust between citizens and the State (in its different forms and scales), which complicates any public intervention and deeply affects the relationships among residents. And regarding symbolic branding and stigmatization, there is a critical symbolic degradation of these neighborhoods from the media and other powerful actors, and different submission strategies from residents (e.g. mutual distancing, dissimulation, etc.) that validate and amplify the discredit of place. These symbolic processes have both subjective and objective consequences in turn, such as the (re)production of the mentioned 'Red Zones', the weakening of social bonds and place attachments, the degradation of identities, and a generalized naturalization of inequalities, precariousness and violence.


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Wintersemester 17/18


Montag, 23.10.17

Dr. Sebastian Juhnke, HU Berlin

Between Belonging and Being "Part of a Problem": Creative Professionals in Hackney and Neukölln.

Members of the ‘creative class’ (Florida 2003), a demographic of both growing size and importance for the economic vitality of cities, are attracted by tolerant, diverse and open-minded environments. These creative professionals are frequently drawn to ethnically diverse neighbourhoods that are still in the process of gentrification, as it is the case for Hackney in London, and Neukölln in Berlin. Based on empirical research in both boroughs, this talk will discuss the ambivalent position that creative professionals occupy within these places: they claim belonging to place, yet are aware of being complicit in the gentrification of these neighbourhoods. In this process, a variety of strategies is employed to differentiate oneself from other gentrifiers and tourists, for instance by claiming to be more creative, to have a more genuine interest in and understanding of diversity and difference - and hence being better able to identify and appreciate an ‘authentic’ neighbourhood. These strategies furthermore include reflections upon an own role in the gentrification process, for instance contributions to housing market competition, changes in the economic landscape and certain forms of cultural representation. It will be argued that such an awareness has become part of the ubiquitous gentrification discourse and therefore yet another way of claiming belonging and cementing inequalities in gentrifying multicultural neighbourhoods. Adding to the work of Savage et. al (2005) and Watt (2009) on selective and elective belonging, this talk will present a conceptualization of reflexive forms of belonging, including the possibilities and limitations they bring about for addressing urban change.


Montag, 06.11.17

Prof. David Varady, University of Cincinnati

What Can North-West European Community Enterprises Learn from American Community Based Organizations?

The withdrawal of the welfare state has led to more responsibilities assumed by citizen-led initiatives, community enterprises (CEs)  in Europe and community development corporations (CDCs)  in the US.  CEs manage (and sometimes own) properties to generate income and subsequently reinvest this income into a range of social, cultural and economic services that benefit the community. CDCs usually own one asset, rental housing, and use income from rental properties, as well as other sources, to maintain these properties and build new ones.

CEs are well established in the UK. In a 2015 article, Varady, Kleinhans and van Ham identify what British CEs could learn from American CDCs. On the other hand, the Dutch experience with CEs has been far more limited due to restrictions put forth by governmental institutions, the limited freedom CEs have and their high dependency on government (Kleinhans, 2017). Nevertheless, we believe as Dutch CEs grow in numbers and in their level of effort they can benefit from American CDC experience.

The purpose of this paper is to critically review the recent American CDC literature—2010 to the present.  First, how have CDCs evolved over time? Second, what are the key conditions for neighbourhood revitalization impacts?  How are they run and what financial, political and organizational dilemmas (including the role of community in the management of the enterprise) do they face? Finally, what impacts have CDCs had on community revitalization?


Montag, 20.11.17 (Findet in deutscher Sprache statt)


Prof. Hubert Knoblauch, TU Berlin

Die kommunikative Konstruktion des Raumes

Foto von Professor Humbert Knoblauch


In den letzten Jahren ist immer häufiger von der kommunikativen Konstruktion die Rede. Der Vor-trag möchte zunächst erläutern, wie es zu die-sem sozialtheoretischen Ansatz kam und was ihn eigentlich auszeichnet. Dabei soll ein enger Zusammenhang der dabei vorgenommenen begrifflichen Umstellung mit den jüngeren gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen zur Kommunikationsgesellschaft hergestellt werden. Ein besonderer Schwerpunkt soll dann auf die Frage gelenkt werden, welche Rolle der Raum spielt bzw. wie wir die kommunikative Konstruktion des Raumes verstehen können. Dabei wird auch auf einige laufende Projekte in diesem Bereich zurückgegriffen werden. Schließlich sollen einige abschließende Überlegungen angestellt werden, wie dieser Ansatz auf die Stadt und das Urbane angewandt werden kann, die eine anschließende Diskussion anregen sollen. 



Montag, 04.12.17

Prof. Eveline Dürr, LMU München

Notorious place or tourist space: resisting urban transformation in Mexico City 


This talk explores the ways tourism, urban redevelopment and cultural politics intersect and impact disadvantaged districts in Mexico City. As urban spaces are remade for cultural consumption, a range of actors attempt to turn ‘slums’ into attractive destinations and consumer experiences. From slum tourism to ‘favela chic’ these development strategies re-signify images, meanings and value of notorious areas in the city, making them accessible for tourists and other actors. Drawing on ethnographic methods, I show how these processes transform disadvantaged neighbourhoods’ socio-symbolic position and visibility in the city, generating power struggles for controlling the way these areas are represented, marketed and sold. I argue that while neoliberal economic restructuring can aggravate socio-spatial inequalities, it also creates new spaces of resistance and contestation.



Montag, 11.12.17

Prof. Suzanne Hall, London School of Economics

Prof. Christine Hentschel, Universität Hamburg

Prof. Talja Blokland, HU Berlin

Inside the „21st Century City“ — Book launch and panel












In this Book Launch, Suzi Hall, one of the editors, and Christine Hentschel and Talja Blokland, contributing authors, will in a panel discussion present some key themes and arguments of "The SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century City". This book focuses on the dynamics and disruptions of the contemporary city in relation to capricious processes of global urbanisation, mutation and resistance.  An international range of scholars engage with emerging urban conditions and inequalities in experimental ways, speaking to new ideas of what constitutes the urban, highlighting empirical explorations and expanding on contributions to policy and design. The handbook is organised around nine key themes, through which familiar analytic categories of race, gender and class, as well as binaries such as the urban/rural, are readdressed. The discussion will in particular involve the theme of 'conflict'  and of 'civility', two of the key themes of the volume.



Dienstag, 19.12.2017 - Special Event in cooperation with CMS

Prof. Stephen Graham, Newcastle University

Luxified Skies - How vertical urban housing became an elite preserve


The Event will take place at
Hardenbergstraße 16-18 (10623 Berlin)

Room: HBS 103

Start: 6pm



This lecture is a call to address the vertical as well as horizontal aspects of social inequality. It seeks, in particular, to explore the important but neglected connection between the demonisation and dismantling of social housing towers constructed in many Western cities between the 1930s and 1970s and the contemporary proliferation of radically different housing towers produced for socio-economic elites. The lecture will explore how ideas of ‘trickle down’ economics, urban ‘regeneration’ and the alleged failure of modernist social housing towers have combined to sustain in many cities the parallel erasure of social housing towers built for those on low incomes and construction of forests of luxury skyscrapers as investment vehicles for the (often absent) wealthy – a process I call the ‘luxification’ of the urban skies. Case studies are drawn from Vancouver, New York, London, Mumbai and Guatemala City and the broader vertical cultural and visual politics of the process are explored. The discussion finishes by exploring the challenges involved in contesting, and dismantling, the Luxification of the urban skies.

This talk is presented by the Centre for Metropolitan Studies (TU Berlin) in
cooperation with the Department of Urban and Regional Sociology (HU Berlin).



Montag, 08.01.18

Dr. Stephan Lanz, Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt

"a lei quem faz é nós": Politics, Culture und Everyday Life in the Favela of Rio de Janeiro

Der Vortrag findet in englischer Sprache statt.
Wir passen das Abstract zeitnah an.

„Das Gesetz machen wir“ hatte das herrschende Drogenkommando in ihrem Slang an den Eingang einer Favela in Rio de Janeiro gesprüht und damit deren Alltagsrealität zutreffend beschrieben.  Eingebettet in eine Kritik am traditionellen Desinteresse der westlichen Stadtforschung gegenüber den alltäglichen Lebensrealitäten in Städten des Globalen Südens präsentiert der Vortrag die Ergebnisse einer langjährigen ethnografischen Studie dieser Favela in der brasilianischen Küstenmetropole. Er zeigt, wie korrupte Staatsapparate, Drogengangs, Bewohnervereine sowie Pfingstkirchen, die alle auf Engste ineinander verwoben sind, ihren Alltag bestimmen und diskutiert Fragen nach der Handlungsmacht von einfachen Bewohner*innen sowie der politischen Sprengkraft von musikalischen Subkulturen.


... zurück zum Seitenanfang


Sommersemester 17

Kein reguläres Think and Drink in diesem Semester.

Sonderveranstaltungen finden im Rahmen der Kosmos Summer School 2017 statt.


Donnerstag, 29.06.2017


Prof. Mitchell Duneier

(Princeton University)

Ghetto: Invention of a place,
History of an idea.


Duneier traces the ghetto from its 16th-century origins—when the Jews of Venice, Italy were forced to live in il ghetto—to Nazi Germany and America today. Duneier shows how the idea of the ghetto has become unmoored from its history, and what that history has to offer today.





Montag, 03.07.2017

Think and Drink Conversation

Laws, Legibility and Discretionary Space


Silvia von Steinsdorff (HU Berlin)

Yuri Kazepov (Universität Wien)

Gabriel Feltran (Center for Metropolitan Studies, Sao Paulo)

Talja Blokland (HU Berlin)


This panel discussion, consisting of short inputs from Silvia von Steinsdorff (HU Berlin), Yuri Kazepov (Universität Wien) and Gabriel Feltran (Center for Metropolitan Studies, Sao Paulo), chaired by Talja Blokland (HU Berlin), is part of the KOSMOS Summer University of the Georg Simmel Zentrum and the Department of Urban and Regional Sociology. The panel aims to explore the question how 'seeing like a state' (Scott 1998) creates an unavoidable tension between the particular and the universal. It discusses the linkage between politics and law implementation, for example in court systems, policing and social policy implementations. Much of the literature on state interventions and discretionary space in sociology addresses the contentious relationship between system and life worlds. This panel unpacks the too simple idea of 'a system' and instead discusses the implementation of policy, the subjections of individuals to laws by courts (and the ways in which courts translate laws) and the enforcement of the law vis-a-vis economic interests: a system, then, that is encapsulated between politics, economics and street bureaucracies.


Montag, 17.07.2017

Prof. Gabriel Feltran

On State Paradoxes:
Car Theft and its Formal-Informal Regulations in Brazil

The presentation has two parts:

i) general guidelines issued from field research to understand how car theft in Sao Paulo became, in last 20 years, a transnational market which connects legal-illegal money and formal-informal regulations;

ii) the main analytical (also social and political) consequences for studying the State given this specific standpoint. The research was made with both ethnographic material collected from 2005-2012 in Sao Paulo and official data produced by the Brazilian government and insurance companies in different countries in Latin America.


... zurück zum Seitenanfang


Wintersemester 16/17

Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Wintersemester 16/17 ist hier als pdf downloadbar.


Montag, 17.10.2016

Prof. Ernesto Lopez Morales, Universidad de Chile

Social stratification as an effect of property-led gentrification in Santiago, Chile

From the 1990s onwards, the high-rise, property-led gentrification of Santiago, Chile has excluded original low-income households from the city, who see now how the increased housing prices in their neighbourhoods create massive housing affordability problems (López-Morales, 2011; 2015; 2016). Meanwhile, a growing number of middle class households (also some lower-income immigrants who multi-occupy new residence) arrive to these central neighbourhoods, creating new cultural and social demands as they transform the traditional patterns of peripheral segregation experienced by this city.
This projects scrutinizes the effects generated by high-rise, property-led gentrification in four central neighbourhoods in Santiago, assessing both original and new residents' socio-economic attributes, motivation, expectations, attitudes and courses of action aimed at staying put in the areas, also observing gentrification-led displacement pressure and/or exclusionary displacement (Slater, 2009). A four-year pannel survey (2015-2018) is being currently conducted (geographically stratified  with probabilistic sample, and sampling error of 5% at general level); results show important effects on the economic, social and cultural capitals (Bourdieu, 1986) of the resident population in the four neighbourhoods. Results also reveal considerable changes in the perceived status of the new residents (proprietors / renters), cultural tastes, knowledge, political inclinations, metropolitan mobility patterns and activities correlated with a wide range of social variables (class, education, ethnicity, occupation, etc). As the analysis is considerably inspired by Savage (2010), Multiple Correspondence Analysis was also performed and some preliminary results will be shown in this presentation. The present study not only shows how important central areas of Santiago become gentrified, but also reveals unexpected outcomes in the social re-stratification of central Santiago.


Montag, 24.10.2016

Es findet kein Think and Drink Kolloquium statt


Montag, 31.10.2016

Prof. Ingrid Breckner, Hafen City Universität Hamburg

Wie die Zuwanderung von Flüchtlingen Stadt produziert - die Beispiele Hamburg und Lübeck

Der Votrag stellt die Forschungskonzepte von zwei seit August 2016 laufenden Drittmittelprojekten zur Diskussion. Sie sollen zeigen, wie das Ankommen von Geflüchteten in den beiden Städten gehandhabt wird und wie sich dadurch institutionelle Strukturen, Akteurslandschaften und politische Settings gesamtstädtisch und in unterschiedlichen Stadtquartieren verändern. Untersucht werden in Hamburg Biografien ankommender Flüchtlinge unter Berücksichtigung ihrer jeweiligen Zugänge zu Bildung, Arbeit und Wohnraum sowie in Lübeck die Praxis der Wohnungsversorgung Geflüchteter in der Kooperation der Stadt Lübeck, der kommunalen Wohnungsbaugesellschaft und eines Wohlfahrtsverbandes.


Montag, 07.11.2016

Dr. Kristin Reichborn-Kjennerud, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Interest groups and participation at the local level A comparison between the Tøyen district of Oslo and Lavapiés in Madrid

In gentrification processes, inhabitants and local businesses are displaced as the middle class move into formerly deprived central city areas. How such processes of change are handled by local authorities, is interesting in a democratic perspective. We therefore wish to study who influences decision making and implementation in urban redevelopment processes and how.
We ask; how do interest groups work to influence local government in urban development processes and how do they succeed?
We compare two central districts in the capitals of cities in the north and the south of Europe, Tøyen in Oslo and Lavapies in Madrid. Oslo is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe whereas Madrid’s population has stagnated or decreased with the financial crisis. The districts that we compare seems to differ in that Tøyen in Oslo to some extent invites gentrification processes. Lavapies in Madrid, on the contrary, fight gentrification fiercely and potently obstruct the municipalities’ plans to accommodate for tourism in this central district of Madrid.
Comparing these countries and cities give important insights into how interest groups/different stakeholders work to preserve their interests, how local governments take this into account in a more or less legitimate way and how effective different strategies are in influencing public decision making in different contexts and cultures. Both stakeholders and local administrations can draw important lessons from this research to improve their processes and way of working.


Montag, 14.11.2016

Movie Night mit dem Regisseur Andreas Wilcke

Die Stadt als Beute


Von London bis New York gilt Berlin plötzlich als “the place to be“. Das weckt Begehrlichkeiten.
Jeder will hier wohnen und viele wollen sich hier eine Wohnung kaufen, die – verglichen mit „zu Hause“ – spottbillig ist. Ehemaliger staatlicher Wohnungsbestand wird privatisiert und Mietwohnungen werden zu Eigentum. Welten prallen aufeinander und Paralleluniversen tun sich auf.
Andreas Wilcke hat diesen Vorgang vier Jahre lang durchleuchtet. Mit seiner Kamera ist er überall in der Stadt unterwegs; befragt die verschiedenen Akteure, begleitet Makler, Investoren und Kaufinteressenten bei der Schnäppchenjagd und Mieter beim Gang durch die Institutionen. Der Zuschauer ist quasi live dabei, wenn im Zeitraffertempo eine ganze Stadt umgekrempelt wird.


Montag, 21.11.2016

Dr. Danielle Chevalier, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Emotional Ownership of Public Space

The concept of ownership connotes to having the right to call the tune on that what is owned. Ownership is comprehensive, but not unbounded and it can entail duties with regard to what is owned. Furthermore it can be shared, transferred and lost.  Ownership of space is traditionally defined on the basis of legal deeds or economic interest. However, with regard to public space rights and duties are at times envisaged by social entities that do not hold legal or economic ownership over that space. Such social entities, though lacking a conventional title deed, nevertheless stake a claim on ‘their’ space and on occasion attempt to secure their claim through legal tactics. In my talk I will introduce and expand on my exploration of a concept I have tentatively denominated ‘emotional ownership’. Emotional ownership is coined to investigate situations in which rights over public space are invoked on a non-legal basis, and subsequently played out by engaging with legal strategies.
Empirical cases illustrating the exploration are two public squares in The Netherlands that both constitute shared spaces of everyday life for very different social groups. Contestations of what is appropriate in the shared space can be reconfigured into contestations over who has the right to determine the space. The contestation is played out in the legal realm, concretely by seeking to have behavioral norms codified in local byelaws. Theoretically the exploration builds on Lefebvre’s conceptual triad on the production of space, and Habermas’ shifting perspective on the role of juridification in late modern society.

Montag, 28.11.2016

Dr. Anika Duveneck, Freie Universität Berlin

Urban Education between social equality and social upgrading

The lecture will be held in English. An English Abstract is following soon.

Zwischen sozialem Anspruch und sozialer Aufwertung: Kommunale Bildungsansätze

Education is often thought to be among the number one keys to reducing social disadvantage. In recent years, there have been discussions as to the particular effectiveness of education programs at the local and urban level in that regard: a small-scale approach to organizing education allows for systematic cooperation between the relevant institutions and actors, which is supposed to particularly benefit young people with strong need for support. Cities and municipalities in turn are willing to take on greater responsibility as they are hit by failed education programs as much as they profit from successful ones. However, with municipalities competing amongst each other, to what extent can they answer the claim of equality? The presentation will address the question of the contradictory relation between social approaches to education and entrepreneurial urban politics drawing on the example of “Campus Rütli” in Berlin Neukölln.


Montag, 05.12.2016

Movie Night with Prof. Simon Parker, University of York

Precarious Trajectories: Voices from the Mediterranean


Written and Directed by Simon Parker

Filmed on location in Italy, Greece and Libya in 2015-2016 at the height of the so-called Mediterranean Migration Crisis, this documentary features the voices of those who successfully made the perilous journey across the Aegean and Mediterranean, and investigates why so many hundreds have lost their lives at sea. The film also explores the political context of Europe's attempts to manage and hold back the exodus from North Africa and the Middle East and how communities on the front line of the migration emergency have responded with humanity and compassion.


Montag, 12.12.2016

Prof. Justus Uitermark, Universiteit van Amsterdam

Reassembling the city through Instagram

People constantly use the city as a background for making their media images and recreate the city in the process. What the city is and what it means is redefined through countless distributed acts of media production and consumption.  Although the media now extends into the minutiae of everyday life, neither urban theory nor media theory have come very far in thinking through the mutual constitution of media and urban spaces. This presentation will develop tentative propositions on the mediatized city and present some preliminary findings from research on Instagram I’m now conducting with John D. Boy.
How does your relationship to the city and other people change when you upload pictures on Instagram? How do politicians change their policies as they increasingly anticipate and respond to media representations? How is the everyday segregation of different classes reflected or refracted through Twitter hashtags like #noordgestoord or #ilovenoord? How does the use of social media engender or disrupt dominant imageries of the city and society?



Vom 19. Dezember 2016 bis 02. Januar 2017 findet kein Think and Drink Kolloquium statt



Montag, 09.01.2017

Dr. Hanna Hilbrandt, Leibniz-Institut für Raumbezogene Sozialforschung, Erkner

Negotiating Order. Everyday Rule in Berlin's Allotment Gardens

This talk inquires into the powers at play in the everyday practices of making the city, and the social and spatial relations through which those who inhabit its margins put these powers to work. This exploration is based on a case study that considers informal dwelling practices and their regulation in allotment gardens in Berlin.

Although a federal law prohibits the inhabiting of these sites, gardeners take up residence within allotment compounds, particularly over the summer. To trace the mechanisms through which they work to stay put in these sites, my talk relates a debate on the transformative potential of the everyday to anthropological literature on the workings of the state, embedding this discussion in relational approaches to power and place.

Joining these perspectives allows me to think more precisely about the ways in which people co-construct the order that takes shape. This discussion not only points to the boundaries of in- and exclusion built up along the way, it also aims to bridge presumed divides between the functioning of states in the global North and South.


Montag, 16.01.2017

Prof. em. Margit Mayer. Prof. Håkan Thörn und Dr- Catharina Thörn, Freie Universität Berlin und University of Gothenburg

Book Launch: Urban Uprisings. Challenging Neoliberal Urbanism in Europe commented by Dr. Henrik Lebuhn

This book analyses the waves of protests, from spontaneous uprisings to well-organized forms of collective action, which have shaken European cities over the last decade. It shows how analysing these protests in connection with the structural context of neoliberal urbanism and its crises is more productive than standard explanations. Processes of neoliberalisation have caused deeply segregated urban landscapes defined by deepening social inequality, rising unemployment, racism, securitization of urban spaces and welfare state withdrawal, particularly from poor peripheral areas, where tensions between marginalized youth and police often manifest in public spaces. Challenging a conventional distinction made in research on protest, the book integrates a structural analysis of processes of large scale urban transformation with analyses of the relationship between 'riots' and social movement action in nine countries: France, Greece, England, Germany, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Turkey.    

After an introductory presentation Henrik Lebuhn will be commenting on the book.


Montag, 23.01.2017

Prof. Marisol García Cabeza, Universitat de Barcelona

Social innovation in Spanish cities in a time of crisis

Spanish cities have experienced the consequences of the 2008 financial and economic crisis in several ways. Not only the bursting of the housing bubble has left thousands of individuals and families without a home, but also large numbers of citizens and immigrants have lost their jobs. Local and national austerity budgets have curtailed the capacity of social services to reach all of those who are in need. Unmet needs by public and private institutions have stimulated civil society actors, (in)formally organized citizens to come up with innovative practices to help those in need. More nuanced analysis shows that whereas some of these practices are new others represent a continuity with similar innovations that sprang up as a result of previous economic and political crises.
I would like to share the outcomes of the INNOSOGO project (Social innovation and governance: emergent practices in cities in transformation) with you. This Project analyses innovative strategies in four large Spanish cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao y Zaragoza). It aims to show to what extent establishing “bottom-linked” governance between citizens’ innovative strategies and local institutions is a requisite for such strategies to be effective and to what extent they are transformative or not. By transformative I mean changing social relationships and influencing the political agenda of local politics.


Montag, 30.01.2017

Es findet kein Think and Drink Kolloquium statt.


Montag, 06.02.2017

Dr. Ayo Mansaray, University of East London

Schooling and belonging in the gentrified city

There is intense sociological interest at the moment in the ways in which individuals and groups form social ties and construct their identities in the urban context. In particular, how forms of difference and diversity – in terms of lifestyle, ‘race’, ethnicity and class are negotiated across intersecting urban spaces and fields. This is often a key locus of debate within the gentrification literature. However, much of this analysis tends to focus on interactions within the fields of consumption/lifestyle and housing. In contrast, in this talk, I examine the ways in which individuals and social class groups form identities and interact through the context of urban schooling – primarily as ‘parents’. Increasingly within neo-liberal regimes such as England, education is an arena of class contestation. This talk will highlight the role of middle-class parents as ‘producers’ of urban space through their educational engagements and commitments, and its exclusionary consequences for others. Moreover the importance of schools, as socialising institutions for the development of urban bonds and commitments is overlooked. Theoretically, the analysis is framed by the work of Bourdieu, Goffman and Randall Collins, and draws material from a forthcoming book provisionally entitled Gentrification and Schooling: An Ethnographic Study of Educational Work and Identities.  


Montag, 13.02.2017

Dr. Emma  Jackson , University of London

The Choreography of Everyday Multiculture: Bowling Together?

This talk explores how the social dynamics of a heterogenous and fast-evolving area of London are played out in one of its leisure spaces, a local bowling alley. Sitting in the middle of an area earmarked for development, this leisure space has become symbolic in arguments about the future of the neighbourhood and what is worth preserving.

Bowling has been used as both a bellwether and a metaphor for society. Most famously, a decline in participation in bowling leagues is used by Putnam (2000) to suggest a decline in American community. However, I challenge this thesis and reorient the discussion of belonging and community towards a focus on practices of belonging and mundane practices of conviviality. I argue that the contemporary bowling alley can offer important insights into modes of sharing urban space and forms of participation that depart from accounts of community based on formal bridging activities that Putnam idealises.

Recognising these modes of community becomes socially and politically important in a context where the social worlds of accessible leisure spaces are disappearing in a gentrifying city.

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Sommersemester 16

Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Think & Drink Programm im Sommer 2016 ist hier als pdf downloadbar.


Montag, 18.04.2016

Prof. Dr. Manuela Bojadžijev, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg und Dr. Sandro Mezzadra, Università di Bologna

Logistik und Migration. Neue Herausforderung für Migrationsforschung?


Der Vortrag wird auf Englisch stattfinden.


In den letzten Jahren ist Logistik zu einem zentralen Begriff in kritischen Globali-sierungsstudien avanciert. Unabhängig von ihren technischen Aspekten bietet Logistik eine wirksame Perspektive auf die tiefen Veränderungen der Mobilität von Gütern, Kapitalien und Menschen, die unser Alltags- leben gestalten. Ziel des Vortrags ist es, die Ergebnisse einer ersten Erforschung der Potentiale des "logistischen Blickes" in Bezug auf Migration darzustellen. Dies scheint uns insbesondere nach dem so genannten "Sommer der Migration" relevant. Nach einer einleitenden Diskussion des Begriffs der Logistik und einigen kritischen Ansätzen zu Studien von logistischen Prozessen wollen wir uns in dem Vortrag auf drei Themenkomplexe konzentrieren: auf den infrastrukturelle Ausbau und die logistische Reorganisation des europäischen Grenzregimes im Rahmen der gegenwärtigen Krise in Europa; auf die wachsende Vermittlung der Grenzüberschreitung und der Arbeitsmigration durch eine Vielzahl von heterogenen Akteuren sowie die wechselnde Rationalität dieser Vermittlung; und die selbstorganisierte migrantische Logistik.



Montag, 25.04.2016

Dr. Henning Füller, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Pandemic cities. Biopolitical effects of changing infection control in post-SARS Hong Kong

The growing fear of an emerging pandemic has facilitated new efforts in infection control, where new technologies and laws have been introduced nationally and at the level of the WHO. This renewed emphasis on infection control is changing the character of Global Health. This is well described as a securitization of Global Health. Less clear is how an ‘emerging diseases worldview’ does play out on an urban scale. The city has historically been the preferred site for biopolitical interventions which poses a question about the biopolitics of the ‘pandemic city’. Severely experiencing the SARS epidemic in 2003, Hong Kong may be an exemplary case in this regard. Focusing on ways of governing un/healthy bodies in post-SARS Hong Kong, the paper details a refined biopolitics, where long-standing mechanisms of social exclusion are combined with enhanced forms of social control through a mix of architectural, ideological and intelligence-gathering processes.



Montag, 02.05.2016

Dr. David Madden, London School of Economics

The Housing Question in New York City: Commodification, Precarity, Resistance


The contemporary era is marked by what observers from across the political spectrum identify as housing crisis. But most accounts of the housing problem see it in narrow terms that suggest narrow, technocratic responses. In contrast, this talk situates the housing crisis in a longer history of urban transformation and contestation. Examining contemporary and historical housing struggles in New York City, this talk will explore the roots of the current moment of crisis in the commodification of housing, trace the experience of residential alienation and precarity, and outline the political responses led by the city's inhabitants. In an increasingly unequal city, the need for housing alternatives has never been greater, but housing politics in New York are more constrained than ever. This talk draws in part on material from the forthcoming book In Defense of Housing, co-authored by David Madden and Peter Marcuse.



Montag, 09.05.2016

Dr. Melanie Lombard, The University of Manchester

Beds in sheds as informal housing provision in the UK

Recent attention to the phenomenon of ‘beds in sheds’, outbuildings used illegally for residential accommodation, suggests that housing informality is increasing in the UK. The increasing prominence of this phenomenon on government and media agendas reflects concern about its apparent proliferation, with estimates of up to 10,000 such dwellings across Britain. The issue has been framed in terms of immigration and illegality, with policy announcements accompanied by police and immigration raids, and the use of terms such as ‘back garden slums’ and ‘suburban shanty towns’ in the media. However, little firm evidence exists on the scale, nature and causes of this type of informal shelter provision. Exploratory research examined experiences and perceptions of shed housing with migration and housing charities and local authorities in London and Manchester.

Contrary to framings which privilege legal categories relating to immigration status and housing standards, findings suggest that shelter informality is enabled by factors such as the growth of the private rental sector (including a significant sub-market of low-income tenants in precarious and poor quality housing), the high demand and scarcity of affordable housing that contextualises this, and the decreasing regulatory capacity of local authorities. This supports an understanding of ‘informality as practice’, deriving from longstanding debates in the global South: in this case, a practice with benefits for both landlords and tenants, in the straitened context of austerity urbanism. However, whether this offers scope for urban transformation - in the way that conceptions of ‘quiet encroachment’ and informal agency seem to suggest - is less certain, given the punitive application of housing and immigration legislation in this context.


Montag, 16.05.2016

Am Pfingstmontag findet kein Think and Drink Kolloquium statt.

Due to the pentecost monday, there will be no Think and Drink Colloquium on May 16.



Montag, 23.05.2016

Prof. Raquel Rolnik, Universidade de São Paulo, Brasilien

Urban warfare: the colonization of housing and urban land by finance

Photo Credits: Martin Hunter

Real estate in general and housing in particular have been one of the most powerful new frontiers of financial capital expansion during the last decades. The belief that markets could regulate the allocation of urban land and housing as the most rational means of resource distribution, combined with experiments with ‘creative’ financial products related to it, has resulted in public policies that have abandoned the conceptual meaning of housing as a social good and of the city as a public artifact. Housing and urban policies have shifted from being part of the commonalities a society agrees to share or to provide to those with fewer resources, a means to distribute wealth, into a means to accumulate individual wealth and to generate financial gains. This process implied in massive dispossession of territories and the creation of “place-less” urban poor as well as increased levels of segregation in the cities.Taking the 1990s as a starting point, and the current financial crisis as its first great international collapse, the lecture will offer a global panorama of the paradigm shift towards the colonization of urban land and housing by global finance. The first part will describe the financialization of housing in different national contexts, trying to point out the different versions of the policies adopted. The second part will focus the mechanisms by which the tenure forms of the urban majorities become more insecure, opening ground to the hegemony of individual freehold as the one and only model. Both parts take examples from the cities in the global North as well as in the global South.



Montag, 30.05.2016

Dr. Renata Bichir, University of São Paulo and Center for Metropolitan Studies

Seeing beyond the State: state and non-state actors in the governance of social policies in São Paulo, Brazil

Unlike most of the countries in the developed world that have shrunken their welfare systems, some countries in Latin America have extended their social protection systems in the last decades, especially after left-wing politicians rose to power. The Brazilian case stands out in the region, not only because it has developed the world largest conditional cash transfer in the world, the Bolsa Família Program, but also because this program is progressively being integrated into a broad social protection system, encompassing contributory and non-contributory social protection, targeted cash benefits and universal social assistance services. In order to understand the complex implementation process of these social policies in the unequal Brazilian federation, local matters. Even though most of the decision-making power is centralized at the federal level, the municipalities have some discretionary power to organize the social services at the local level, considering which neighborhoods to prioritize, how to design complementary social services to the federal initiatives regarding poverty alleviation, among other dimensions. This talk discusses the developments and the challenges of the local implementation of social assistance and conditional cash transfer programs in Brazil, considering new patterns of local governance. The focus relies on the governance of the municipal policy of social assistance in the city of São Paulo considering the constraints and incentives created by the federal normative acts and the space for local experimentation. The talk combines a presentation of the main institutional arenas in which social policy is generated and the analysis of the political dynamics related to the governance of this social policy. I argue that this local governance is a consequence of the interactions and relations between state and non-state actors (bureaucrats, politicians, civil society actors and vulnerable people in general), which are disputing different agendas, ideas and interests in this policy implementation process.


Montag, 06.06.2016

Dr. Elena Fontanari, Dr. Silvia Pasquetti, Newcastle University, Dr.Giovanni Picker, European University Viadrina

CITY Special Issue presentation: Durable Camps: the state, the urban, the everyday


At the beginning of the 21st century, camps constitute an increasingly prominent feature of social landscapes across the world. There are different types of camp formations, such as, among others, refugee camps in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Australia, Europe and the USA. Although regularly built as emergency devices for the management of displaced and undesirable populations, and justified as temporary necessities, camps often turn into durable socio-spatial formations whose logics of functioning and effects are articulated at the intersection of global, state and urban scales. In this talk, we introduce a special issue of the journal CITY, which we edited in 2015, and in which we offer a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of distinctive and varied camp formations in the Middle East, Western Europe and the USA.

Silvia Pasquetti introduces the rationale of the special issue on "durable camps". She highlights the interdisciplinary conversations underpinning this critical examination of camp formations across different socio-political contexts. She focuses on one distinct process examined in the special issue: the relationship between camps and citizenship regimes. In the process, she makes an argument in favor of studying camps beyond refugee populations.
Giovanni Picker continues this overview of the main arguments and themes of the special issue by discussing another crucial but often neglected issue: the colonial genesis of camps and the persistence of processes of racialization within and around camp formations. He emphasizes how a focus on colonial governance and race contributes to shedding light on how camps are today viewed as taken for granted and necessary governance devices.
Through her analysis of everyday life of asylum seekers within reception centres in Germany and her concept of "threshold", Elena Fontanari addresses two other dimensions of camps: their relationships with broader processes of border (de)formation and the condition of permanent temporariness that asylum seekers face as they negotiate their subjectivities."


Montag, 13.06.2016

Prof. Engin Isin, The Open University, UK

Cyberspace and Mental Life


In 1903, just over a hundred years ago, Georg Simmel (1858-1918) asked questions about the relationship between life in the metropolis and mental life. Observing that city life was being rapidly transformed into a different kind of social and technical arrangement that demanded different mental capacities from but also created a new type of individual. This metropolitan type, Simmel argued, ‘creates a protective organ for itself against the profound disruption with which the fluctuations and discontinuities of the external milieu threaten it.’ This protection, Simmel thought, created an intellectual disposition or habitus, we would call after Pierre Bourdieu, that was different from an emotional disposition that non-metropolitan life had demanded. The blasé disposition was both the condition and consequence of calculability, precision, and timeliness that characterised the metropolis. Although these traits produced a strange type, it also afforded new kinds of freedom. Although I will assume that all of this is quite well known, I will still refresh our memory and then proceed to ask similar questions about cyberspace and mental life. Simmel could never have imagined the emergence of cyberspace but his questions are as probing today as they were then. After discussing the kind of space that cyberspace is I will proceed to ask similar questions about the kinds of dispositions and habitus cyberspace has engendered and whether these types are supplant or supplement blasé and indifferent types and whether we can assume a fundamental distinction between emotional and intellectual outlooks in cyberspace, I will draw some examples from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Airbnb, Uber and other platforms such as Reddit, GitHub, and Wikipedia to consider whether cyberspace has become both the condition and consequence of a new type of individual in the twenty-first century.



Montag, 20.06.2016 (Der Vortrag findet in deutscher Sprache statt)

Dr. Ilker Atac, Universität Wien

Inside the Deportation Gap – Social Membership for Non-Deported Persons


The project “Inside the deportation gap – social membership for non-deported persons” studies the access to social rights of persons who have a deportation order yet who for various reasons cannot get deported. The main focus of the research is the production of social membership in local level public policy making, especially through the discretionary power of street-level bureaucrats.

(Picture by Gregor Buchhaus)




Montag, 27.06.2016

Das Kolloquium mit Kevin Robins fällt leider aus.



Montag, 04.07.2016

Think and Drink Kolloquium in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Center for Metropolitan Studies

Prof. Jordanna Matlon, American University, Washington D.C.

Racial Capitalism and the Crisis of Black Masculinity

Drawing on one year of participant observation fieldwork and interviews with men from Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire's informal sector from 2008 to 2009, I explore how unmarriageable men in urban Africa assert masculine identities in response to a failed work regime. I examine two groups of men: political propagandists (orators) for former President Laurent Gbagbo and mobile street vendors. Rejecting racialized colonial narratives that positioned salaried workers as "evolved," orators used anti-French rhetoric and ties to the political regime to pursue entrepreneurial identities. Vendors, positioned as illegitimate workers and non-citizens, asserted consumerist models of masculinity from global black popular culture. Entrepreneurialism and consumerism, the two paradigmatic neoliberal identities, became ways for these men to assert economic participation as alternatives to the producer-provider ideal. I employ "complicit masculinity" to examine how a relationship to capitalism mediates masculine identity for underemployed black men. Arguing that hegemony operates around producer-provider norms of masculinity and through tropes of blackness within a system of racial capitalism, I show how complicity underscores the reality of differential aspirational models for blacks in the context of severe un- and underemployment and the failure of the classic breadwinner model for black men globally.



Montag, 11.07.2016

Der Vortrag findet in deutscher Sprache statt. Presentation will be held in German language.

Dr. Moritz Rinn, Universität Duisburg-Essen

Das Machtfeld der Stadtentwicklungspolitik in Hamburg. Akteur_innen, Praktiken und Dynamiken von Konflikten um die Stadt für alle.

Stadtentwicklungspolitik ist konstitutiv umstritten. Zumindest lässt sich das für eine Stadt wie Hamburg feststellen. Hier haben konfrontative Auseinandersetzungen um politisch-administrative Praktiken der „Stadtentwicklung“ eine lange Geschichte. Durch diese Auseinandersetzungen hindurch transformieren sich politisch-administrative Rationalitäten und Strategien der Bearbeitung städtischer Krisen, Probleme und Konflikte, die Selbstverständnisse, Ziele und Vorgehensweisen städtischer sozialer Bewegungen, und auch die Orte und Gegenstände des Konflikts. Ausgangspunkt der Untersuchung, die ich in meinem Vortrag vorstellen möchte, ist die Verdichtung zahlreicher Konfliktlinien in den Auseinandersetzungen um ein „Recht auf Stadt“ im Hamburg der späten 2000er Jahren. Wie aber wurden diese Konflikte möglich? Zur Beantwortung dieser Frage schlage ich einen genealogischen und praxisanalytischen Zugang vor, mit dem ein dezentriertes und dynamisches Machtfeld der Stadtentwicklungspolitik rekonstruiert werden kann. Dessen Akteur_innen agieren auf der Grundlage je spezifisch situierten Wissens über die „gute Stadt“ und ihre Hervorbringung, sie bringen entsprechende Planungs- wie Konfliktpraktiken zum Einsatz und gehen kooperative wie konfrontative Beziehungen miteinander ein. Dabei wird deutlich: Die „Stadt für alle“ ist zwar gemeinsam geteilter normativer Bezugspunkt, doch wer dieses „alle“ ist, und wie diese Stadt hervorgebracht werden soll, bleibt umstritten.


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Wintersemester 15/16


Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Wintersemester 15/16 ist hier als pdf downloadbar.


Montag, 02.11.2015

Prof. Alan Mabin, University of Pretoria

Grounding Southern City Theory in Time and Place


In researching and writing change in three cities on three continents, I have confronted the question: what to make of ‘southern theory’ (Connell 2007) in relation to cities in the south as well as the north of the world? This paper presents debate on questions such as: what is ‘theory from the south’ or ‘urban theory beyond the west’ (to cite the titles of works from Comaroff and Comaroff 2011 and Edensor and Jayne 2012)?

Mindful of the possible dismissal of such theorizing as merely an ‘obsessive anxiety about latest fashions in Northern theory’ (eg Mbembe 2011), the intervention explores what there may be to gain, for consideration of the world of cities, from new realities and new ideas emerging ‘in the south’. Cautions can be sounded around the problem of models – from Chicago to LA, and then on to Miami, Atlanta and cases in the elsewheres of global urbanisms.

The notion of ‘the south’ or ‘cities of the south’ evokes in general a postcolonial turn in many social disciplines, and its possible intersection with critiques of political economy. One key proposition in current argument is that ‘cities of the south’ present a space of experimentation that prefigures the near future of the west (or north). The risk of wholesale adoption of such perspectives may be ‘a larger set of claims that tend to obscure even while claiming to clarify’ (Aravamudan 2012).

The paper asks, how those actively applying their minds to city futures in more collective senses may confront the question: what alternative urban policies and practices might flow from a ‘southern perspectives’?


Montag, 09.11.2015

Prof. Dorothee Brantz, Technische Universität Berlin

Bunkered Landscapes and the Search for Peace in Post-World War II Berlin

World War II was an urban war. Increasingly targeting civilians, this war inflicted tremendous physical destruction and human suffering on cities worldwide. This paper focuses on the history of air raid bunkers in Berlin to illustrate the linkages between war, ideology, and the urban environment. After twelve years of war, mass killing, and dictatorship, many cities lay in ruins. After such a experience of war, violence and devastation, how was it possible to return to a sense of peace? What role did urban environments, particularly bunkers and their afterlives, play in this search for peace? Focusing on air raid bunkers, this presentation examines how they were dealt with after the war and which challenges they posed to the reconstruction of the city. In particular, I look at the so-called rubble mountains that were created to get rid of the excessive amounts of rubble all over the city, but also to cover up former bunkers and other Nazi military installations. How were integrated into the postwar landscape of Berlin and what symbolic meaning did they hold for the historical commemoration of the NS regime and WW II? This presentation seeks to foster a critical debate about the conceptualization of war and peace as well as historical memory in urban areas and the role of the environment in it.


Montag, 16.11.2015

Filmscreening: Betongold. Wie die Finanzikrise in mein Wohnzimmer kam

mit anschließender Diskussion in Anwesenheit der Regisseurin Katrin Rothe

Vor sieben Jahren wurde die globale Finanzkrise von

faulen amerikanischen Immobilienkrediten ausgelöst. Jetzt droht die nächste Immobilienblase: In Europa investieren verunsicherte Anleger nicht mehr in Aktienfonds, sondern in Häuser und Wohnungen, in so genanntes Betongold. Beton gilt als krisensicher. Vor allem in den Großstädten ist die Nachfrage riesig, die Quadratmeterpreise für Wohnraum sind explodiert. Die Verlierer des Booms sind die Mieter. Sie werden systematisch aus den Innenstädten verdrängt. 

Wenn ein Haus in die Hände eines Investors fällt, heißt das für die Mieter Angst und Unsicherheit. Denn nur, wenn die Wohnungen leer sind, lassen sich aus ihnen lukrative Anlageobjekte machen. Im Briefkasten landen Abmahnungen, Kündigungen, Räumungsklagen. Zwar schützt das deutsche Mietrecht die Mieter, aber das Recht wird in der Realität immer weiter ausgehöhlt. 
Auch das Haus in Berlin-Mitte, in dem ich seit 16 Jahren zur Miete wohne, bekommt eines Tages einen neuen Besitzer. Es ist ein Investor, spezialisiert auf "einzigartige Wohnungsbauten in Toplagen" und "Wohnhäuser mit Entwicklungspotential". Bei meinen Recherchen stoße ich auf ein dubioses Firmengeflecht. Es ist eine neue Welt, mit der ich da konfrontiert werde, eine Welt voller Provokationen, Lügen und Briefterror. Aber versuchte Nötigung ist schwer nachweisbar. Der Investor erscheint zunehmend als übermächtiger Feind, dem wir, die einzelnen Mieter, hilflos ausgeliefert sind - trotz Rechtsberatung, trotz gültiger Mietverträge, trotz Kündigungsschutz. 
Mein Film erzählt, wie eine Mietergemeinschaft plötzlich in den Strudel des globalen Immobilienhypes gerät. Mit der Kamera habe ich unseren monatelangen Kampf gegen Einschüchterungen und Schikanen festgehalten. Was ich nicht gefilmt habe, zeige ich in Zeichentrickszenen. Zum Beispiel die Besichtigungstermine. 
Oft unterscheiden sich die Kaufinteressenten kaum von uns, den bisherigen Mietern. Auch sie gehören zur deutschen Mittelschicht, auch sie sind Getriebene der Finanzkrise, die versuchen, ihr Geld existenzsichernd anzulegen. Für Solidarität mit uns, den Mietern, bleibt da kein Platz. Den wenigsten Käufern dabei ist bewusst, dass sie, auch wenn sie die bewohnten Wohnungen "nur mal" besichtigen, schon Teil eines Systems aus Druck, Rendite und Verdrängung sind. 
Was wird aus unsren Städten? Noch ist Berlin durchmischt, noch ist Berlin eine Stadt der Mieter. 
Der Film thematisiert den schleichenden städtischen Umbau der Eigentumsverhältnisse. Und er zeigt auch die innere Zerrissenheit der Betroffenen, denen - wenn sie nur schnellstmöglich ausziehen - immer höhere Abfindungen angeboten werden. Doch was anfangen mit all dem Geld? Eine Wohnung anzahlen, Schulden machen? Selbst in Betongold investieren?
Für weitere Informationen:

Montag, 23.11.2015

Prof. Ronald van Kempen, Universiteit Utrecht

Inequality and Urban Diversity: Different Discourses or a Crucial Connection?

Inequality and social polarisation have been high on the (urban) research agendas for a long time. They can be seen as crucial aspects in the debate of globalisation and global cities. Recently the attention for inequality has drastically increased, for a large part due to the publication (and translation) of Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”. At the same time, and largely separated from the literature on income inequality, we can detect an increasing attention for the diversity of cities and neighbourhoods and for the lives people live there. This increased interest is partly a consequence of growing urban diversity in itself, for a large part as a consequence of inter­national (and partial national) migration, but is partly also due to the fact that diversity sometimes seems to come with problems, for example in the form of urban riots. In other cases, however, the (new?) diversity of urban areas is celebrated: the diverse, super-diverse or hyper-diverse cities and neigh­bourhoods are presented as places where people more or less happily live together. The research agendas on in equality and diversity are large and still expanding, but seem to be largely unconnected. To our opinion this is an unwanted situation. In this paper we will explore the ways in which this connection could be strengthened. To our opinion these connections are important, because ignoring the possibilities to combine research into inequality and urban diversity will lead to too general or even false conclusions and to policy failure.


Montag, 30.11.2015

Prof. Maria Kaika, The University of Manchester

The Biopolitics of Debt: From the Politics of Fear to the Poetics of Emancipation

Over the last decades, the popular promise for a better life was renewed not through increase in welfare spending, but through offering everyone easy access to credit. When Bush, Blair, Sarkozy, etc. promised better environment, education, housing, and health for all, the real promise was one of enabling everybody to become deeply indebted in order to purchase their future welfare credits. It was a promise which enrolled livelihoods, bodies, and the future labour of whole nations into global financial speculative mechanisms, and turned millions of people across the globe into Indebted Wo/men (Lazzarato 2007), a new bio-political subject whose future depends on the performance of global financial markets. The paper focuses on two movements (SOSte-to-nero and 136 IN Greece, and the PAH- Platform for Mortgage affected people in Spain) that questioned this process. The movements instituted radical gestures which took citizens outside the cadre of defining themselves as indebted subjects whose sole option is to sell their commons (home or water) to global speculators, and turned powerless indebted citizens into potentially powerful decision makers. This radical gesture opens up a politics against a pending 'anthropological catastrophe' of establishing the indebted wo/man as the inevitable anthropological category for financial capitalism.


Montag, 07.12.2015

Dr. Siarhei Liubimau, European Humanities University, Vilnius, Littauen

Urbanity from the angle of border

This talk will be based on several qualitative case studies of how changes of the EU border regime impact space uses in adjacent areas. I will go through the ways in which ‘urban’ is imagined and depicted in the EU border studies – from the locus, where new political cultures and identities are tested, to the showcase of constructivist theories of society. Further I will argue that if we ground changes of border regimes in urban scale specific projects, it can be informative for rethinking the very nature of urbanity among other forms of social life. At the end I will try to explain and justify the question, whether definitions of ‘urban’ will be different if given from perspectives of different sovereignty regimes.


Montag, 14.12.2015

Prof. Beverly Skeggs, Goldsmiths University of London

Experimenting with Personhood, Capital's New Lines of Flight

Capital as an abstract form does not require a particular form of personhood, or subjectivity. However, capitalists have a long history of developing, using and manipulating categories of different persons, to fulfill their own interests. Historically the shaping of personhood within capitalism – and its analysis—has been closely hinged to property relations. In England the moral, legal and proper subject was dependent upon proximity to ownership of different capacities, with a key difference drawn between those considered as property for exchange (labour, slavery) and those who were non-exchangeable and could own 'themselves' (eg the possessive individual of the Liberal social contract). With a quick trip through neo-liberal imperatives to propertise personhood I will show how these very significant institutionalised differences in the relationship between property and personhood are being refigured by Facebook, as it finds novel ways to monetize the person. I will draw on a recent ESRC research project (using software developed by Simon Yuill) on the relationship between values and value to demonstrate how this is happening.

Zwischen dem 21.12.2015 und 03.01.2016 sind Weihnachtsferien und es findet kein Think and Drink Kolloquium statt.


Montag, 04.01.2016

Dr. Janet Merkel, City University London

Collaborating Strangers

Shared and collaborative workspaces — so called co-working spaces — have proliferated in cities worldwide, particularly since the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Most of these spaces emerged as a bottom-up solution to the recession and structural changes in (creative) urban labour markets. As spaces of encounter, co-working spaces link together a diverse set of actors in co-presence who have to negotiate a shared space; and they organize interaction across different spaces, supporting networks of communication that potentially could enable economic, political, and social action across wider territories. But, co-working spaces point to a bigger and very old question in urban sociology: How can cultural differences become productive rather than just sustained?



Montag, 11.01.2016

Vom 'logistischen Blick' auf Globalisierung und Migration

Seit mehr als zwei Dekaden diskutieren wir Möglichkeiten und Schwierigkeiten einer empirischen Erforschung der Globalisierung, kritisieren den methodologischen Nationalismus vieler Ansätze und fragen uns nach dem angemessenen Zuschnitt eines Forschungsfeldes in Zeiten zunehmender "Konnektivität". Migration stellt dabei eine Art prädestiniertes Testfeld dar, weil Migrantinnen und Migranten als mobile, hybride und grenzüberschreitende Akteure dem Zuschnitt herkömmlicher Forschungsfelder und Perspektivierungen entgehen. Kann das zunehmende Interesse an Logistik in der humangeographischen, anthropologischen und kulturwissenschaftlichen Forschung uns in Hinblick auf unser Verständnis von globaler Migration attraktive Impulse geben?


Leider muss das Think and Drink heute aufgrund von Krankheit ausfallen. Due to sickness, Think and Drink Colloquium unfortuantely has to be cancelled.


Montag, 18.01.2016

Prof. Talja Blokland, Carlotta Giustozzi, Daniela Krüger und Hannah Schilling, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Book Presentation: Creating the Unequal City: The Exclusionary Consequences of Everyday Routines in Berlin

Cities can be seen as geographical imaginaries: places have meanings attributed so that they are perceived, represented and interpreted in a particular way. We may therefore speak of cityness rather than 'the city': the city is always in the making. It cannot be grasped as a fixed structure in which people find their lives, and is never stable, through agents designing courses of interactions with geographical imaginations. This theoretical perspective on cities is currently reshaping the field of urban studies, requiring new forms of theory, comparisons and methods. Meanwhile, mainstream urban studies approaches neighbourhoods as fixed social-spatial units, producing effects on groups of residents. Yet they have not convincingly shown empirically that the neighbourhood is an entity generating effects, rather than being the statistical aggregate where effects can be measured. This book challenges this common understanding, and argues for an approach that sees neighbourhood effects as the outcome of processes of marginalisation and exclusion that find spatial expressions in the city elsewhere. It does so through a comparative study of an unusual kind: Sub-Saharan Africans, second generation Turkish and Lebanese girls, and alcohol and drug consumers, some of them homeless, arguably some of the most disadvantaged categories in the German capital, Berlin, in inner city neighbourhoods, and middle class families in owner-occupied housing. This book analyses urban inequalities through the lens of the city in the making, where neighbourhood comes to play a role, at some times, in some practices, and at some moments, but is not the point of departure.



Montag, 25.01.2016

Prof. Marisol García, Universitat de Barcelona
Leider muss das Think and Drink heute wegen Krankheit ausfallen. Due to sickness, Think and Drink Colloquium unfortunately has to be cancelled.

Montag, 01.02.2016 findet kein Think and Drink Kolloquium statt



Montag, 08.02.2016

Dr. Astrid Ouahyb Sundsbø, Universitetet i Bergen, Norwegen

"Good" parenting = happy children: State-based parental guidance programmes in Norway

As a result of ongoing global, economic, social, cultural and political processes, new parenting norms, ideologies and practices are emerging. Migration 
and increased class differences bring along differentiations in access to resources and highlight the co-existence of different ideas of parenting in the same place. 
This lecture presents preliminary findings from an ongoing research project with a focus on Norwegian governmental initiatives seeking to train/”empow
er” parents with scarce (socioeconomic and/or cultural) resources. It presents an overview of different initiatives seeking to “strengthen parental competencies” to be found in the borough of Årstad in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city. Årstad, which can be considered as a micro-cosmos of the (increasingly) multicultural N
orwegian society, is characterized by a diverse composition of residents with different life styles and different sets of economic, social and cultural resources. 
The main focus will be directed at the aims of the governmental initiatives and the (political and) normative grounds they are founded upon. Towards the end of the lecture, two possible interpretations will be discussed: The parental guidance initiatives as an expression of a) continuity of a traditionally strong Norwegian welfare state engagement, or b) discontinuity of this tradition expressed through stressing parental responsibility, thus suggesting a weakening of collective responsibility.


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Sommersemester 15


Montag, 13.04.2015

Dr. Ousmane Dembélé, University of Abidjan (Ivory Coast)

in collaboration with Hannah Schilling, PhD candidate in Sociology, HU Berlin

“Là où la vie vous attend, c’est dans ce que vous n’avez pas préparé” (Wisdom Senufo, Cote d’Ivoire)* - Youth’s fabric of a future in today’s Abidjan, West-African metropolis

Young people have difficulties to find their place in contemporary societies, in the Global North as in the Global South. Being enthusiastic and faithful in the society isn’t easy any more.

Rather, young people live with the perspective that they won’t find work, and experience the limits of governmental politics to suggest a social project to secure their wellbeing. Hence, they easily feel useless in a society that seems to be in a crisis of sense. This all together nourishes a spirit of faithlessness and insecurity about the future of young generations, among adult as well as young urban residents.

We will present the current research on the question of youth in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in particular and in the countries of the Global South in general. Here, we start from the actors’ pragmatic intelligence in their concrete situation. More precisely, we won’t tackle the question in normative terms, by asking what should have been done, or what hasn’t been done. Rather, we start from the living reality of young urbanites in Abidjan and their understanding of their context, including the barriers and resources in their environment. This allows for another analytical perspective without any prediction or a priori, which embeds the question in the continuity of trans-generational justice.

We will discover the current and past identities, forms and fabrics, as they have been elaborated by the young urbanites and the local social systems. Hence, the updating and elaboration of a perspective of a society of the possible will be at the heart of the presentation. A society as it is fabricated day to day when actors are confronted with the urgency to conceive a present and to design a future in their everyday life.

* Own translation: What you must expect from life is what you didn’t plan.

Die Veranstaltung am 13.04.2015 wird im Rahmen der Strategischen Initiativförderung durch die Stabsstelle Internationalisierung der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin finanziert.



Montag, 20.04.2015

Filmscreening Welcome, Goodbye
(N. Rebhan 2014)

präsentiert von der Forschungsinitiative "Touristifizierung / New Urban Mobilities" des Georg-Simmel-Zentrums für Metropolenforschung der HU Berlin.

Filmvorführung Welcome Goodbye mit anschließender Diskussion mit der Regisseurin Nana Rebhan
Moderation: Natalie Stors, Christoph Sommer & Nils Grube
with english subtitles!

Zum Film:
Der Dokumentarfilm WELCOME GOODBYE beschäftigt sich mit dem Phänomen des rasant wachsenden Tourismus in Berlin und dessen positiven wie negativen Folgen. Ob enthusiastische Taiwanesinnen, die ganz Europa in nur acht Tagen scannen, ein mexikanischer Filmemacher, der unbedingt einen Kurzfilm während seines kurzen Aufenthalts realisieren möchte, oder ein holländischer Schriftsteller, der einen Roman über Berlin schreibt: sie alle und noch ein paar mehr wollen ihr ganz eigenes Berlin entdecken.
Sowohl die Touristen als auch die Zuschauer selbst werden von einem Berliner namens Christian durch den Film begleitet. Es entsteht ein Spannungsfeld aus den persönlichen Erlebnissen der Reisenden verschiedener Nationen und Kulturen und Interviewblöcken, in denen u.a. Politiker, Tourismusmanager, Metropolenforscher und Berliner Bürger zu Wort kommen.Gentrifizierungsphobien, Touristenfeindlichkeit, Existenzängste – WELCOME GOODBYE versucht die momentan vorherrschenden gesellschaftlichen Stimmungen einzufangen und zu dokumentieren und geht dabei der Frage nach: Wem gehört Berlin?

The documentary WELCOME GOODBYE focuses on the subject of the rapidly growing tourism in Berlin and all the good and bad that comes with it.

Enthustiastic Taiwanese girls scanning the whole of Europe within 8 days, a Mexican filmmaker who is determined to shoot a short film during his 2 day stay or a Dutch writer working on his Berlin novel - they all and millions more want to discover their own version of Berlin.

Both tourists and audience are accompanied by Christian, a Berliner, through the film.

The very personal experiences of travellers from various countries and cultures are contrasted with interviews, featuring politicians, tourism managers, urban researchers and Berlin citizens.

Fear of gentrification, animosities towards tourists, existential dreads - WELCOME GOODBYE seeks to capture the currently prevailing moods in the soul of the city and follows the question: who owns Berlin?


Montag, 27.04.2015

der Vortrag von Prof. Frances Fox Piven von der CUNY muss leider aus privaten Gründen entfallen


es trägt dafür vor:

Prof. Dr. Talja Blokland, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


2015 Winners

The BSA and SAGE are very pleased to announce this year's winners of the journals SAGE Prize for Innovation and/or Excellence: 

 "Social Mix Revisited: Neighbourhood Institutions as Setting for Boundary Work and Social Capital"


by Julia Nast & Talja Blokland
Policy makers tend to think that residential ‘mixing’ of classes and ethnic groups will enhance social capital. Scholars criticize such ‘mixing’ on empirical and theoretical grounds. This article argues that the critics may focus too much on neighbourhoods. Mixing within neighbourhood institutions might work differently, we argue, drawing on data from a mixed school in Berlin, Germany. While class boundaries are constructed, we also find class-crossing identifications based on setting-specific characteristics, highlighting the setting’s importance and the agency of lower/working and middle-class parents. Parents create ties for exchanging setting-specific resources: child-related social capital. Institutional neighbourhood settings can hence be important for boundary work and social capital. Criticism of social capital and social mix should not overlook the role of networks for urban inequality.

Montag, 04.05.2015

Kiev and Vegas: Film Screening and Talk with Łukasz Konopa

As visual methodologies become increasingly popular among urban researchers, we have devoted a number of Think&Drink sessions to screenings of films that tackle urban issues ranging from evictions through urban activism to large-scale construction projects. In the upcoming T&D film session, the documentary filmmaker and sociologist Łukasz Konopa will present two of his recent films and talk about the visual styles he applies in his work. We will start with an excerpt from Łukasz’s documentary on urban transformations in postsocialist cities (with focus on Kiev) and next watch his short film on everyday practices in crisis-ridden Las Vegas. We will then discuss how different visual languages can be used to approach complex social phenomena and processes and address the workings of visibility and visuality in urban contexts.

Łukasz Konopa graduated from the National Film and Television School in the UK (MA Documentary Direction) and University of Warsaw (MA Sociology). His films have played at numerous festivals around the world, such as, Hot Docs, Clermont-Ferrand, Camerimage, SXSW. In 2013, his short AFTER was awarded Best Documentary by CILECT, the association of the world’s major film and television schools; in 2014 he was selected as a Berlinale Talent. He’s made short films for the Guardian, TVP1 (Polish Television), and BREAKING THE NEWS at the Berlin Art Biennale. He also worked as an edit director on Russian filmmaker Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s already legendary (and still uncompleted) second feature DAU.



Montag, 11.05.2015

Dr. Matthias Bernt, Leibniz Institut für Regionalentwicklung und Strukturplanung

Shrinkage, financialisation and welfare-cuts – the linkages in Halle-Neustadt


Using a mix of survey data, results from a study on local planning politics and fieldwork, the presentation discusses the interplay of planning and welfare policies with global financial markets in the “making” of social segregation in Halle-Neustadt, a shrinking New Town in Eastern Germany.

Here, different developments come together. First, Neustadt has experienced dramatic population loss in the last two decades. These brought about large-scale demolition programmes, as well as planning policies which aim to transform parts of the neighbourhood into green space. Second, Neustadt has experienced two waves of privatisation in the last two decades, leading to a complete change of ownership structures. Municipal and cooperative owners have been largely displaced by national and international financial investors which hold their stock as an asset and aim for short-term gains, rather than long-term development. Third, cuts regarding the “reimbursement of housing costs” (“Kosten der Unterkunft”) have put more pressure on welfare recipients to live in the cheapest housing available on the local market and have led to a “business-model” based on low, but state-subsidized, rents in peripheral estates. Together, these developments have brought about an increased impoverishment of an already difficult neighbourhood and fostered processes of socio-spatial polarization.


Montag, 18.05.2015

Prof. Florian Urban,

History of Architecture and Urban Studies (HAUS)
Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art


The New Tenement


The project analyses New Tenements, that is, high-density, multi-storey urban residences that have been erected since the 1970s, often (but not always) following models from the nineteenth century. It concentrates on five sample cities, Berlin, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Rotterdam and Vienna.

New Tenements are being analysed as the architecture of the “return to the city” – that is, the symbolic reversal of suburbanisation and the inception of a new discourse that connects inner-city residency with civic liberties, public life, cultural innovation, democratic governance, and social justice. Taking a critical perspective on architecture as a significant factor in this process, the project maps the “return to the city” in terms of historic origins, evolution, design, and local differences.

The project started in May 2014 and is financed by a two-year grant by the Leverhulme Trust. The presentation will be a report on a work in progress. The author is currently a visiting scholar at the Centre for Metropolitan Studies, Berlin Technical Unversity.


Florian Urban is Professor and Head of History of Architectural/Urban Studies at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts in Berlin, an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA and a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Architecture from MIT. He research on the post-1970 period in East Germany led to the publication of his books Neo-historical East Berlin – Architecture and Urban Design in the German Democratic Republic 1970-1990 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009). He is also the author of Tower and Slab – Histories of Global Mass Housing (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012).




Montag, 01.06.2015


Christian Schmid, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich

Planetary Urbanization: Towards a new epistemology of the urban?

New forms of urbanization are unfolding around the world challenging inherited conceptions of the urban as a fixed, bounded and universally generalizable settlement type. The field of urban studies has produced a vast array of images, models and maps of urban conditions in the modern world, most of which presuppose the boundedness, distinctiveness and coherence of “urban” units relative to a purportedly “non-urban” realm said to be located outside or beyond it. However, throughout the history of capitalism, the process of urbanization has relentlessly blurred the urban/non-urban divide, generating new constellations of large-scale sociospatial connectivity, intensified land-use, and socio-metabolic transformation.

This talk will report on the ongoing collaborative work with Neil Brenner on planetary urbanization. Building upon reflexive approaches to critical social theory and our own research on planetary urbanization, we argue for a radical rethinking of inherited epistemological assumptions regarding the urban and urbanization. In this conceptualization, the emphasis on urban settlement types is superseded by an investigation of variegated urbanization processes. Our arguments are intended to ignite and advance further debate on the epistemological foundations for critical urban theory and practice today. 


Montag, 08.06.2015

Linda McDowell, School of Geography, University of Oxford

Moving stories: gender, transnational migration and writing a new economic geography?

In this talk, I want to explore the significance of the coincidence of rising rates of in-migration to the UK and the transformation of the labour market into one dominated by polarised service sector employment. Women are increasingly significant in both migrant flows and as new entrants to the labour market and yet they seldom figure in the dominant theories of economic change by geographers and others. I will look at challenges to dominant explanations of labour market change, as well as raise questions about methods, and illustrate the arguments with oral narratives about the working lives of women migrants.




Montag, 15.06.2015

Dr. Christine Barwick, SciencesPo Paris

Upward mobility and neighborhood choice: Turkish-Germans in Berlin

Cities all over the world are increasingly becoming super diverse, due to immigration. Studies on urban change, however, mostly focus on white middle classes and disregard ethnic minorities as actors in the processes of urban change. I will move beyond this limitation by analyzing upward mobility, residential choice and its consequences of Turkish-Germans in Berlin. Particularly, I will focus on the Turkish-Germans access to and provision of resources. We will see that daily practices and networks are as, if not more, important for the flow of resources as the place of residence. Through providing and accessing resources, the Turkish-Germans do not only connect neighborhoods of different socioeconomic statuses, but also connect to people with diverse social and ethnic backgrounds. Upwardly mobile ethnic minorities may thus be brokers for social and ethnic mix, which emerges, however, not primarily by sharing the same neighborhood, but through daily practices and networks.



Montag, 22.06.2015

Prof. Costis Hadjimichalis,

Department of Geography, Harokopio University Athens

Debt Crisis and Land Dispossession in Greece as part of the global “land fever”

The exploitation of land, but also of natural elements linked to it ―such as water, forests, landscape, the subsurface and biodiversity― nowadays comprise investment targets for local and international speculative capital at some unprecedented extent, intensity and geographical spread. From 2009 on, Greece became a target country due to the current debt crisis which has decisively contributed to the devalorization/depreciation of the exchange value of land, decreasing monetary values by 15-30%―depending on the area―when compared to the 2005 prices. The special legal status imposed by the Troika as of 2010, forms a lucrative environment for speculators-investors, dramatically altering the legal, constitutional order and imposing something of a semi-protectorate status upon the country. This short presentation, based on author’s book, explains how the debt crisis in Greece made public land via privatizations and fire sales a major target for dispossession by global and local capital.

Costis Hadjimichalis is professor Emeritus of Economic Geography and Regional Development at the Department of Geography, Harokopio University Athens. He had previous post at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and was visiting professor at Roskilde University (Denmark), UCLA, Berkely (USA), Oslo (Norway), NIRSA (Ireland), Macquire University (Australia) and Università deggli studi di Padova (Italy). His research concerns uneven geographical development and socio-spatial justice in the Eurozone, the social and spatial effects of economic crisis in Southern Europe, the role of small firms in local development and a radical interpretation of landscapes as part of everyday life. He is section editor for Regional Development in the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Elsevier), managing editor of Geographies (a Greek journal) and member of editorial board in several other international journals. His recent books (all in Greek) include: Contemporary Greek Landscapes (editor, 2011), Athens: Melissa, Space in Radical Thinking (co-authored with D. Vaiou, 2012), Athens: Nissos/N. Poulantzas Institute, Debt Crisis and Land Dispossession, Athens: ΚΨΜ Publishers (2014) and Crisis Spaces: Austerity, Resistance and Solidarity in the European South, London: Routledge (forthcoming, 2016).


Montag, 29.06.2015

Prof. Les Back,

Goldsmiths, University of London

The Migrant City: Living in a World of Divided Connectedness

In this lecture Les Back talks about a new ethnography he is completing with Shamser Sinha. The book is the story of London as seen through the eyes of thirty adult migrants. It documents their experience through a dialogic or sociable sociology in which the participants are also becoming authors.  The lecturer explores how the social divisions and hierarchies of belonging are emerging which damage the experience of time and a sense of a liveable life.  It also looks a the ways in which young migrants from all over the work make a inhospitable city habitable and re-make the terms of conviviality as a result.








Montag, 06.07.2015

Prof. Gabriel Feltran,

Center for Metropolitain Studies, Sao Paulo

Crime Policies and State Policies in Sao Paulo: About Social Conflict in Urban Brazil

Brazilian biggest metropolis is currently undergoing a major transformation largely due to the economic development Brazil has experienced over the last decade. On the one hand, unemployment rates of the “new global player” reached the lowest level in history in 2013, less than 4%; on the other hand, such a scenario expresses renewed levels of social conflict, increasing criminal violence and incarceration. Based on ethnographic fieldwork which has been conducted since 2005 in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, the exposition presents a panorama of transformations in poor Brazilian neighborhoods and favelas from the 1970's until today. This overview gives empirical ground for a reflection on Brazilian development and its margins, focusing on both social conflict and social legitimacy that nowadays emerges from coexistent normative regimes as “crime”, or the “criminal world”, and state policies in urban outskirts.


Montag, 13.07.2015

Prof. Andrew Cumbers,

Professor of Urban and Regional Political Economy, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow

currently on a ‘DAAD Research Stay’ at  the Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning (IRS)

Reclaiming Public Ownership: Making Space for Economic Democracy

The twentieth century was dominated by two contrasting utopias: one, a vision of centralised state ownership that could overthrow capitalism and deliver the fruits of their labour to the masses; and the other, Hayek’s market-driven nirvana of individualism, democracy and freedom underpinned by private ownership. Ultimately, both visions ushered in centralising dystopias in the form totalitarian command economies in the former socialist countries and a corporate driven elite project of globalisation and privatisation.

As the twenty first century unfolds - with a financial crisis, economic recession and reheated neoliberal regime of fiscal austerity - there is an urgent need for a more democratic, egalitarian and participatory political economy that reclaims the public realm from its appropriation by elite interests. Yet, whilst private ownership is largely discredited, so too are older models of public ownership.

In this talk, I argue that a revitalised model of decentred and diverse public ownership is essential to this task.[*] I set out a series of principles for rethinking public ownership and consider recent examples that hold the promise of democratising the economy.


[*] Argued for at greater length in a recent book (Cumbers A 2012 Reclaiming Public Ownership: Making Space for Economic Democracy, Zed).


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Wintersemester 14/15


Montag, 20.10.2014:

Dr. Ayona Datta, University of Leeds

Violence of/in the Home: Gender and law in a Delhi squatter settlement

This talk explores the violence of law in the squatter home deemed as ‘illegal’ and waiting for demolition by the state. This is set in the context of a series of court rulings in India since 2000, which criminalised squatters and labelled them as ‘pickpockets’ of urban land, as ‘illegal citizens’ and hence subject to demolition of their homes. Based on over 80 interviews with men and women in a Delhi squatter settlement, this paper examines how anxieties over the material annihilation of this home produces the corporeality and performance of gender and sexuality within the home. This paper explores how a state based violence of law is related to the violence in the squatter home, how sexual and intimate relationships within the family are shaped by the founding and maintaining violence of law and how encounters with law in the public realm transform notions of intimacy and justice within the squatter home. This paper concludes that as the rule of law marginalises and criminalises squatters within the urban public realm, the use of law is rejected within the home to assert the moral authority of the family over ‘unruly’ bodies and their transgressions across the boundaries of home. Violence over gendered bodies then is normalised as a mundane aspect of everyday family life, while affective justice form the only ways to subvert forms of power and demand equity in gender relationships within the home.


Montag, 27.10.2014: kein Think & Drink


Montag, 03.11.2014:

Dr. Peer Smets, University of Amsterdam

Insight in practices of horizontal-organized communities and their cooperation with stakeholders in Amsterdam East

In the Netherlands, the do-it-yourself culture of citizens is mushrooming, but requires cooperation with stakeholders, such as the local government, housing corporations, and welfare organizations. Such cooperation is accompanied by frictions between local and professional knowledge, different organization cultures and policy approaches (e.g. process approach versus working towards SMART defined expected results). To illustrate how stakeholders cope with these differences, examples from a 19th century neighbourhood will be used. These case studies show that apart from paternalism of the government, and compartmentalization of policies and budgets at the urban district, also differences between stakeholders and their approaches often harm mutual cooperation.




Montag, 10.11.2014:

Prof. Dr. Sybille Frank, Technische Universität Berlin

Der Mauer um die Wette gedenken: Heritage-Industrie und Authentizität am Berliner Checkpoint Charlie

Der Fall der Berliner Mauer ließ den Checkpoint Charlie, Berlins weltberühmten innerstädtischen Alliierten-Kontrollpunkt, über Nacht obsolet werden. 1990 wurden die Grenzanlagen feierlich demontiert, und zwei Jahre später verkaufte der Berliner Senat die Grundstücksflächen an eine internationale Investmentgesellschaft. Doch ging der Investor 2003 in die Insolvenz und der frühere Alliierten-Kontrollpunkt in den Besitz einer privaten Bankaktiengesellschaft über. Aufgrund der verstärkten touristischen Nachfrage nach Zeugnissen der Berliner Mauer und angesichts mangelnder adäquater öffentlicher Erinnerungsangebote an die Phase der Teilung der Stadt wurde der frühere Kontrollpunkt in den letzten Jahren von verschiedenen öffentlichen und privaten Erinnerungsanbietern in spektakulären, miteinander konkurrierenden Einzel-Aktionen teilweise rekonstruiert. Der Vortrag zeichnet an seinem Beispiel die Entstehung einer spezifisch Berliner Heritage-Industrie abseits geregelter Verfahren nach. Er stellt deren wichtigste AkteurInnen vor und zeigt, wie der öffentliche Kampf um das ‚richtige‘ Konzept von Authentizität schließlich die gesamte Gedenklandschaft an die Berliner Mauer revolutionierte.


Montag, 17.11.2014:

Prof. Dr. Michael Storper,
University of California (UCLA), Sciences Po (Paris)

The Nature of Cities:  Urban Theory Today


There has been a growing debate in recent decades about the range and substance of
urban theory. The debate has been marked by many different claims about the nature of cities, including declarations that the urban is an incoherent concept, that urban society is nothing less than modern society as a whole, that the urban scale can no longer be separated from the global scale, and that urban theory hitherto has been deeply vitiated by its almost exclusive concentration on the cities of the global North. We argue against these perspectives.
Instead, we believe that all cities can be understood in terms of
a theoretical framework that combines two main processes, namely, the dynamics of
agglomeration/polarization, and the unfolding of an associated nexus of locations, land
uses and human interactions. The discussion thus identifies the common dimensions of all cities without, on the one hand, exaggerating the scope of urban theory, or on the other hand, asserting that every individual city is an irreducible special case.


Montag, 24.11.2014:

Film-Night (presented by Urszula Wozniak)

Istanbul in the Aftermath of Gezi

In this seminar, we will look at recent film depictions of urban
transformations in Istanbul before and after last year’s Gezi Park
protests. Urszula Wozniak will present a selection of clips from several
documentaries and discuss how "urban renewal" projects reshape Istanbul's
landscapes, as well as the lives of Istanbul residents. This unique film
collage will provide an outlook on the everyday political struggles of
post-Gezi Istanbul with focus on housing rights, environmentalism, and
work security.

Urszula Wozniak is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Sociology at
Humboldt University Berlin. Her PhD research investigates the un/doing of
differences in two diverse historical Istanbul neighborhoods: Tophane and


Montag, 01.12.2014:

Prof. Dr. Fulong Wu, University College London

State entrepreneurialism in urban China: a critique of the neoliberal city

This talk will reflect on the thesis of the neoliberal city in the Chinese context and argues that although the concept of neoliberalization captures the nature of market-orientation in the post-reform China, the notion of “the neoliberal city” does not pay sufficient attention to actors and agencies in this process. Here, the state, in particularly local state carders, is a major operator of land-centered market development. The talk reviews the historical origin of market transition in China and sees it as a response to a series of economic, social and political challenges at the end of state socialism. Then, the instrument of market has been selected as a “spatial fix” to combat these challenges. This mission involved a wide range of market reform initiatives. We argue that these initiatives require more state involvement rather than less, because this is a complex project. The state intervention is not a roll-out action to remedy the market defect, but rather using its dominant position to expand capital accumulation and achieve the political career of local leaders under the mechanism of elite selection and promotion. Therefore, state entrepreneurialism is similar to urban entrepreneurialism is the sense that both recognize boosterism practices but the former emphasizes the state rather than the city as the actor.


Fulong Wu is Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London. His research includes China’s urban development and planning and its social and sustainable challenges. He has recently completed a book Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China (Routledge 2015). He is co-editor of Restructuring the Chinese City (Routledge, 2005), Marginalization in China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), International Perspectives on Suburbanization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and Rural Migrants in Urban China (Routledge, 2013), editor of Globalization and the Chinese City (Routledge, 2006), China’s Emerging Cities (Routledge, 2007), and co-author of Urban Development in Post-Reform China: State, Market, and Space (Routledge, 2007), and China’s Urban Poverty (Edward Elgar, 2010).


Montag, 08.12.2014:

Prof. Dr. Mario L. Small, Harvard University

Urban Ghettoes: Are Some Cities More Punishing than Others?


By the end of the 20th century, the dominant theories of urban poverty argued that U.S. ghettoes had become isolated areas devoid of everyday institutions and disconnected from mainstream society.  I examine whether the conventional models have underestimated the extent of heterogeneity across U.S. ghettoes and its consequences for the everyday experiences of those who live in them.  I argue for alternative perspectives on poverty, concentration, and space.




Montag, 15.12.2014:

Dr. Alberta Andreotti, University of Milano-Bicocca

Globalised Minds, Roots in the city. Upper middle classes in European cities

How are European societies and cities changing in relation to globalisation? Individuals and groups are certainly becoming more mobile across the globe: migrants and expatriates constitute a significantly visible group of the population, and transnational practices seem to be increasingly present in citizens’ everyday practices. Nevertheless, although those processes make sense for Western European cities, they do not seem to have radically altered the structure and patterns of use of public services, the social interactions, mobility practices, or the residential strategies of European upper-middle classes. For instance, despite the European Commission's efforts to relentlessly promote the free movement of European citizens as part of the single market for capital, goods, services and people, the statistics keep showing that Europeans do not move that much: only 1.5 to 2% of Europeans from the EU-15 countries move each year to another country, a relatively low (and slowly increasing) figure over time.

This book investigates the role of urban upper-middle classes in the transformations experienced by contemporary European societies, and it links the analysis to debates on the emergence of a transnational bourgeoisie. Three main questions structure this analysis:

·                    The rise of transnational mobilities and/or transactions may produce social differentiation processes and play a role in re-structuring the social order and social hierarchies within national societies, creating new inequalities. Is a new European managerial class in the making in the European metropolis in relation to European/global processes? Do transnationalisation processes transform national social orders and hierarchies?

·                    Do upper middle classes become barbarians in the cities they inhabit? Do they pursue secession and privatisation strategies? Do they abandon public spaces and avoid interactions with other social and ethnic groups? Do they congregate in upper middle class enclaves?

·                    Can we find a strata of upper or middle classes in European cities who take particular advantage of mobility to put into practice strategies of “exit” or “partial exit” with respect to their nation state? Is there a pattern of growing social differentiation emerging?



Montag, 05.01.2015:

Neujahrs Think and Drink mit Film: Mietrebellen
Dokumentation von Getrud Schulte Westenberg und Matthias Coers



In den letzten Jahren hat sich die Hauptstadt rasant verändert. Wohnungen, die lange als unattraktiv galten, werden von Anlegern als sichere Geldanlagen genutzt. Massenhafte Umwandlungen in Eigentumswohnungen und Mietsteigerungen in bisher unbekanntem Ausmaß werden alltäglich. Die sichtbaren Mieterproteste in der schillernden Metropole Berlin sind eine Reaktion auf die zunehmend mangelhafte Versorgung mit bezahlbarem Wohnraum. 

Der Film ist ein Kaleidoskop der Mieterkämpfe in Berlin gegen die Verdrängung aus den nachbarschaftlichen Lebenszusammenhängen. Eine Besetzung des Berliner Rathauses, das Camp am Kottbusser Tor, der organisierte Widerstand gegen Zwangsräumungen und der Kampf von Rentnern um ihre altersgerechten Wohnungen und eine Freizeitstätte symbolisieren den neuen Aufbruch der urbanen Protestbewegung.

D 2014 | 78 min. | OmeU


Montag, 12.01.2015:

Prof. Dr. Mike Savage, London School of Economics and Political Science

Animating the Urban Vortex: new sociological urgencies


The current era of global urbanization is marked by a convergence of economic and political crises. This paper enters the current rethinking of the urban sparked off by Brenner (2013), and Scott and Storper (2013), and argues for a renewed sociological approach to the formation of the city that probes beyond the political economies of urban ‘de-territorialization’, towards urban ‘re-territorialization’. We emphasize that without a scrutiny of the animate forms of social, political and cultural organization that enlivens the city, the analysis of urban centrality is reduced to broad structural phenomena, disengaged from the urgencies of our time. We pursue a theory of the ‘urban vortex’ to capture the maelstrom of disorienting and reorienting urban crises, expanding on sociological perspectives of the city to explicate the constructed, materialized and practised presence of accumulation, power and transgression. We introduce arguments about the intersections between urban culture, power and politics as paramount to understanding global urbanization. Our paper is a provocation that lays out six issues of urban analysis – authority; civility; technology; hyper-diversity; disparity; stratification - re-instating the need to theorize the centrality of the city as a means of comprehending the condition of urban crises and the crisis of urban definition.


Montag, 19.01.2015:

Prof. Dr. Sophie Watson, The Open University (UK)

Ambivalent Affect/Emotion: Conflicted Discourses of Multicultural Belonging.

Where emotions have emerged in discussions of race/ethnicity, multiculturalism and the city they invariably tend to be of a particular hue – negative in the form of an exploration of racism . There has been a particular focus on attachments and detachments to place, on the part of migrants, and on the emotional responses of ‘indigenous’ communities or residents to the ‘strangers’ in their midst.  But very little research has considered the reaction of migrants to other migrants - even those belonging to the same ethnic group. How to interpret and explain those difficult and troubling moments of daily feeling that migrants sometimes express towards what they themselves see as the less palatable residues of contemporary multiculture? What power relations do these negative emotional responses of migrant groups to the material practices of other (or indeed, the same) migrant groups reflect, reinforce or undermine? This paper considers these questions in the context of an outer London suburb.


Montag, 24.01.2015:

Prof. Dr. Sabine Hess, University of Göttingen


Stadt ist Migration?! Lehren eines forschenden Ausstellungsprojekts


Montag, 02.02.2015:

Dr. Lars Meier, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt und Berufsforschung

Nostalgic narratives and optimistic representations. Social and urban transformations


My presentation analyses the relationship between industrial workers' nostalgic memories and optimistic official representations of a transformed industrial landscape. This is based on a analysis of biographic interviews and official texts in Nuremberg. Herby the relevance of class in a transformed urban setting is carved out.




Montag, 09.02.2015:

Prof. Dr. Susanne Heeg, Goethe University Frankfurt a.M.

The power of figures: calculative practices in the real estate industry


The presentation examines the role and importance of calculative practices in the process of establishing a global property market. It is argued that these practices have contributed to the transformation of the property market into a calculable relation which makes it possible to perceive and assess the real estate market and its objects internationally. Comparability – which includes the transformation of social, political and economic conditions into numbers – has created the context in which investment decisions take place because they suggest transparency and calculability. These practices are created and shared in a network of global real estate professionals and go along with strategies of territorializing and delineating markets.



Sommersemester 14


Montag, 28.04.2014: Prof. Dr. Roger Keil, University of York

Sub/Urbanism: Integrating Recent Trends in Urban Theory

This  presentation engages urban theory through

a discussion of real existing suburbanization. Urbanization, long been imagined as a concentric expansion of centrality (of space, functions, economies), is undergoing an explosive inversion at the present time. This has been picked up in a variety of recent debates in urban theory. In the traditional narrative, making the city more central and making the world more urban went hand in hand. Lefebvre’s Urban Revolution has famously depicted the process as a linear evolution from 0 to 100 percent. Chicago School centricity and L.A. School postmetropolitanism have set the stage for a continuing conversation. Oringinally US-centric, this debate has recently been resituated in wider concerns for new geographies of urban theory and ‘planetary’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘postcolonial’ configurations (to mention a few of the better known debates). This presentation originates in these discursive interventions but adds that global urbanization today is actually global suburbanization. We now see the making of new processes of urbanization springing from the margins and peripheries which defy the traditional dependencies of outsides from insides, suburbs from cities, and which test our everyday and theoretical understanding of the dialectic of the urban process.


Montag, 12.05.2014: Prof. Mathew Gandy, University College London

Zoöpolis redux: rethinking urban political ecology

This presentation will revisit the origins of the term “zoöpolis” as part of an emerging interest in the independent agency of nature.  The early debate surrounding the term, initiated by the geographer Jennifer Wolch, forms part of a wider set of developments associated with the development of urban political ecology.  Uncertainty remains, however, over the analytical scope of contemporary ecology in relation to the specific cultural, historical and material dimensions of urbanization.  As a consequence the emerging tension between urban ecology, as a branch of the biological sciences, and urban political ecology, as a development within critical social science, is a pivotal analytical challenge for the concept of zoöpolis.

Matthew Gandy is Professor of Geography at University College London (UCL) and was Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory from 2005-11. His books include Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (MIT Press, 2002), The Acoustic City (jovis, 2014, co-editor), and The Fabric of Space: Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination (MIT Press, 2014), along with essays in Architectural Design, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, New Left Review, Society and Space, and many other journals.  He is currently a senior research fellow of the Gerda Henkel Foundation at the UdK, Berlin.

For more informations about Prof. Gandy:


Montag, 19.05.2014: Podiumsdiskussion geleitet von Dr. Henrik Lebuhn, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Partizipative Stadtpolitik in Berlin zwischen Beteiligung und Bewegung

Instrumente der partizipativen Stadtpolitik spielen in Berlin eine wichtige Rolle. Bürgerentscheide, Bürgerhaushalte, Runde Tische und partizipative Planungsverfahren erlauben es den BerlinerInnen, sich unmittelbar an stadtpolitischen und stadtplanerischen Prozessen zu beteiligen. Doch während Beteiligungsverfahren einerseits als demokratische und unverzichtbare Errungenschaften der städtischen sozialen Bewegungen der 1970er und 1980er Jahre gelten, werden sie andererseits oft als Kooptionspolitiken und als gouvernementale Regierungsstrategien kritisiert. Gerade BürgerInneninitiativen und soziale Bewegungen schätzen die lokalen Beteiligungsmöglichkeiten durchaus als ambivalent ein: zwischen substantieller Demokratisierung einerseits und der Einhegung von Konflikten andererseits. Wir laden ein zur Podiumsdiskussion über Partizipative Stadtpolitik in Berlin und die Herausforderungen zukünftiger Stadtentwicklungspolitik. Es referieren und diskutieren: Prof. Mathias Heyden (TU Berlin), Susanne Walz (L.I.S.T.), sowie ReferentInnen vom International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA) und von Andere Zustände Ermöglichen (AZE). Eine Veranstaltung in Kooperation mit dem Projektseminar 'Partizipative Stadtpolitik'.


Montag, 26.05.2014: Dr. Austin Zeiderman, London School of Economics

Submergence: Fluid Futures in Colombia’s Presumptive Port-City


This talk examines future imaginaries in the rapidly expanding port-city of Buenaventura on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, and the territorial conflicts they engender. These conflicts hinge on three major transformations looming large on the horizon: forecasts of free trade and economic development motivate plans for turning Buenaventura into a “world-class” port; projections of sea-level rise and increased flood risk underpin climate change adaptation policies in zones of pronounced vulnerability; and competition for sovereign control over strategically important areas lead to violent clashes between criminal gangs and state security forces. These interrelated transformations converge on the waterfront shantytown of Bajamar (meaning “low-tide”) built and inhabited by Afro-Colombian settlers and refugees. It is here that activists and residents fight to defend their territories against the threat of forced displacement. Focusing on struggles over land and housing in the seaside settlements of Bajamar, this talk will reveal how economic, ecological, and political futures come to shape the city and the lives of its inhabitants. Ultimately, the socio-material conditions of the intertidal zone, and in particular the figure of “submergence,” allow me to reflect upon forms of political life specific to this volatile and uncertain world.


For more informations about Dr. Zeiderman:


Montag: 02.06.2014: Prof. Eduardo Marques, Center for Metropolitan Studies São Paulo

Spaces, social groups and segregation in São Paulo


This presentation will discuss the changes in poverty, social structure and residential segregation in São Paulo in the 2000s. I depart by examining the dynamics of poverty, the labor market and income inequalitiy in the metropolitan region. Than, the presentation explores the changes in social structurein order to test recent hypotheses about polarization and profissionalization in class dynamics. In the following, I analyze the spatial distribution of those groups in space, as well as their social segregation patterns. The data show no signs of social polarization and some elements of profissionalization, although in a different context than discussed internationally. The metropolis continues intensely segregated and structured around a clear pattern of avoidance between social groups positioned at the poles of the social structure. However, although the changes of the 2000s increased the exclusivity of the areas inhabited by elites, tended to increase the heterogeneity in the rest of the city, contributing to greater social mix in the intermediate spaces and the peripheries.



Montag, 09.06.2014: Feiertag (Pfingstmontag) - Das Kolloquium entfällt


Montag, 16.06.2014: Prof. Gary Brige, Unversity of Bristol

ACHTUNG: veränderte Uhrzeit, 16 Uhr s.t.!!

Philosophical pragmatism for critical urban studies

"In this talk I explore the possibilities of philosophical pragmatism for critical theory in urban studies.  I point to the philosophical connections between pragmatism and the mainstay of critical theory in urban studies — Marxism.  I suggest how these philosophical roots as well as contemporary developments of pragmatism in social science (and in critical theory) open out the terrain of critical urban studies to make it more pluralist and democratic, theoretically and politically. The talk concludes by looking at some of the consequences of this pragmatic turn for critical urban theory and practice."

Gary Bridge is Professor of Urban Studies, University of Bristol. His research interests include aspects of urban theory and social class and neighbourhood change in the city. He is author of Reason in the City of Difference: Pragmatism, Communicative Action and Contemporary Urbanism (2005, Routledge); Gentrification in a Global Context. The New Urban Colonialism? (edited with Rowland Atkinson, 2005, Routledge) The New Blackwell Companion to the City (2011) and The Blackwell City Reader (2010) co-edited with Sophie Watson; Mixed Communities. Gentrification by Stealth? (co-edited with Tim Butler and Loretta Lees, 2012, Policy Press) among other publications.



Montag, 23.06.2014: Prof. Tim Strangleman, University of Kent

The Garden in the Machine? The Life and Death of an English Brewery

For nearly seventy years the Guinness Company produced their world renowned beer at Park Royal in West London. Built in the 1930s by one of the premier industrial architects of the day the brewery was a fine example of rational fordist design. Landscaped with hundreds of trees and shrubs the brewery and its grounds acted as a model industrial village to the west of London.  I want to argue that the story that this one industrial site – its construction, operation through to its closure and demolition – encapsulates in miniature the story of work in the twentieth century.  Through Guinness we can see the changing nature of work and employment.  We also witness the shifts in corporate culture from a modern paternalism through to brand management within a globalised world. This is both embedded and embodied within the workers employed at the brewery as well as the physical buildings of the plant. The paper is based on the author’s research into Park Royal and its archive as well as interviews with former employees. In particular the study makes extensive use of the rich visual archive the company holds. The paper will ask questions about what this visual material tells us about corporate culture and how this changes over time.

For more informations about Prof. Strangleman:


Montag, 30.06.2014: Talja Blokland, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin und Alan Harding, University of Liverpool


Urban Theory - A critical introduction to power, cities and urbanism in the 21st century

This T&D session, Alan Harding and Talja Blokland will launch their new book ‘Urban

Theory: A Critical Introduction to Power, Cities and Urbanism in the 21st Century’ starting from the simple question ‘what is s Urban Theory?’ this book asks how urban theory can be used to understand our urban experiences, experiences typically defined by enormous inequalities, not just between cities but within cities, in an increasingly interconnected and globalised world. This book explains relations between urban theory and modernity - the foundational concept in urban studies – in key ideas of the Chicago School, in spatial analysis, humanistic urban geography, and ‘radical' approaches like Marxism, cities and the transition from industrial to informational economies, globalization, the importance of urban growth machine and urban regime theory, the city as an “actor”, spatial expressions of inequality - understood horizontally and vertically - and key ideas like segregation, ghettoization, suburbanization, gentrification, and “neighbourhood effects”, socio-cultural spatial expressions of difference and key concepts like gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, age, public space; “culturalist” perspectives on identity, lifestyle, subculture

And how cities should be understood as intersections of horizontal and vertical – of coinciding resources, positions, locations; of different constellations of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and age, influencing how we make and understand urban experiences.

For more informations about this new book:

For more informations about Prof. Harding:


Montag, 07.07.2014: Prof. Dr. Regina Römhild, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Post/Migration Urban Research: Approaches – Perspectives

The term “postmigrational” has first been introduced by cultural producers to criticize on the politics of labeling individual people, social milieus, and urban quarters as “migrant” – thus referring them to transitional margins (or “temporal borders”) of society, no matter how long they may have been present and how transnationally “mixed” their histories may be. In my presentation, I will build on a current debate in Labor Migration (Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, HU) to show how this critique is being and can be made productive in two major fields of research: First, in migration research where it helps us to move beyond the re/production of ethnic borders by, instead, “de-migratizing” empirical subject categories and field designs; and second, in urban research where a post/migrational perspective will help us to understand how urban society in general is constituted by struggles of and with migration.

For more informations about Prof. Römhild:


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Wintersemester 13/14


Montag, 21.10.2013   Prof. Mariana Valverde, University of Toronto

Scales of Urban Citizenship: Seeing Like a City, Seeing Like a Neighbourhood, Seeing like a Firm

A five-year empirical  research on how the city of Toronto uses its legal tools leads to the conclusion that theoretical work on citizenship in the urban context could benefit from an analytical framework that has more dimensions than the usual city-state-global tripartite division of powers and knowledges. First, it is important to understand the profound differences between the logic of citizenship at the neighbourhood (and micro-neighbourhood) level and citizenship at the scale of the (large) city. Secondly, it is necessary to go beyond the theoretical tools provided by geographers' explorations of scale and scale shifts and include temporal scale as an important dimension, when analyzing both official and grasroots practices of citizenship.

Note: while the empirical  work in question has been published in the 2012 book "Everyday law on the street: city governance in an age of diversity", the theoretical conclusions that will be presented in this talk are not included in that book or in any other publication thus far.

Montag, 28.10.2013   Dr. Jan Fuhse, HU Berlin

Relational Sociology and Interethnic Networks

Relational sociology around conceptualizes social networks as interwoven with meaning: stories about relations and the identities involved, styles, roles, and institutions. The presentation first sketches the basic contours of this approach. of its history and research program. The second part turns to its application to interethnic relations. The structure and composition of social networks are central to the relations between ethnic groups, and they are closely tied to the construction of ethnic boundaries and to cultural differences.








Montag, 04.11.2013   Prof. Iain Boal, UC Berkeley

The Green Machine

The bicycle is a green icon celebrated for its efficiency and the spare beauty of its design, trumpeted by urban planners and aficionados of pedal power as a solution to congested cities and environmental crisis. However, a more complex story emerges when the bicycle is seen in planetary perspective, and in a deeper historical and ecological setting. Iain Boal's illustrated talk examines this paragon of sustainable and convivial mobility, challenging the mythos of the bicycle as intrinsically a friend of the earth. Invented as a means of horseless locomotion, in response to a climate catastrophe in 1815, the bicycle gave birth directly to the motor car and the airplane, themselves major contributors to climate change. An instrument of women's emancipation and working class leisure, at the same time it fostered a masculinist cult of speed and the clearance of the streets for purposes of capitalist circulation. Cyclists were in the vanguard of road advocacy; they pioneered the culture of automobilism and the paving of the planet. The political ecologies of rubber and tarmac have their roots in the explosive growth of cycling in the 1890s, including a genocidal labour regime behind latex extraction in the Congo. Today's urban elites in the global south are criminalizing human-powered vehicles as symbols of poverty and the colonial past, yet the bicycle remains an essential mode of transport worldwide. Rickshaws are indispensible to the provisioning of the megacities of Asia in which millions toil and improvise day-to-day survival.  The Green Machine (London: Notting Hill Editions, 2014) tells this history without illusions, in the face of the gathering climate emergency and the generalized crisis of urban livelihood. Laying bare the entanglement of this most congenial of human artifacts in the dark side of modernity is the first step towards truly autonomous self-movement.


Montag, 11.11.2013  - Fällt aus


Montag, 18.11.2013   - Filmseminar


2012 documentary film, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, about the city of Detroit, Michigan

The film won the U.S. Documentary Editing Award, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival


Detroit's story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.
- by Caroline Libresco


Montag, 25.11.2013   Prof. Monika Salzbrunn, Université de Lausanne

(Festive) Events as Entry Points to Comparative Urban Studies: Paris-Tokyo, Ruhr-Istanbul

Approaching urban areas through the observation of (festive) events allows to focus on social relations in a political arena without predefining the groups involved in the given situation. Wearing "event lenses" instead of "ethnic lenses" also helps to question supposed homogeneities and to investigate common civic or political practices and interests, by emphasizing multiple belonging processes in various social situations. Comparative research by fieldcrossing in Paris and Tokyo has allowed to show how festive events create commonality in gentrifying neighbourhoods. Both cities present different pathways of migrant incorporation in these places, but also processes of exclusion of marginalised people through the architecture of public spaces.

The comparison of Ruhr Area and Istanbul during the celebrations of European capital of culture has also put evidence on marginalisation processes of the urban poor, whereas an elite form of cosmopolitanism and diversity was partly put on stage. Finally, an on-going research project on (In)visible islam in urban spaces reveals how political expectations and discourses contribute to the reinforcement of homogeneous, one-dimensional identities, whereas empirical studies show the ambiguity and pluri-dimensional processes of multiple belonging. The presentation includes an unpublished critical review of methodological approaches in comparative urban and migration studies and gives empirical examples from field studies that have been published recently:

The Economies of Urban Diversity. Ruhr Area and Istanbul (co-edited with Darja Reuschke and Korinna Schönhärl), and,

From Community to Commonality. Multiple Belonging and Street Phenomena in the Era of Reflexive Modernization. Seijo University Press (co-authored with Yasumasa Sekine).



Montag, 02.12.2013  Prof. Edmond Préteceille, Sciences Po Paris

Segregation, Race And Class in Paris

The talk will present work in progress on urban segregation in Paris during the first decade of this century. An increasing concern for ethno-racial segregation due to discrimination of immigrants, of persons of color or supposed Muslim religion, poses questions of categories, methods and access to data. That concern however should not dismiss the issue of socioeconomic segregation, whose causes have intensified with increasing income inequalities and intensified market competition in a city strongly influenced by financial globalization. And the interaction between the two is a complex research question.



Montag, 09.12.2013  Dr. Seth Schindler, HU Berlin

A New Delhi Everyday: Struggling over Space in a Transforming Metropolis

As the title of this talk implies, I am interested in exploring the interstice between everyday city life and urban transformation. As an entry point I begin with the observation of a rather obvious contradiction: the urban poor in Delhi are increasingly criminalized yet they remain ubiquitous. While scholars have focused on the so-called ‘new’ middle class, it is oftentimes presented as the single dynamic class in an otherwise static social structure. I chart the emergence of ‘new’ urban poverty. There are both push- and pull-factors that have given rise to a large informal service sector that differs from the working poor. Workers in this sector (e.g. street hawkers, waste collectors, rickshaw pullers) cannot sell their labor for a wage in the formal economy, and their livelihoods typically require access to urban space. Thus, they come into direct conflict with municipal authorities who seek to transform Delhi into a ‘world-class’ city. I show how the struggles and negotiations among a range of non-state actors produce localized governance regimes that determine how and by whom urban space is used on an everyday basis. These regimes co-exist with formal municipal governance, which is increasingly geared toward transforming territory rather than ‘improving’ populations. I return to the interstice between the everyday and urban transformation by exploring the implications of this shift of emphasis from populations to territory. I conclude by suggesting that we must developed more nuanced ways of understanding how city life in 21st century metropolises is increasingly defined by multiplicities of governance regimes and material/spatial conflicts.



Montag, 16.12.2013  Dr. Bowen Paulle, University of Amsterdam

Toxic Schools: High Poverty Education in New York and Amsterdam

Violent urban schools loom large in our culture: for decades they have served as the centerpieces of political campaigns and as window dressing for brutal television shows and movies. Yet unequal access to quality schools remains the single greatest failing of our society—and one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. When Bowen Paulle speaks of toxicity, he speaks of educational worlds dominated by intimidation and anxiety, by ambivalence, degradation, and shame. Based on six years of teaching and research in the South Bronx and in Southeast Amsterdam, Toxic Schools is the first fully participatory ethnographic study of its kind and a searing examination of daily life in two radically different settings. What these schools have in common, however, are not the predictable ideas about race and educational achievement but the tragically similar habituated stress responses of students forced to endure the experience of constant vulnerability. From both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Paulle paints an intimate portrait of how students and teachers actually cope, in real time, with the chronic stress, peer group dynamics, and subtle power politics of urban educational spaces in the perpetual shadow of aggression.



Montag, 06.01.2014  Prof. Godfried Engbersen, Univeristy of Rotterdam

The Urban Governance of Labour Migration from Central and Eastern Europe

The EU enlargements of 2004 and 2007 have generated substantial migrants flows from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria to Western European countries. These labour migration flows were partly a continuation of migration paths that had already been established before 2004. However, the new migrations from CEE countries also involve substantial new migrant groups that do not follow in the footsteps of earlier labour migrants. In this presentation I will address two questions. Firstly, what is the nature of these migration flows? In what ways do they differ from traditional patterns such as temporary, circular migration and settlement migration? Secondly, what are the social consequences of CEE migration for urban regions and how urban governments face the challenge of CEE migration in the multi-level governance setting in which they operate? Many urban regions appear little prepared to cope with the urban implications of CEE labour migration (especially housing and registration). The Netherlands represents one of the cases where the presence of CEE migrants has emerged prominently on the national and local policy agenda (cities of Rotterdam and The Hague); see for example the so-called ‘Poland summit’ in 2007 that brought together national and local governments, a parliamentary inquiry in 2011 on ‘Lessons from Recent EU Labour Migration’ and recent turmoil surrounding a Dutch political party that established a phone line where natives could file complaints about Polish migrants.


Montag, 13.01.2014  Dr. Henrik Lebuhn, HU Berlin

Urban Citizenship: Piecing together the Incomplete Puzzle 

Over the past 20 years, the concept of Urban Citizenship has gained prominence among many scholars investigating the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in the city. Although the concept has proven to be extremely fruitful and has generated many innovative studies, it also suffers from a number of analytical shortcomings. Among other aspects, the impact of neo-liberal rescaling processes on city politics, dynamics of fragmentation, as well as the question of civil rights often seem oddly absent from the debate. The presentation will give a short overview over the development of the concept in order to then highlight the strengths, but also some of the problems and challenges that need to be addressed to complete the puzzle and sharpen this analytical tool for future urban research and activism.



Montag, 20.01.2014  Prof. Ivor Chipkin,The Public Affairs Research Institute, Johannesburg

Capitalism and Communalism in Contemporary South Africa

The presentation will discuss how changes to the bundle of rights associated with 'private property' are throwing up novel institutions that play an increasingly important role in mediating social relationships in locations as diverse as Cairo, Nairobi, Beijing and California . Condominiums, what are called sectional title estates in South Africa, are also transforming cities.  I will explore these developments from the perspective of  Roodepoort. This Western region of Johannesburg has over the last 10 years witnessed massive new townhouse developments that have transformed a largely rural paysage into a densely urban scene. They have also brought hundreds of thousands of new residents in the area, settled in increasingly 'multi-racial' townhouse estates of varying size and wealth and in informal settlements, sometimes small, sometimes massive. The presentation will explore what these settlements say about the kind of society that Post-Apartheid South Africa is becoming.


Montag, 27.01.2014  Dr. Liviu Chelcea, University of Bucharest

Plumbing, Repairs, and Infrastructures: Houses, Property, and Post-socialism in Bucharest, Romania

Social studies of infrastructure generally claim that urban infrastructures are materially and symbolically hidden, arguing that they become visible only when they malfunction. Drawing on fieldwork carried out in Bucharest, I question that claim, based on the way long-term tenants in nationalized housing conceptualize plumbing and housing repair as ownership. Without crisis or malfunction, tenants make symbolically visible, collectivize, and politicize the past plumbing of capillary endings of urban infrastructure in order to retain occupancy and gain ownership. These past interventions are (1) recompartmentalization-driven plumbing, (2) improved connectivity to municipal gas, water, or electricity networks as well as (3) ordinary running repairs. I describe the theoretical implications of analyzing the flows, materialities, and agencies of plumbing for the ethnographies of houses and urban infrastructures. Plumbing is simultaneously a material, political, and symbolic practice. Future discussions of the links between plumbing, modernity, and anthropology might have potential value for renewed understandings of ethnographic reflexivity. References to plumbing usually surface in anthropological texts as meta-commentary on civilization, post-colonialism, ethnographic location, development, cultural distance, or evolution, but ethnographers have been largely inattentive to plumbing as an analytic tool and ethnographic object. 


Montag, 03.02.2014 - ENTFÄLLT


Montag, 10.02.2014 - Think & Drink Filmseminar

The Golden Temple. Olypmpic regeneration at east London.
A film by Enrico Masi, 2013










After the film screening there will be a discussion with film's director
Enrico Masi from Bologna

Directors Statement: "This is not classical documentary about the
Olympics. We’re building a film about the capitalism’s extreme unction,
the explicit show of its decay. The paradox of austerity. As a kid
trying to fill the sea with sand, a titanic and apocalyptic deed, I
tried to understand the Olympics process, while it was going on in the
city of London, where I moved for personal reasons, just when the virus
was growing. What was going on in me was the approaching to a massive
collective event, in the heart of capitalism, in the city from the
colonial journey to the beginning of digital primitives. A unique
opportunity to deal with people coming from a distant and mysterious
district, Stratford. A different world, in the boundaries of the city,
with diverse urban dynamics that upset commonplace, in a contest of
unprecedented ethnic and linguistic contamination. This section is about
my life, in a city that is subjected to the Olympics process, changing
in life of people living around the district, before and after the event."

Enrico Masi (1983) is an italian musician and film director and founder
of Caucaso study centre in 2004. Educated in Bologna through Literature,
Music and Cinema, in 2008 he started working as aa visual anthropologist
and researcher.The Golden Temple, his debut longmetrage, was premiered
in Venice 2012. Currently involved in the writing and pre production of
his second film, in between Brasil and Europe.


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Sommersemester 13


Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Sommersemester 2013 ist hier als pdf downloadbar.


Montag, 15.04.2013   Prof. Enrico Gualini, TU Berlin

Contentious mobilization and agonistic pluralism in urban development: exploring the transformative potentials of local conflicts

Contestation and conflict in urban development are gaining renewed attention in manifold perspectives. Whether from scholarly perspectives of political sociology or political philosophy, or in the framework of discourses on public ethics, social justice, and democratization or, more often so, in complex combinations thereof – urban conflicts are seen, once again, as key performative moments for political affirmation and for regaining meaning to ‘the political’.

Against this background, and based on critical analysis of recent contentious episodes, this presentation proposes to address a specific perspective which, although traditionally central to conflict research, seems to have been recently rather sidelined in urban studies: the transformative character of local conflicts, i.e. the potentials and constraints for contentious mobilization to induce policy change and political innovation in local contexts. In view of developing a research programme centered on this perspective, it argues that research on local conflicts can benefit from incorporating into its heuristics a critical orientation to outcomes and, accordingly, from combining theoretical contributions from critical-interpretive policy analysis and from social movements research in inquiring into the relational, interactive and coevolutive nature of the processes involved.


Montag, 22.04.2013   Prof.  Susan Clarke, University of Colorado at Boulder

The Post-political City in the U.S. Context: Observations from the Denver case

Many of the most provocative and generative concepts used in urban analyses hinge on the assumption, often the assertion, that we can identify temporal shifts in conditions and practices in a particular city or set of cities and interpret their larger meanings for local politics and democratic practice. Notions such as regime change, neo-liberalism policies, entrepreneurial cities, and post-political cities provide ways to characterize changing local actors and agency, institutions, and political dynamics emerging in the face of globalizing economies and national austerity measures. Whether these concepts are useful in explaining these changes across different political, cultural, and economic structures is a basic and important question for theory development. In my current work, I draw on the post-political cities concept to analyze the trajectory of neighborhood regeneration policies in Denver, Colorado (USA), 1980-2012.

Denver is a promising case for this exploration. It is one of the creative and entrepreneurial cities Swyngedouw (2010) posits as likely “arenas” for the construction of a post-political consensus. Since the 1980s, a series of Latino, African-American, and white mayors have provided relatively strong leadership in a still-white majority, but increasingly multi-ethnic, city. Local electoral bodies are paralleled by a growing suite of non-elected agencies, many with independent taxing authority. Severe cuts in federal funds, along with a local ballot initiative capping revenue and expenditures for the last three decades, constrain local choices. Over this period, local neighborhood regeneration policies turned away from a distributional orientation towards a new policy paradigm emphasizing growth, risk, and opportunity at the neighborhood level. Yet my field work reveals this was a contested and uneven process, featuring some successes and stunning failures. I consider a range of arguments about the post-political city to assess whether there is an emergent “post-political” landscape in Denver, one in which neighborhood regeneration is “de-politicized” and removed from political debate. The focus is on the processes of “post-democratic institutional formation,” (MacLeod, 2011) particularly initiatives to carve up neighborhoods into Business Improvement Districts and other forms of “mobilized policies.” My observations center on the empirical utility of the post-political city concept for analyzing Denver neighborhood policies as well as the adequacy of the post-political city argument, generally, in the American context.


Montag, 29.04.2013   Dr. Suzanne Hall, LSE

Rescaling the transnational city

I will explore a methodology for understanding the transnational city through the lens of scale. The talk emerges out of an ethnographic study of the economic and cultural life of Peckham Rye Lane, a multi-ethnic street in south London. I explore the effects of accelerated migrations into cities, and the rescaling of citizenship across individual, street and city spaces. A ‘trans-methodology’ is pursued not simply as a ‘how to’ challenge, but as a ‘what is at stake’ politics, where the restrictions and circuits of transnational migration require evaluation across interrelated micro, meso and macro spaces of the city. Scale is interpreted in both its geographic and sociological dimensions: as the city-shaping processes, through which the organizations of power and the formations of culture surface or remain invisible, within distinct but connected urban spaces. I argue for the analytic stretch across the compendium of micro, meso and macro urban scales, without reifying one above the other.


Montag, 06.05.2013   Film-Seminar

Regisseur: Chad Freidrichs

Titel:    The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011)


Montag, 13.05.2013   Prof. AbdouMaliq Simone, Goldsmiths University of London

Just the City

Whatever human effort was at work that attempted to solve particular problems of existence or to render human existence as opportunistic instruments for the extension and domination of capacity on the part of some against others, what remains in the city are the possibilities of criss-crossing circulations among materials of all kinds in various intersections that are sometimes muscular, metabolic, mechanical, biochemical, and digital—to name just a few.  In these intersections, human residents may be the predominant actors as the agents most capable of redirecting and remaking what is present within the city. But, the city—being just the city, and not the human instrument of other things—always slips away from the grasp of its human inhabitants, and we can never be certain of exactly what will show up or in what form, or what will forever disappear. The city being just the city is to, in Claire Colebrook’s words, think of multiplicities beyond notions of human-centered categorization and comparison.



Dienstag, 21.05.2013   Prof. Salvador Sandoval, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo & Universidade Estadual de Campinas

RAUM 205 !!!

Social Movements and Urban Reform: The Impact of Popular Collectives on Urban Policies

This presentation exams the role of social movements in the process of urban policy making to the extent to which the  impact of these movements has resulted in more or less permanent contributions to the scenario of urban reform in Brazilian metropolitan areas. Brazil is a society characterized a recent past history of rapid urbanization with a peculiar trend towards the growth of large metropolitan centers numbering millions of inhabitants. In the urban map of Brazil noteworthy is the fact that the country is dominated by these large megalopolis which undeveloped over the past three or four decades. The rapid growth of the large metropolitan urban agglomerate brought with it the development of serious urban problems in housing, sanitation, transportation, schooling, health services and industrial environment, as well as a migrant populations from all the regions of the country that break the traditional political arrangements prevalent in each region.

It is from this context that emerge popular social movements around urban issues pressuring often non-responsive, inefficient and/or corruption municipal, state and national governments for urban improvements and reforms. This presentation aims at examining the impact that these popular collective actions have on achieving changes in urban conditions and to what extent these changes have resulted in lasting reforms of how particular problem areas are handled by government officials.

We begin by analyzing how accelerated urban and its corresponding mass mobilizations has impacted on the changing political arena of traditional and emerging political elites. This scenario has been the result of urban social movements and has made a major impact of the subsequent potential of collective action strategies directed at forcing urban policy changes. From this beginning we will analyze some case examples in the area of housing, transportation, education and child care, and residential zoning in order to explore the extent that collective actions have made important contributions to policy and to forging a new aspect of Brazilian urban politics: accountability of public officials.


Montag, 27.05.2013   Dr. Magdalena Nowicka, Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung multireligiöser und multiethnischer Gesellschaften

Diversity in the eyes of migrants and their friends and families back home. Introducing the project TRANSFORmIG

How do migrants perceive of racial, ethnic and religious diversity in a new society, and how do they develop the competence to successfully operate within a new culture? Will these newly acquired intercultural skills and attitudes transfer between individuals and geographical locations? These are the questions the project TRANSFORmIG wants to answer by investigating recent massive migration between Poland and Great Britain. The ‘Polish case’ is highly instructive because of diametrically opposed contexts between which the transnational migrants regularly ‘switch’: Britain is characterized by a level and kind of multi-cultural complexity that is unknown to immigrants from Poland which is recognized as one of the most ethnically homogeneous country in the world.

The earlier study on which TRANSFORmiG builds up showed how Polish migrants in London and Midlands selectively perceive of kinds of diversity and how their vocabulary around issues of diversity adapts to the British multicultural discourse. A pilot study of migrants' peers in communities of their origin gives some first ideas of how the perceptions of diversity are communicated along migrants' social networks back 'home'. Discussing these preliminary results, I also introduce the research program of the TRANSFORmIG project.


Montag, 03.06.2013 Prof. Diana Vaiou, National Technical University of Athens

Changing patterns of care and neighbouring in crisis-ridden Athens

Since 2009, analyses and explanations about the crisis in Greece, with very few exceptions, have focused mainly on macroeconomic aspects, such as the size and viability of the public debt and a range of possible (neoliberal) measures towards its management. The emerging dominant discourse has made key aspects of the crisis “unmentionable”; such aspects include on the one hand the role of neoliberal pacts, the operation of the eurozone and existing uneven development patterns. On the other hand it has also made “unmentionable” the social effects of the measures taken, which are unevenly felt and endured among Greek people. My presentation, based on research in Athens, takes changing patterns of care and the geographies of care deficits as a starting step from which to discuss how severe deficits in care have developed in the pre-crisis decades, thereby setting the scene for later arrangements; to examine how such deficits have been met by recourse to the low paid labour of migrant women, thereby displacing care deficits to the places where these women have come from; to argue about the ways in which these arrangements of care go beyond personal(ised) service and include a whole range of everyday practices and neighbourly relations which extend along a series of geographical scales. Finally, the presentation proposes to reflect upon (re)definitions of neighbourhood and neighbouring and upon the prospects of such arrangements and negotiations of gender power in the context of the crisis.


Montag, 10.06.2013   Dr. Szymon Marcinczak, University of Łódź (Poland)

 - in Kooperation mit dem Leibniz-Institut für Regionalentwicklung und Strukturplanung (IRS)

Processes and patterns of residential segregation in the East-Central European city: debunking the myth of social divisions after socialism

There has been a torrent of papers published on residential segregation in the East-Central European (ECE) city. A brief inspection of ‘Google Scholar’ reveals approximately 3000 works that supposedly deal with the topic. Assuming that about 5 per cent of them are explicitly related to the theme, one could be confident that the subject has been thoroughly studied. However, there are voices questioning this opinion. In fact, there are scholars, and I am one of them, who explicitly argue that knowledge of residential segregation in this part of Europe is limited or virtually absent. Referring to the existing studies and ongoing research on socio-spatial divisions in cities from different post-socialist contexts, this presentation reveals the hard empirical data on scale, level and patterns of social segregation in the former Eastern Bloc.  The aim of this lecture is thus to summarize the state of the art in segregation research in ECE, to point out major gaps in existing literature, and to propose a new research agenda that, in my opinion, will help to position socio-spatial changes in the ECE city in the broader ‘Euro-Atlantic’ debate on the phenomenon.

The lecture divides into four parts. Firstly, I am going to refer to the term segregation and how it is currently understood in urban studies. The second part deals with the processes and patterns of residential segregation under socialism, while the third part develops the same issues after the collapse of the system. In the last part, I will briefly introduce a new research agenda that is coherent with the widely acknowledged concept of segregation.


Montag, 17.06.2013   Dr. Manuel Aalbers, University of Leuven

The Real Estate/Financial Complex

Real estate and finance were at the roots of the global economic crisis that started in 2007 and continues to drag on. The connections between real estate (both residential and non-residential), finance and states still remain under-researched and under-theorized. A subset of economics has focused on real estate finance, but generally their models are too abstracted in the eyes of other social scientists and state institutions are either ignored or seen as frustrating the market mechanism. To further our understanding of the connections between real estate, finance and states, we therefore need to pay more attention to scale and politics. Alternatively, we look for inspiration in the interdisciplinary fields of political economy and urban studies. We not only need a stronger connection between finance and real estate, we also need a stronger connection between these two fields and the different scales they study: local/urban, national and global. I here propose a new metaphor that can help us to centre attention on the connections between real estate, finance and states: the real estate/financial complex, akin the military/industrial complex. Like the military/industrial complex, the real estate/financial complex should be seen as triangles since states and their many institutions are also part of the equation. Despite discourses of withdrawing states, absent states and failed states, the hand of the state in its many guises is visible everywhere in real estate, finance and its connections.


Montag, 24.07.2013   Film-Seminar; Regisseur: Filip Antoni Malinowski

Titel: Resettlement (2012)

A marriage of two members of Poznan intelligentsia, both retired, learn that they need to leave the apartment they have lived in for several decades. They can neither afford the rent demanded by the new owner of the building nor the purchase of a new flat. Their grandson, who lives in Austria, comes to accompany the grandparents in difficult moments. This poignant family story is a record of the socio-economic transformation happening in Poland as well as a testimony to the radical change in mentality, which is the most difficult to accept for the representatives of the elder generation.
The film has won several awards at festivals in Poland and Austria.


After the film screening there will be a discussion with Dr. Kacper Pobłocki, urban scholar and activist from Poznań.




Montag, 01.07.2013   Dr. Darshan Vigneswaran, University of Amsterdam

Titel: Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy

In this presentation I want to talk about epochal change in the international system (Ruggie 1993). Over the long term evolution of modern global politics, cities and territorial states have been locked in an ongoing struggle for primacy (Tilly 1985, Spruyt 1994). After over a century in which state boundaries have provided the primary spatial contours of international politics, many believe we are seeing the relocation of power at the urban scale (Sassen 1998, Brenner 2004). 

The talk addresses these broad questions by examining the potential for change in the way governments decide where people live. If UN projections are correct, protean shifts in global demographic patterns are underway, fundamentally reshaping how we problematize human mobility and settlement. As international migration between the developing and developed worlds tapers off over the next 40 years, most governments around the world are (surprisingly) satisfied with current levels of border control. The same cannot be said for patterns of urbanization over the same period. The vast majority of projected growth in the world’s population will occur in the cities of the developing world. Yet, developing countries have by-and-large failed to meet the challenges created by the urban populations that they already have (Davis 2007). Approximately 1 in every 6 people on earth currently lives in an urban slum in the Global South. Unsurprisingly, cities in the developing world are all looking for new ways of conditioning, controlling and limiting people’s right to move to their rapidly expanding urban areas. Given this, the talk seeks to explore the following proposition:  will cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America replacing European and North American borders as the primary locus of state power, communal differentiation and territorial control?

It is in this spirit that I turn to Neil Smith’s (2002) classic work on ‘Gentrification as a Global Urban Strategy’ for inspiration. While the literature on gentrification is vast, Smith was primarily responsible for advancing the claim that gentrification was not a minor theme, only noticeable in financial ‘command centres’ like New York, London and Paris but a way of controlling human movement to and within a larger number of production centres in cities like Manila, Shanghai and Lagos. Unfortunately, the gentrification literature has largely failed to take up the recent call by researchers to empirically demonstrate these broad themes by relocating the gentrification research agenda to the Global South (Parnell & Robinson 2012, Comaroff & Comaroff 2012). In response, I will try to outline a set of theoretical resources and research strategies that we can use to address this gap, drawing primarily on my own data sets from Johannesburg and Mumbai.


Montag, 08.07.2013   Dr. Andrej Holm, HU Berlin

Titel: "GentriMap – A Tool for Measuring and Geovisualization of Gentrification"

Gentrification is a contested issue – in public debates as well as in academic discourses. Even after 50 years of gentrification research there is still a lack of common definition and methodological instruments to measure gentrification dynamics. With the GentriMap we try to create an instrument for data based gentrification analysis and to provide a tool for testing and proving different hypothesis of gentrification research. The presentation will be focused on practical issues of our work, like: data selection, data quality, data acquisition and models of visualization.


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Wintersemester 12/13


Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Wintersemester 12/13 ist hier als pdf downloadbar.


Montag 22.10.2012:

Prof. Christof Parnreiter, Unversität Hamburg

Global cities, global commodity chains, and the geography of economic governance

Since Saskia Sassen’s ‘The global city’ (Sassen 1991), global city research has taken two main routes. One of the most extensive strands is the urban studies approach to global cities, in which the reorganization of urban economies, the emergence of a new socio-spatial order, or shifting scales and power relations in urban governance are analyzed as a conditions as well as consequences of global city formation. Another important thread deals with quantitative assessments of cross-border connections of global cities, of which the ‘interlocking network model’ developed by Taylor (2004) is the best-known.

My contention is, however, that both literatures miss the conceptual core of the global city paradigm as developed by John Friedmann and Saskia Sassen. I maintain that the global city concept is, in essence, an economic geography perspective on how globalization processes are organized and controlled. The key condition for global city formation is that these cities function as places for the management and the governance of cross-border economic activities, and they do so through the provision of producer services to firms operating in or even controlling all types of global commodity chains. As critical nodes in innumerable global commodity chains global cities are places from where economic governance is exercised. This perspective allows for a much more decentralized account of the geographies of command and control than the traditional map of headquarter cities.


Montag, 29.10.2012:

Dr. Stefan Wellgraf, Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Die Ambivalenz des Ghetto-Diskurses

Der Ghettodiskurs bildet ein machtvolles Verweisungssystem mit dem auf ambivalente Weise umgegangen wird: Zum einen handelt es sich um ein Schreckbild, zum anderen um eine Ressource der Identifikation oder des Stolzes von marginalisierten oder subkulturellen Gruppen. Auf der Grundlage einer ethnografischen Feldforschung mit Hauptschülern in den Berliner Bezirken Neukölln, Lichtenberg und Wedding möchte ich dieser Spannung nachgehen und die Vielschichtigkeit von räumlichen Zuschreibungen im Alltag nachzeichnen.



Montag, 05.11.2012:

Associate Professor Kanishka Goonewardena, University of Toronto

The Actuality of Henri Lefebvre: Urbanization, Globalization, Revolution

Recent events of world-historic importance--economic crisis, Arab Spring, Occupy--have yet again placed the city at the heart of radical politics. Scholars as well as activists have once more rallied around a ‘cry and demand’ first heard in May ’68: The Right to the City. Today, however, this slogan means different things to different people, as many have arrived at it by way of their own experiences and desires, often without being aware of how and why Henri Lefebvre wrote La droit à la ville, in part as his contribution to a celebration of the first centennial of Marx’s Das Kapital. Hence the question: how useful is Lefebvre’s work on everyday life, space and state now, for us to sort through diverse interpretations of The Right to the City and forge new links between urban politics and emancipatory politics?


Montag, 12.11.2012:

Prof. Mike Raco, University College London

Privatisation, Urban Policy and the Rolling-out of Regulatory Capitalism: Lessons from the UK

States across the EU face acute dilemmas.  They are required to reduce levels of debt and public spending in the name of austerity at the same time as they face growing welfare demands from citizens.  One answer to this problem has been for governments to launch privatisation programmes and to establish new innovative models of public-private partnership working.  In countries such as the UK this has reached unprecedented heights with private companies now owning and controlling welfare assets and services to a value of over €350billion.  Almost all new welfare infrastructure since the 1990s has been funded by global investment financiers under expensive Private Finance Initiatives.  Many of these agreements are underpinned by 20-30 year contracts.  The paper draws on research on health, transport, and housing in London to assess the impacts that this privatisation has had on the governance and delivery of welfare.  It documents the complex geographies of investment and ownership that are now emerging, the structural impacts of privatisation on the capacities of states to ‘plan’ for their citizens, and the democratic closures that have accompanied reform.  It argues that far from witnessing a retreat of the state, as claimed by some neo-liberal writers, we are in fact living through a period in which states are spending ever more resources on regulation and the financing of expensive private provision. The discussion uses writings on ‘regulatory capitalism’ from political science to provide an explanation for how and why privatisation is taking place and the extent to which a new mode of capitalist accumulation is emerging.  It also highlights some of the implications for other EU countries whose welfare assets are now being targeted, as the UK market is seen to have ‘matured’.


Montag, 19.11.2012:

Distinguished Professor Don Mitchell, Maxwell School of Syracuse University

Whose City? The Push for Policing-Centered Community Cohesion and its Meaning for the Right to the City

This presentation will draw on research my colleagues Lynn Staeheli (University of Durham), Kafui Attoh (Syracuse University) and I are conducting in Manchester, Glasgow, Denver, and Oakland.  I will explore what we have identified as a strong push – by city officials, police theorists and police officers, and many residents – for what could be called “policing-centered community cohesion.”    Both “community cohesion” and “community policing” are common mantras in British and US cities, but what we show is that in particular neighborhoods at particular times they come together such that policing agencies become the central hub for community development: the agencies through which community development and community action must all pass and through which they are all now shaped.  The result is a model of community development and life in which “co-policing” (between police officers, city officials, and select residents) is not just a central goal geared towards ensuring safety or security or urban residents, but a central mode for producing urban life.  Through both an analysis of the historical development of community policing practices and a close examination of struggles over community policing in our four cities, I will examine how this state of affairs came to be.  In turn, I will then offer some suggestions as to what this might mean for any progressive notion of, and struggle for, the right to the city.


Montag, 26.11.2012:

Dr. Colin McFarlane, Durham University

Everyday geographies of sanitation: politics and experience in Mumbai's informal settlements

Abstract: Inadequate sanitation constitutes a global crisis, but how is sanitation produced and sustained in informal settlements? While there is data available on aggregate statistics around sanitation, relatively little is known about how sanitation is created, sustained, threatened and contested within informal settlements. In particular, a lack of understanding exists of the everyday conditions of sanitation experience. Given that informal settlements are growing faster than cities in general, it is crucial that we develop a deeper understanding of these sanitation experiences. Drawing on an ethnography of two very different informal settlements in Mumbai, this paper identifies some of the key ways in which sanitation is produced, rendered vulnerable and politicised, and discusses the limits of sanitation infrastructure in the form of open defecation. In particular, three strategies of sustaining informal sanitation are highlighted: self-built latrines and drainage maintenance; forms of patronange in 'political society'; and political practices and exclusions that exist beyond the confines of political society. The paper also offers a conceptual framework for researching everyday sanitation that focuses on gendered metabolisms in and beyond political society, drawing on critical debates on urban infrastructure, feminist approaches to sanitation and the body, and Partha Chatterjee's (2004) influential development of political society.


Montag, 03.12.2012:

Assistant Professor Virag Molnar, The New School for Social Research

Street Art and the Contemporary Urban Underground: Social Critique or Coolness as Commodity?

Street art has lately evolved beyond graffiti to include subversive art practices that incorporate and creatively reinterpret the everyday urban fabric. Its latest forms involve the surprising reframing of public spaces by redesigning street signs, “liberating” billboards or staging so-called “flash mobs”. The presentation examines the street art scene in urban centers of underground culture – focusing primarily on New York, Berlin, and Budapest – as a lens into the workings of the contemporary public sphere. It explores three fundamental and interrelated aspects of the highly global contemporary street art movement: its counter-cultural aspirations, its accelerating commercialization (e.g., its use in advertising and product design), and the impact of new digital media on the documentation and dissemination of “ephemeral” street art. The analysis builds on interviews, art blogs, Internet discussion groups and field work in three cities (New York, Berlin and Budapest) while drawing on complementary empirical examples from other urban centers of street art.


Montag, 10.12.2012:

Dr. Magdalena Lesinska, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director in Centre of Migration Research at University of Warsaw (CMR UW)

Poland as emigration-immigration country: political, economic and social impacts.

Nowadays Poland is a country in the transformation process from emigration into emigration-immigration country. The massive emigration of Poles to the UK, Ireland and other EU countries  after 2004 (so called post-accession wave) was a real phenomenon in contemporary history of Poland. It initiated serious political, economic and social changes. In recent years Poland becomes also more and more open for immigration; more and more foreigners come and work there. The current migration processes are very dynamic and have strong influence on policy, labour market and social life. The changes in migration law and policy implemented recently in Poland are particularly interesting issues to examine.

The discussion will concentrate on the present situation of Poland as emigration-immigration country and discuss the main short- and long-term impacts and dilemmas related to the migration and integration processes, with special focus on migration policy.   


Montag, 17.12.2012:

Dr. Stephan Lanz, Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

Zwischen urbaner Religion und religiöser Urbanität. Thesen zum veränderten Verhältnis zwischen dem Städtischen und dem Religiösen


Beeinflusst von heute überholten Modernisierungstheorien hat die Stadtforschung urbane Modernität in der Regel mit Säkularität gleichgesetzt. Aber die Städte haben sich im Zuge der rapiden globalen Urbanisierungsprozesse in den letzten Dekaden keineswegs säkularisiert. Vielmehr ist die vieldiskutierte Wiederkehr des Religiösen, insbesondere im Rahmen von christlichen Erweckungsbewegungen, islamistischen Strömungen, synkretistischen Kulten oder dem Hindu-Nationalismus, ein primär urbanes Phänomen. Und so beschränkt sich ‚Urban religion‘ in gegenwärtigen Metropolen keineswegs auf städtische Nischen­ und Minderheiten sondern interagiert mit modernsten Formen von Urbanität. Der Vortrag diskutiert neuartige Verflechtungs­formen zwischen dem Städtischen und dem Religiösen anhand von Beispielen aus Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul und Berlin.


Montag, 07.01.2013:

Dr. Simon Parker, University of York

Between the Reservation and the Camp: Neoloberal Governementalitites of Exceptional Urban Space

Developing Agamben's claim that the 'state of exception' has become banalised as a structural feature of governmentality in all modern states, this paper seeks to draw out the socio-spatial implications of the variegation and diffusion of 'exceptional space' in contemporary urban society. Taking the exceptional spaces of abject confinement--'the camp' and 'the reservation' as paradigms, the paper explores how the neoliberal transformation of 'policed society' is leading to new and more aggressive forms of commoditised biopower. The paper concludes by considering the implications of the global commodification of abjection for human rights in general and the right to the city in particular.


Montag, 14.01.2013:

Prof. Sabine Kuhlmann, Deutsche Universität für Verwaltungswissenschaften Speyer

Lokalsysteme und -reformen in Europa:  Modelle und Entwicklungspfade im Vergleich

In dem Vortrag werden typische Vertreter (west)europäischer Kommunalsysteme vorgestellt und hinsichtlich ihrer aktuellen Reformen untersucht. Dabei wird insbesondere auf Territorialpolitik und Dezentralisierung eingegangen und herausgearbeitet, inwieweit die verschieden europäischen Länder ähnliche oder markant unterschiedliche Reformpfade eingeschlagen haben und wie dies zu erklären ist. Schließlich werden auch die Auswirkungen der lokalen Institutionenreformen betrachtet und einige Zukunftsperspektiven der kommunalen Selbstverwaltung in Europa aufgezeigt.







Montag 21.01.2013:

Dr. Marc Pradel Miquel, Universitat de Barcelona

Governance and socioeconomic innovation in European metropolitan regions

My research explores the configuration of governance in metropolitan regions, focusing on the role of non-core areas (or peripheries) of these metropolitan regions. These areas have their own historical development paths and economic traditions, and even the metropolitanisation processes underwent during the second half of the twentieth century, these elements are still present and have an influence in decision-making processes at local level. Local social, economic and political actors are influenced by their own local context and history,  and this can be seen in the models of economic development that they propose. In my research I have analysed two industrial areas in the metropolitan regions of Barcelona and Birmingham, focusing on how local actors promote their own models for economic development trying to create a new economic centrality without becoming a 'periphery' of the central city. These areas develop new identities and seek for resources at different levels (regional, national or European) to foster their own project and to influence the project of economic development for the whole metropolitan region. Because of the existence of these efforts, forms of 'efficient' metropolitan governance are very difficult to reach


Montag 28.01.2013:

Prof. em. Doreen Massey, The Open University

Geographies in the current political conjuncture

Abstract: One of the themes of Doreen Massey's work has been that 'geography matters'.  In this session of Think and Drink she will reflect on this theme in general, and also with specific relation to the politics of the current conjuncture.





Montag 04.02.2013: Das Think and Drink Kolloquium muss leider entfallen



Montag 11.02.2013:

Prof. Matthew Gandy, University College London

Marginalia: aesthetics, ecology and urban wastelands

Wastelands are a characteristic feature of many urban and industrial landscapes. Although the term "wasteland" has become widely subsumed within various utilitarian discourses concerning the redevelopment or redesign of ostensibly empty or unproductive spaces, the idea encompasses a multiplicity of meanings, material origins and ecological characteristics.  It is suggested that a more theoretically nuanced and historically grounded conception of the intersections between critical cultural discourses and recent advances in urban ecology might provide a useful counterpoint to narrowly utilitarian approaches to urban nature.

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Sommersemester 12


Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Sommersemester 2012 ist hier als pdf downloadbar.


Montag, 23.04.2012:

Prof. Steven Vertovec, Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung multireligiöser und multiethnischer Gesellschaften.

When new diversity meets old diversity

The seminar will explore the themes and methods of a new comparative research project called ‘Globaldivercities’. Using a variety of research techniques spanning social anthropology and human geography (including conventional ethnography, GIS tracking and map-making, photography and film-making), the project addresses the question: ‘In public spaces compared across cities, what accounts for similarities and differences in social and spatial patterns that arise under new conditions of diversification?’ Here, moreover, diversification refers to the changing relationships between a variety of variables (including ethnicity, language, gender, class and legal status). Research sites include neighbourhoods in New York (a classic city of immigration with new global migrant flows in a broadly supportive political context), Singapore (dominated by racial-cultural politics, and wholly dependent on new, highly restricted migrants), and Johannesburg (emerging from Apartheid with tensions around unregulated new, pan-African migrant flows).


Montag, 30.04.2012: Prof. Adrian Favell, Sciences Po, Paris.

Art & the City: The political uses of creativity and art in urban Japan today

Art and creativity in Japan have taken on ever more political and social relevance in the difficult years since the bursting of the nation’s financial bubble in the early 1990s. As contemporary artists, and architects working with the art world, have responded in complex ways to the decline, trauma and decadence of this period in Japan, politicians and urban developers have seized on this archetypal global high culture for their own ends. They use it as a means for enacting their urban dreams or their social alternatives, and as a response to the uniquely dramatic polarisation of the country between urban over-development and desperate rural decline. This presentation compares and contrasts three interlinked cases that offer a guide to the uses of art and creativity in urban Japan today. First, it examines the famous philosophy of Minoru Mori that lies behind the Roppongi Hills development and its use of art, design and the art museum as an icon of a new visionary Tokyo of the future. It then shifts to Yokohama, which has played its part in the failed internationalisation of Japanese contemporary art via the Triennale, but is also a city that has enacted a range of original creative city policies designed to address poverty and inner city degradation. Thirdly, it looks at the anti-urban rural alternative established by Fram Kitagawa with the Echigo-Tsumari “Big Field” festival and Setouchi inland sea island festival, and his attempt to use art to create a different kind of artistic landmark in Japan. The presentation finishes with a reflection on emergent forms of “sustainable” art and architecture, alive to the constraints and challenges of present-day urban and rural conditions, that are being forged as part of the educational mission of number of leading Japanese creative figures in cooperation with local authorities in big cities.


Montag, 07.05.2012: Prof. Andreas Farwick, Ruhr Universität Bochum.

Kontexteffekte von Wohnquartieren auf den Eingliederungsprozess von Migranten – Empirische Befunde und methodische Herausforderungen

Seit mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten zählt die Problematik der individuellen und gesellschaftlichen Fol­gen der Zuwanderung nach Deutschland zu einem der zentralen Themenfelder der politi­schen und sozialwissenschaftlichen Debatte. Dabei spielt die Frage der Eingliederung der Migranten in die funktio­nalen gesellschaftlichen Systeme eine entscheidende Rolle. Insbesondere den ethnisch geprägten städtischen Wohnquartieren der Zuwanderer wird eine negative Wirkung auf den Eingliederungsprozess beigemessen. So ist häufig von einem Rückzug der Migranten in die eigene ethnische Gruppe und von einer Abschottung der Zuwanderer in sog. Parallelgesellschaften die Rede.

Vor dem Hintergrund bisher unklarer empirischer Befunde zum Einfluss der räumli­chen Konzentration von Migranten im Wohnquartier sollen neuere Befunde zur Thematik vorgestellt und auf der Grundlage einer eigenen Befragung türkischer Migranten in der Stadt Bremen ein möglicher Zusammenhang zwischen der ethnischen Segregation und dem Ausmaß sozialer Kontakte zu Personen der Aufnahmegesellschaft analysiert werden. Abschließend werden methodische Herausforderungen für zukünftige Analysen von Wohnquartierseffekten benannt.


Montag, 14.05.2012: Prof. Kevin Ward, University of Manchester, UK.

Transatlantic Travels: mobile policies in the current era

Cities in industrialized countries of the north presently face significant financial pressures. In this context many are struggling to finance economic development.  Some are now looking elsewhere in the world, searching out 'models' that are understood to have worked, taking bits from elsewhere and reassembling them for their own needs. One such 'model' that is on the move is Tax Increment Financing that emerged in the US in the 1950s and is now being introduced into the UK. Kevin Ward outlines its multiple origins, its different pathways, its stops and starts, and its encounters with different cities and what they have meant for its morphing

and mutating. Overall, he argues that the twenty first century is one that is witnessing a relational comparative urban condition, in which cities are increasingly assembled through drawing on bits of elsewhere.


Montag, 21.05.2012: Prof. Ash Amin, University of Cambridge, UK.

Telescopic Urbanism and the Poor

In 2003 UN-Habitat warned that by 2030 around a third of the world's 9 billion humans could be suffering from multiple deprivations, living in slums like conditions in the world’s cities. Urban attention is beginning to turn to this problem, and to questions of sustainable urban competitiveness and growth, but without much referencing of the one to the other. This paper claims that the city of the future is being looked at through the wrong end of the binoculars, with 'business consultancy' urbanism largely disinterested in the city that does not feed international competitiveness and business growth, and 'human potential’ urbanism looking to the settlements where the poor are located for bottom-up solutions to wellbeing. The paper reflects on the implications of such an urban optic on the chances of the poor, their areas of settlement, and their expectations of support from others in and beyond the city. While acknowledging the realism, inventiveness and achievements of effort initiated or led by the poor, the paper laments the disappearance of ideas of mutuality, obligation and commonality that telescopic urbanism has enabled, in the process scripting out both grand designs and the duty of distant others to address the problems of acute inequality and poverty that will continue to plague the majority city.


Montag, 04.06.2012: Prof. Judit Bodnar, Central European University, Budapest.

Constructing Global Forms and Comparisons

Globalization has complicated the wisdom of comparative research. It has produced an acute awareness of transnational connections, made the assumption of independent cases less tenable, and reinforced our tendency to compare across contexts in a temporally and spatially compressed world which provides us with a wide array of readily available theoretical tools but shortens the time span of decision-making and reflection associated with writing and conceptual transfer. The talk speculates about the global, the urban and a renewed commitment to comparisons in a discussion of planned residential developments, commonly known as gated communities, which emerged almost simultaneously in various parts of the world and constitute a global form.


Montag, 11.06.2012: Prof. Philip Kasinitz, City Univeristy of New York, USA.

Is 'Illegal' the 'New Black'? Immigration, Demographic Change and Racial Justice in the American City


Montag, 18.06.2012: Prof. Marina Hennig, Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz.

Die Rolle des Habitus bei der Herausbildung von Netzwerkstrukturen

Obwohl sich das Konzept des sozialen Netzwerkes mit einer Reihe von empirischen Arbeiten in unterschiedlichen Kontexten immer stärker bemerkbar macht, konstituiert sich das Konzept eher als ein „Orientierungsstatement“ (Schenk 1984) und weniger als Sozialtheorie. Die Kritik an der Netzwerkanalyse basiert vor allem auf der Vernachlässigung der Eigenaktivitäten der Individuen eines sozialen Netzwerkes sowie den gesellschaftlich vorgegebenen handlungsrelevanten Normen und Wertorientierungen (vgl. White et. al. 1976, Wellman und Berkowitz 1988). Es kommt immer dann zu einem Erklärungsnotstand, wenn danach gefragt wird, wie sich existierende Netzwerke überhaupt herausgebildet haben, sich reproduzieren oder sich wieder verändern.

Ansatzpunkte für die Formulierung eines theoretischen Konzeptes zur Entstehung sozialer Netzwerken finden sich in der Habitus- und Feldtheorie von Pierre Bourdieu. Der Netzwerkanalyse liegt ebenso wie der Habitus- und Feldtheorie eine relationale Sichtweise zugrunde, die Anknüpfungspunkte für eine Verknüpfung beider Ansätze bieten.

Im Sinn der Habitustheorie können Netzwerkstrukturen als Muster sozialer Praktiken angesehen werden, denen tiefer liegende Strukturen zu Grunde liegen, die durch den Habitus der Akteure entstehen und verändert werden. Damit werden Soziale Netzwerke in ihrer Abhängigkeit von der Akteursposition in der Sozialstruktur und den damit verbundenen Handlungsdispositionen betrachtet und erklärt. Der Habitus als Bindeglied zwischen objektiven und subjektiven Beziehungen, wird dabei einerseits als Ausdruck der gesellschaftlichen Sozialstruktur und andererseits als notwendige Bedingung der Reproduktion der Praxis in Netzwerkstrukturen angesehen. Er liefert die Tiefenstruktur die nicht nur Ursache für bestimmte Formen des Denkens und Handelns ist, sondern auch der Interaktionsbeziehungen.

Im Rahmen des Vortrages werden die Grundannahmen der Habitus- und Feldtheorie von Bourdieu sowie der Netzwerkanalyse in ihren Begrifflichkeiten und Zusammenhängen skizziert, bestehende Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede identifiziert, Verknüpfungsmöglichkeiten aufgezeigt sowie empirische Ergebnisse zum Einfluss des Habitus auf die Netzwerkstrukturen vorgestellt.


Montag, 25.06.2012:

Diese Woche muss das Think and Drink leider ausfallen!!



Montag, 02.07.2012: Prof. Frank Eckardt, Bauhaus Universität, Weimar.

Ubiquitous urbanity: cities beyond place

The lecture will explore an emerging mode of urban life that is both  familiar and startlingly new: a continuum of places, technologies, and  performances that meld disparate enclaves into a seemingly coherent  whole. We may access this convergence of terminals to the same place  by way of interstate ...highways, internet connections, and personal  media devices, even as we encounter ever more unyielding barriers to  meaningful human communication. This lecture is meant for anyone who recognizes the odd and frightening pleasures of urbanity. Flowing from  airport to hotel to coffee shop to chain restaurant, we glimpse the  alienation and fascination of looking, consuming, and communicating in  the staccato rhythms of contemporary urban life. It will investigate this phenomenon, this structure and perception of an emergubiquitous urbanity, by investigating its origins in Parisian arcades,  world’s fairs, and military-industrial superslabs, its manifestations  in airports, hotels, and shopping malls, and its potential undoing  through performance, placelessness, and reverence.


Montag, 09.07.2012: Prof. Jamie Peck, University of British Columbia, Kanada.

Austerity urbanism

The presentation will explore the origins and meaning of austerity urbanism, locating this in the lineage of neoliberal or market-based forms of governance. The rise and repeated reconstruction of neoliberal forms of urbanism over the past three decades have in fact continuously drawn on notions of austerity as a defining feature of “free” market rule. Austerity was a governing principle during the “roll back” phase of neoliberalism (the inaugural period of social-state retrenchment and “cuts”), but it would also shaped the ensuing phase of “roll out” neoliberalism (as neoliberal policymakers became increasingly mired in the task of managing the contradictions of earlier waves of marketization, privatization, and commodification), during which time institutional reforms were authorized under conditions of permanent fiscal restraint and market-oriented selectivity.  The Wall Street crash of 2008, far from marking the end of neoliberalism, as some speculated at the time, has ushered in a more revanchist but also “roiling” phase of neoliberal development: the age of systemic austerity.


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Wintersemester 11/12

Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Wintersemester 2011/2012 ist hier als pdf downloadbar.


Montag, 17.10.2011: Dr. Marco van der Land, VU University, Amsterdam.

Vigilant Citizens and the Dutch Police

I will talk to you about a new research project I started recently at out chair of Safety & Citizenship that deals with unsatisfied, but active vigilant citizens. In many areas, mainly in the US and UK, but also on the continent, groups of citizens survey and patrol the neighbourhood in order to prevent crime and increase safety. Many are indeed aimed to prevent violence, others (claim) to use force if needed. The police sometimes stimulates and incorporates such forms of informal social control and self-help, but has difficulties to deal with these citizens who are distrustful against police and who will not shy away from vigilante behavior. I use the case of vigilant citizens to illustrate and discuss changes in the relationship between the state and citizens and between citizens in urban areas, to try to understand changes in public governance and the increased importance of safety in popular and political debate.


Montag, 24.10.2011: Prof. Talja Blokland, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Beyond Blaming (either the poor or the middle classes): A relational approach to urban marginalization
Various critical theories have been developed against the mainstream popularity of either the thesis of the culture of poverty or the explanations based on rational choice models to understand urban marginalization. This paper identifies a gap between these theories and qualitative studies of everyday life of the poor. Due to a lack of the connection of the various scales of such studies, the intellectual fight against the blaming of the poor may easily slide into a blaming of the middle classes, an undifferentiated and broad label. We hence have difficulties understanding how neoliberal regimes and policies that punish the poor actually are becoming social realities indeed. Methodologically, their empirical claims show limitations just as the mainstream theories do, as demonstrated through the presentation of a small ethnographic tale. This paper maintains that a relational sociology of urban marginalization may help to overcome this, and therefore strengthen critical theory.
Montag, 31.10.2011: Dr. Wenda Doff, TU Delft, Niederlande, dz. HU Berlin
Puzzling out neighborhood effects

Like other West European countries, the Netherlands are facing a growing uneasiness about its changing demographics. It is within this context that animated discussions concerning immigrant neighbourhoods dominate. The general opinion is that living in such neighbourhoods hinders the integration' of (im) migrants into Dutch society. Scholars are increasingly studying such ‘neighbourhood effects’, but are faced with several hallenges in estimating the ‘independent’ effects of living in certain neighbourhood contexts. In this session I will discuss one of them – the issue of spatial selection – and show how seeing residential choice, neighborhood selection, and neighbourhood impacts in a mutually interdependent way will enhance the scientific and societal debate on residential segregation.


Montag, 07.11.2011: Dr. Christine Hentschel, Humboldt‐Universität zu Berlin

Postcolonizing Berlin: What can we learn from the Southern turn in urban studies when studying Berlin?
What does it mean to theorise processes of change in a city like Berlin from the perspective of the global South? Critical urban scholars have expressed their unease with the division of urban studies into cities of the global north (“world cities”, breeding grounds of theory) and the global South (“megacities”, where urban theory fails). By working through some new, mainly anthropological, writings (i.e. from Ananya Roy, Maliq Simone, Aihwa Ong, Sarah Nuttall) on African and Asian cities, I identify methodological and thematic threads that can enrich our views on urban transformation in Berlin. The site for this experiment is Neukölln.
Montag, 14.11.2011: Dr. Andreas Heilmann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Movie night: “Entre moros e favelas – zwischen Mauern und Favelas”
Der Film wird ca. 1 Stunde dauern und in brasilianischer Sprache mit deutschen Untertiteln gezeigt. Thema sind die sozialen Konflikte zwischen Bewohnern, staatlicher Ordnungsmacht (Polizei) und Drogenmafia in vier sog. illegalen Stadtquartieren (Favelas) in Rio de Janeiro aus der Perspektive von Bürgerrechtsakteuren und Favelabewohner_innen. Der Film greift exemplarisch die Problematiken von Land-Stadt-Migration, Armutsquartieren, sozialer Ungleichheit und Segregation, gewaltförmigen sozialen Konflikten am Beispiel der aktuellen Situation in einem BRIC-Land auf – und Formen zivilgesellschaftlichen Widerstands. Ähnlich gelagerte Dynamiken in europäischen Städten erscheinen anhand der brasilianischen Situation wie unter einem Brennglas in vergrößerter und verschärfter Optik.
Montag, 21.11.2011: Dr. Agata Lisiak, Independent scholar
The Making of (Post)colonial Cities in Central Europe: The Case of Warsaw"

If we accept—as Edward W. Said and Gayatri Spivak, among others, argue—that the Soviet Union was a colonial power, then the cultures that remained under its economic, political, and ideological influence can be described as colonized. The four decades of Soviet rule irrevocably transformed Central European metropolises leaving visible traces until this day. The renaming of streets in compliance with the official communist ideology, the demolition of architectural remnants of the previous "imperialist" systems, the creation of Moscow-controlled political apparatuses and secret services, and the enforcement of a centrally planned economy are only some of the proofs of the Soviet rule's colonial nature. It is only logical to conclude that together with the collapse of communism in 1989 and the official retreat of the Soviet colonizer, Central Europe automatically became postcolonial. At the same time, another important process was underway, namely the colonization through Western (and later "global") culture, capital, and politics. This new form of colonization began in 1989 and, in an arguably milder form, prevails to this day. Consequently, Central European cities are characterized by political, cultural, social, and economic tensions rooted in being postcolonial and colonial at the same time. In my paper I will discuss the (post)colonial condition of post-1989 Central European cities with particular focus on the urban landscapes of Warsaw.

Montag, 28.11.2011: Dr. Emma Jackson
Place-making and place maintenace: The middle classes and the doing of place

This paper presents an argument for recognising the role played by the practice of place within middle-class residents’ relationships to their neighbourhoods.  We explore how claims to belonging are performed, introducing understandings of place as dynamic, performative and in continual process into discussions of the intersections of class and place attachment. The paper draws on qualitative data drawn from research with middle-class residents in two different types of neighbourhood in and around London, in an inner urban, socially-mixed neighbourhood (Peckham) and commuter belt villages (West Horsley and Effingham). Through this comparative empirical focus, the article argues that (1) the practice of place is key to understanding the processes by which middle-class residents lay claim to belonging and (2) ways of ‘doing’ neighbourhood must be understood within the context of other circulating representations of these spaces. As the article
demonstrates, in these two locations there are significant differences in the practicing of place, leading to two possible possible ways of conceptualising practiced forms of neighbourhood belonging. While our respondents in the inner urban neighbourhood appear to be strongly invested in place-making, performing place in ways which variously work with and against prevailing discourses about their place of residence, for residents of the commuter belt, the middle-class valorization of rural idyll does a great deal of work for them in legitimising their residential choice, and they invest in subtle processes of place maintenance.

Montag, 05.12.2011: Prof. Yuri Kazepov, Universitá di Urbino, Italien
The New (territorial) Boundaries of Citizenship in Europe
Rescaling social policies and the new role of local welfare arrangements
The territorial dimension of citizenship arrangements has for long been a neglected perspective in comparative social policy analysis. The same is true for the role of cities and local welfare arrangements. Scholars took-for-granted that policies defining inclusion and exclusion were national policies and almost all comparative work, which has been done after World War Second, based comparisons on national data. At the same time, the nation state strengthened its identity and legitimation thanks to the redistributive capacity of welfare policies within its national borders. 
Since the end of the 1970s, the deep structural changes that occurred kicked-off processes of territorial re-organisation of social policies undermining the functioning of national welfare institutions. The need of institutional changes has been met by an intense reform activity which covered in the last two decades most policy areas and their territorial organization. The picture which emerges is complex and not always easy to disentangle even though two trends are clear: rescaling and governance. 
Scholars started to reconsider the territorial dimension in their analytical frameworks taking it not anymore for granted, but as a privileged perspective to understand how citizenship systems change. In particular the processes of social policy re-organization and reform redraw the boundaries of citizenship. This reorganization of regulative powers at the different territorial levels – most prominently at sub-national levels – has also been accompanied by a multiplication of actors involved in designing, managing and implementing social policies. 
I have called the combined effect of these two processes the subsidiarization of social policies because the concept of subsidiarity captures well the new concept of citizenship underlying European countries and the two processes of change by addressing both the vertical (i.e. the territorial reorganization of regulatory powers) and the horizontal dimension (i.e. the multiplication of actors) of the processes at stake, pointing to multi-level governance solutions. The relationship between territorial rescaling and the spread of new governance arrangements becomes evident in the involvement of civil society in the policy making process justified with the need of “getting closer” to the citizen. 
The spread of the subsidiarity principle as a legitimate basis for new citizenship arrangements provided ground for an increasingly complex picture with new forms of inclusion and exclusion. The aim of the presentation is to explore this complexity, attempting to highlight how citizenship arrangements are changing and the role of different territorial dimensions (cities, regions, states, supranational bodies,…) in building new boarders of citizenship. In particular, I will show that despite the commonalities these two processes share in all countries, differences are relevant as well in understanding the directions of change and their differentiated impacts.



Montag, 12.12.2011: Prof. Jennifer Robinson, University College London, UK

Cities in a World of Cities: Traces of elsewhere in the making of citiy futures
Under conditions of globalisation, city futures are imagined in the context of a wider world of cities. Policy making for cities is profoundlyinternationalised and in the wake of vast changes in where urbanisation istaking place across the globe scholars must now theorise the contemporary urban condition with reference to a world of diverse cities. Both require new vocabularies and new ways of working with traces of elsewhere as city futures are re-imagined for policy makers to operate at the complex interface between circulating policies and local political contestations, and for scholars to revitalise and invent comparative and international ways of doing research.
Montag, 09.01.2012: Prof. George Galster, Hilberry Professor of Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA
Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in Motown

Detroit is the international icon for a once-thriving industrial powerhouse transformed within half a century into a dysfunctional metropolis.  George Galster’s Driving Detroit paints a stunning portrait of Metropolitan Detroit through an eclectic application of urban planning, economics, sociology, political science, geography, history, and psychology.  But Driving Detroit is also partly a self portrait, wherein Detroiters paint their own stories through songs, poems, and oral histories.  This remarkable mix of scholarly disciplines and media of communication make the book distinctively insightful, accessible, and memorable.  Driving Detroit is uniquely powerful because its portrait not only helps the reader clearly see the subject but, more importantly, understand why Metropolitan Detroit’s social, cultural, political, institutional, commercial, and built landscape has been transformed.  Though appropriate for graduate and undergraduate courses in urban studies, geography, planning, social sciences and history, the book should be of interest to the general public, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Driving Detroit contends that Metropolitan Detroit can be understood as two dimensions of tensions, capital vs. labor, blacks vs. whites.  It documents the region’s geo-political environment, evolving economic and population patterns, and longstanding inter-class and inter-racial struggles.  It shows how geography, local government structure, and social forces created a regional housing development system that perpetually produces sprawl at the fringe and abandonment at the core.  Driving Detroit breaks new ground in urban studies by drawing upon psychological principles of human fulfilment to diagnose the region’s ills.  It argues that the region’s automotive economic base and housing development system have chronically frustrated the populations’ quest for “respect:” basic physical, social and psychological resources.  These frustrations generated the extreme adaptations that distinguish the region: distrust, scapegoating, identity politics, segregation, unionization, and jurisdictional fragmentation.  Unfortunately, these individually rational adaptations have proven collectively irrational, positioning Metropolitan Detroit in an uncompetitive, unsustainable position.

Montag, 16.01.2012: Dr. Oleg Pachenkov, Centre for Independent Social Research (CISR), St. Petersburg, Russia
Flea market within a city context:for geography matters (case of Berlin)
The academic discussion about the flea market as a social phenomenon has been dominated so far by the eco nomists and consumer behavior researchers. They mostly present the flea market as an example of the mixture of “economic and festive dimensions of marketplace behavior”, i.e. as a set of market activities which should not be reduced to economic – because culture, values, morality and emotions are to be taken into consideration too. Yet, sharing this view, I will try to show that the flea market could be also approached within geography of the city. 
In my presentation, based on the results of the field work I have undertaken in Berlin in 2006-2007 and in 2010, I place the flea market in the context of the urban life, and approach it from two perspectives. I show that, while on the one hand, the flea market serves a ‘mirror’ reflecting the economic, social and cultural processes taking place in the cities and societies accommodating it, on the other hand, it is itself a significant part of such processes, shaping the cultural, social and economic life of the city. This twofold function of the flea market within the city context is very well represented in its location and spatiality. As the case of the Berlin flea market scene demonstrates, flea market should not only be treated within the socio-geographical context of thecity, but it could be at the same time central to, and indicative of, urban change, including gentrification processes. 

Montag, 23.01.2012: Dr. Tom Slater, University of Edinburgh, UK

The Myth of 'Broken Britain': Riots, Welfare Reform, and the Cultural Production of Ignorance.
In this paper I draw on Robert Proctor’s concept of 'agnotology' (the cultural production of ignorance) in an attempt to understand how contemporary policy elites and politicians ignore overwhelming scientific evidence that sits at odds with their reforms.  I trace the assault on the British welfare state by the current Coalition government back to the emergence of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think tank, founded in 2004 by current Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith following his short visit to a stigmatised district of Glasgow in 2002.
Despite wide-ranging social scientific evidence challenging the numerous policies on work, welfare and poverty that that have been set in motion by the Coalition (heavily influenced by the CSJ), a familiar litany of social pathologies (family breakdown, worklessness, anti-social behaviour, personal responsibility, teenage pregnancies, out-of-wedlock childbirth, dependency) is repeatedly invoked in a strategic deployment of ignorance with respect to alternative ways of addressing poverty and social injustice.  Following the English urban riots of August 2011, a single behavioural and cultural catchphrase for poverty – 'Broken Britain' – now dominates the government's domestic agenda, where 'troubled families' are now identified as the central problem to be tackled by the philanthropic fantasy of a 'Big Society'.
I argue that this 'neoliberal newspeak' can be challenged once it is recognised that the problem to be addressed is in fact a broken state - punitive-paternalist at the bottom of the class structure and laissez-faire at the top - and mending it requires serious analytical attention to the current relationship between information and power.
Montag, 30.01.2012, 5pm!! : Prof. Erik Swyngedouw, University of Manchester, UK
“The Ground‐Zero of Politics: Musing on the Post‐Political Polis”

The city offers a privileged scale for dissecting the social body, for rummaging through the innards of our most intimate fantasies, desires, and fears; for excavating the signs of the city’s political condition. As the ancient Greek polis was for Aristotle and Plato the experimental site for the performance of civic and political life, the contemporary city also holds for us the key to unlocking the contours of the present political constellation.
It is indeed unmistakably so that the city has undergone radical change over the past two decades or so, most dramatically in its modes of urban governing and polic(y)ing. We shall argue that, while the city is alive and thriving at least in some of its spaces, the polis, conceived in the idealized Greek sense as the site for public political encounter and democratic negotiation, the spacing of (often radical) dissent, and disagreement, and the place where political subjectivation emerges and literally takes place, seems moribund. In other words, the ‘political’ is retreating while social space is increasingly colonised by policies (or policing). The suturing of social space by consensual managerial policies and the evacuation of the properly political (democratic) dimension from the urban -- what will described below as the post-political condition -- constitutes what I would define as the ZERO-ground of politics. The leitmotiv of this contribution will indeed be the figure of a de-politicized Post-Political and Post-Democratic city.
Taking my cue from recent urban transformations in the UK and elsewhere, I shall argue that urban governance at the beginning of the 21st century has shifted profoundly, giving rise to a new form of governmentality in the Foucaultian sense of the word, one that is predicated upon new formal and informal institutional configurations – forms of governance that are characterized by a broadening of the sphere of governing, while narrowing, if not suspending, the space of the properly political. Urban governing today is carried by a wide variety of institutions and organizations. It operates through a range of geographical scales, and mobilizes a wide assortment of social actors, including private agents, designers, architects, and planners, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, corporations, and the more traditional forms of local, regional, or national government. I shall characterize these new regimes of policing the city as Governance-beyond-the-State. It is a governance regime concerned with policing, controlling and accentuating the imperatives of a globally connected neo-liberalized market economy. This new ‘polic(y)ing’ order reflects what Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Rancière define as a post-political and post-democratic constitution. In other words, contrary to the popular belief that these new forms of neo-liberal urban governance widen participation and deepen ‘democracy’, I shall insist that this post-political condition in fact annuls democracy, evacuates the political proper – i.e. the nurturing of disagreement through properly constructed material and symbolic spaces for dissensual public encounter and exchange – and ultimately perverts and undermines the very foundation of a democratic polis. This regime exposes what Rancière calls the scandal of democracy: while promising equality, it produces an oligarchically instituted form of governing in which political power seamlessly fuses with economic might and a governance arrangement that consensually shapes the city according to the dreams, tastes and needs of the transnational economic, political, and cultural elites. Proper urban politics fosters dissent, creates disagreement and triggers the debating of and experimentation with more egalitarian and inclusive urban futures, a process that is wrought with all kinds of tensions and contradictions but also opens up spaces of possibilities and insurgent activities. Exploring these will constitute the final part of this contribution.

This lecture is a joint event of the Centre for British Studies and the 
Chair of Urban and Regional Sociology (and Georg Simmel Zentrum) at 
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and will take place at the 
Centre for British Studies, Mohrenstr. 60, 10117 Berlin 
Montag, 06.02.2012: Prof. James Holston, University of California, Berkeley
Equality, Equity, and the Politics of Difference

In this presentation, I contrast equality and equity as principles according to which citizenships manage the differences they distinguish between citizens. One equalizes prior differences between people for certain purposes of membership in the political community, resulting in standard measures of treatment. The other compensates “priors” with special treatment for certain purposes, resulting in a legalization of difference-based privileges and a politics of differentiated citizenship. All regimes of citizenship use both principles to articulate differences in law, so that branding specific ones as “difference-neutral” or “difference-specific” is a false dichotomy. Rather, I argue that the key question is to investigate historically and ethnographically how a citizenship (or politics) problematizes the equalization and the compensation of prior differences and deals with the problems of justice and power that result.

The presentation does so by looking at the Brazilian formulation of differentiated citizenship as a telling historical example of a politics of difference based on a combination of universal membership and special treatment rights. I argue that by denying the expectation of equality and emphasizing that of compensatory equity in the distribution of rights, Brazilian citizenship became an entrenched regime of legalized privileges and legitimated inequalities. I suggest that in these historical circumstances –typical of many national citizenships – a politics of equality is a more radical means to overturn this regime than the recent policies of legalizing differences (especially racialized ones) that Brazilian local and federal governments currently promote as means to “right the wrongs” of access to education and health care. In such historical circumstances, the politics of difference is actually “business as usual.”

I use the Brazilian case to question the now wide-spread promotion of the politics of difference to address societal inequalities. I argue that when democratization destabilizes entrenched regimes of inequality (as in the contemporary Brazilian case), their reimagination should be based no more on a shallow critique of equality-as-sameness than on a naïve advocacy of compensatory equity in the articulations of citizenship to manage social differences.

Montag, 13.02.2012: Prof. Neil Smith, Graduate Center of City University of New York, USA
2011 and All That: From Ideology to the Confluence of Revolts

Whatever the fate of the revolts of last year -- and they are anything but finished -- 2011 will go down as a turning point in political history and geography. There were surely many precedents:  economic crises that sparked from the heart of capitalism, the anti -austerity revolts that resulted, the antiglobalization movement a decade ago, the Zapatista revolt even earlier. Yet the confluence of a still-unfolding Arab Spring, Chilean and continuing European anti-austerity revolts, Chinese strikes and the global Occupy movement, en masse made 2011 a year of transition. Neoliberalism is dominant but dead.


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Sommersemester 11


Montag, 11.04.2011: Prof. Margarethe Kusenbach, University of South Florida

Uneasy Places: Biography and Community Life in Florida Mobile Home Parks

The goal of this talk is to reconstruct how life histories and local social contexts influence mobile home residents’ feelings regarding their homes and communities.  In public discourse and in daily life in the United States, mobile home residents and communities are often stigmatized as morally deficient, and it is therefore reasonable to assume that their marginal social status shapes how mobile home dwellers view themselves and their neighbors.  Upon close analysis, however, community residents’ accounts and daily practices are also strongly influenced by important biographical experiences and choices - especially instances of what sociologists call “upward” or “downward” social mobility. Ultimately, biographical narratives, combined with social dynamics in the local community, seem to predominantly foster feelings and practices of disconnection among mobile home residents, with external stereotypes playing a lesser role. The presentation is based on a 2-year collaborative study of four Florida mobile home parks that includes over a hundred interviews and go-alongs with residents, as well as detailed ethnographic observations. 


Montag, 02.05.2011: Prof. Andreas Eckert, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Bright lights, big city? Cities and Urbanisation in Africa

At the beginning of the 21st century, more than 50 percent of the world population lives in cities. Africa continues to be the least urbanized continent, but currently has the highest rates of urbanization worldwide. In 1950 there was no single town south of the Sahara with over a million inhabitants, today there are 50. Congo's capital Kinshasa had 160 000 inhabitants in 1950, today it has more than 10 million. Around 40 million people currently live in the area of Lagos in Nigeria. Many of Africa's prevailing social and economic problems are associated with rapid urbanization. This presentation attempts to correct a generalizing and stereotyping image of African cities as sites of poverty and chaos and stresses the diversity, complexity and not least the historicity of urban centers in subsaharan Africa. It provides an overview of the history of cities in Africa and analyses how, after indepedence, the big cities transformed themselves from sites of accumulated wealth and prosperity, linked with visions of a modern city and with master-plans, to "laissez-faire cities" (Bill Freund). At the same time, the paper recognizes the creativity and the strategies for survival of African urban dwellers



Montag, 09.05.2011: Dr. Andrej Holm, Humboldt Universität

Gentrification Mainstream in Berlin - Räumliche und soziale Strukturen der Aufwertung

Gentrification wurde bis in die 1980er Jahre als räumlich isolierter Sonderfall der Stadtentwicklung betrachtet ('islands of renewal in seas of decay'). Neuere Studien beschreiben Gentrification als ‚global urban strategy’ und diskutieren die Aufwertungsprozesse in immer neuen Kontexten (new-build-gentrification, rural-gentrification, brownfield-gentrification). Gentrification hat sich dabei zu einem neuen städtischen Mainstream entwickelt ('islands of decay in seas of renewal').
Mit dieser räumlichen Ausdehnung von Gentrification-Phänomenen wurden auch die traditionellen Erklärungs- und Verlaufsmodelle auf den Prüfstand gestellt. Modifizierungen des Begriffsapparates der Gentrification-Forschung versuchen den Vervielfältigung der Erscheinungsformen gerecht zu werden, ohne die Frage nach den Ursachen und sozial(räumlich)en Folgeeffekten der Aufwertung aus dem Auge zu verlieren.
Der Beitrag soll am Beispiel der Berliner Stadtentwicklung skizzieren, welchen Erkenntnismehrwert die Instrumente der Gentrification-Forschung für die Analyse von sehr verschiedenen Phasen und Formen städtischer Aufwertungsdynamiken bieten können.


Montag, 16.05.2011: Prof. Tim Butler, King`s College London

How geography has become the arbiter of school choice - fair play or not?

In this talk, I reflect on three research projects I have undertaken in London over the last 25 years and consider how education in general and schooling in particular has moved increasingly centre stage in the way that London’s middle classes are talking about themselves and how they (literally and figuratively) position themselves in London. I argue that this is intimately connected with the gentrification of London which is progressively pricing the middle classes out of central London. I have noted an increasing anxiety about the choice of particular school as a means of accessing elite universities. Where once the middle classes could take a reasonably relaxed view about education and their ability to manage their choice of school, this is no longer the case. In part, this is a function of the formalisation of school choice through the 1988 Education Act which now extends to all what was once regarded as an area of middle class privilege. But it is also a response to the growth in aspiration as a policy for managing the allocation of scarce resources. In this context, choice has now become the rationing mechanism for scarce places in popular (not necessarily the same as ‘good’) schools and geography (in terms of distance from school) the arbiter of those decisions. In such circumstances, geography is not neutral but reflects the relative power of those able to buy into appropriate housing markets.


Montag, 23.05.2011: Prof. Dariuš Zifonun, Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin

Stigma and place: social guilt in the ‘active society’

Recent macro-sociological studies of the German welfare state argue that over the past years the established post-war constellation along with its legitimizing discourses has been fundamentally altered: while the former system of social protection was based on the idea of the state’s responsibility for its citizens the present-day members of the ‘active society’ have (moral) responsibility for the collective good. The presentation asks if these changes also play out on the local level: how is social guilt (for being ‘passive’) negotiated in socially deprived areas? What are the patterns of stigmatization in and of such neighborhoods? The paper argues that the discussion of such questions might benefit from taking a sociology of knowledge approach to stigmatization. It pulls together findings from a recent ethnographic study of a neighborhood in Mannheim and first impressions from a research project conducted in Berlin.


Montag, 30.05.2011: Prof. Beate Volker, Utrecht University

Lost Letters in Dutch Neighborhoods: A Field Experiment on Collective Efficacy and its Relation to Prosocial Action

A lack of collective efficacy in neighborhoods is associated with social and physical disorder. It is however not clear whether collective efficacy in neighborhoods also enhances prosocial action. We studied this association by employing the Lost Letter Technique (Milgram, Mann, and Harter 1965) in a large scale field experiment. Our data stem from 1240 letters dropped in a representative sample of 111 Dutch neighborhoods, combined with a survey among residents (SSND2, n=996) and information provided by Statistics Netherlands on these neighborhoods. We distinguish between two conditions: 1) location of the lost letter, i.e., behind a car’s windshield wiper or on the sidewalk; and 2) kind of address, i.e., a Dutch name or a Turkish name. Analyses show that neighborhood collective efficacy has a clear positive effect on the rate of sent letters. Furthermore, the percentage of non-Western residents and a relative low local income level also matter, whereas neighborhood cohesion and the quality of relations in the neighborhood do not.


Montag, 06.06.2011: Rowland Atkinson PhD, The University of York

Frustration, rage and the cartharsis of policy: Making sense of state-elite attacks on urban social vulnerability

I have long been interested in the relationship between social and political power and the position of vulnerable groups in the city. In my earlier work I was interested in how gentrification dislocated poorer residents in newly valorised locations, more recently I have focused on the way that a fear of the poor, as symbols of disorder and danger, have fuelled the retreat of the affluent to secured homes and gated developments. Here my aim is to present a theoretical overview of the peculiar violence directed at the vulnerable through urban policy programs. My suggestion is that psychoanalytic, political economic and critical criminological perspectives can be adapted to produce an effective model of policymaking that operates in cathartic ways. Programs like demolition, market renewal, gentrification and harsh policing regimes have been combined under ambitions to revitalise cities in ways that are predicated on the removal of groups and spaces that have generated frustration, anger and fear in the past. These actions appear as the focused release of emotions that are projected onto vulnerable groups as a means of relieving social anxieties. While anger and the identification of out-groups have a long history, as a means of generating traction for concerted policy solutions, today’s environment consists of a highly developed media-politics nexus that generates emergent and more forceful policy outcomes. Thus the rage, anger and raw emotion of elites and populations now propels policy actions in ways that seek to obliterate parts of the civic body and body politic. This has resulted in actions that take the form of retributive, sometimes para-legal, and often concerted, attacks on minorities, social difference and the poor, even as the conditions of these groups are generated by the broader violence of neoliberal systems. In this mode, policymaking as catharsis, takes on a merciless and vengeful hue that denies the resolution of social problems, instead targeting either the extrusion or elimination of groups and spaces that appear intransigent or irresolvable.


Montag, 20.06.2011: Prof. Barry Wellmann, University of Toronto

Networked Individualism: The Triple Revolution of the Turn to Social Network, the Personal Internet and Always Available Mobile Connectivity

I address - and provide evidence for - how the intersection of three revolutions is affecting our interpersonal lives:
1.      Social Network Revolution: The Turn from Groups to Social Networks
2.      Internet Revolution: The Proliferation & Differentiation of  the Personalize Internet
3.      Mobile Revolution: The Personal Mobile Always-Accessibility of Information & Communication

I argue that taken together this is creating a new social operating system, which I call "networked individualism
I provide evidence that addresses and refutes the perennial neo-Tönniesian argument that the internet - along with urbanization, bureaucratization and industrialization - is destroying community and family. I show how the changes afforded by the internet and mobile revolution are not sui generis, but arise out of multiple structural changes in Western societies.


Montag, 27.06.2011: Prof. em Jürgen Friedrichs, Universität Köln

Soziale Mischung in Wohngebieten - aber wie?

Das Konzept „Soziale Mischung“ ist deshalb so bedeutsam, weil es einen Schnittpunkt von Planung und sozialwissenschaftlichen Theorien darstellt. Dieser Zusammenhag wird im ersten Teil des Vortrags vorgestellt. Der zweite Teil richtet sich auf die Hoffnungen, die mir diesem Konzept für die Bewohner/innen eines Wohngebiets verbunden .werden.

Der dritte Teil umfasst eine eingehende Diskussion der Probleme, die mit einer geplanten Mischung verbunden sind, z.B., die Dimensionen der Mischung, die Anteile einzelner Gruppen und die geeigneten Maßnahmen. Hierauf aufbauend stelle ich die methodologischen Probleme einer solchen Planung dar: Welche Bedingungen kann Planung überhaupt beeinflussen, um eine Mischung herzustellen? Welche empirisch gesicherten Annahmen muss eine Planung  machen, um mit einer Maßnahme die gewünschte Wirkung zu erreichen?. Welche Nebenwirkungen können auftreten? Diese Probleme erläutere ich an Forschungsergebnissen.

Mein Fazit ist skeptisch: Unser Wissen ist unzureichend, um eine soziale Mischung zu planen.


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Wintersemester 10/11

 Eine Übersicht über das Wintersemester 2010/2011 können Sie hier als pdf downloaden.


Montag, 25.10.2010:

Drink, No Think: Die Dozenten des Lehrbereichs Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie stellen den neuen Studierenden und allen Interessierten ihre Forschungsprojekte und Seminare sowie die Angebote des Lehrstuhls vor. Neben Prof. Dr. Talja Blokland und Dr. Henrik Lebuhn sind auch die Gastdozenten Dr. Matthias Bernt (Leibniz-Institut für Regionalentwicklung und Strukturplanung) und Margarethe Kusenbach (Associate Professor, University of South Florida) dabei.


Montag, 01.11.2010: Prof. Min Zhou, University of California, Los Angeles

How Neighborhood Matters: Ethnic Capital and Immigrant Education in Chinatown and Koreatown, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Why does ethnicity have varied effects on educational achievement for different national-origin groups, even after holding constant key socioeconomic and contextual factors? Why do the children of Chinese and Korean immigrants, regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds, excel and succeed in the educational arena in disproportionately large numbers? This ethnographic study of two Asian immigrant communities in Los Angeles looks at the space between home and school to understand the specific ways in which local social structures, namely neighborhood-based institutions and patterned social relations, function to create a unique social environment conducive to education.


Montag, 08.11.2010: Prof. Alan Harding, University of Manchester

Agglomeration, scale and governance in Europe (or Why sociologists might be interested in political scientists' attempts to talk to economists)

In his presentation, Prof. Harding will report on a project recently completed for ESPON, the EU-supported territorial research organisation, which examined the extent to which 'new' agglomeration forces have reshaped the economic geography of Europe and how, if at all, innovations in metropolitan or 'city-regional' governance have enabled more effective responses to economic change. He will speculate on whether the project findings are likely to prove robust, post-crisis, and what implications follow in a post-financialized economy. Under strict instructions from Prof. Blokland, he will also ask what contribution sociological inquiry might usefully add to the debate.


Montag, 15.11.2010: Prof. Harald Mieg, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Die Professionalisierung von Wissenschafts- und Technologiepark-Management

Wissenschafts- und Technologieparks (Science and Technology Parks, STPs) bieten ein Beispiel dafür, wie durch Globalisierung neue Formen von Stadtentwicklung sowie Professionalisierung ausgelöst werden.
STPs entspringen meist Großprojekten der Siedlungs- bzw. Stadtentwicklung, mit denen sich wirtschaftspolitische Hoffnungen verbinden. Neben den "klassischen" amerikanischen und europäischen Beispielen (Silicon Valley, Research Triangle, Sofia Antipolis, Cambridge Science Park...) finden sich Neugründungen in großer Zahl vor allem im asiatischen Raum (China, Taiwan, Indien...). Die International Association of Science Parks (IASP) zählt heute über 350 Mitglieder weltweit. Berlins bedeutendster STP ist Adlershof.
Das Management von Wissenschafts- und Technologieparks stellt eine komplexe Aufgabe dar, welche Kompetenzen aus den Bereichen Projektentwicklung, Technologiemanagement und Netzwerkkommunikation erfordert. Seit etwas einem Jahrzehnt erleben wir weltweit eine Professionalisierung dieses Bereiches, die sich in internationalen Kooperationen, in Netzwerk- und Verbandstätigkeiten und dem Ringen um Standards äußert, zum Beispiel im Kontext der IASP. Mit der Betrachtung von STPs und ihrer globalen Netzwerke stellt sich aufs Neue die Frage der Entwicklung lokaler Cluster im Kontext fortschreitender Globalisierung. Neu ist der Bezug zur sozialwissenschaftlichen Professionalisierungsforschung, womit Fragen der Verbandsbildung wie auch der Wissensentwicklung (Abbott etc.) ins Spiel kommen.


Montag, 22.11.2010: Dr. Paul Watt, Birkbeck, University of London

Place Belonging in Urban and Suburban Neighbourhoods

This paper examines notions of place belonging in urban and suburban neighbourhoods with reference to research undertaken in London. It does so by drawing upon and extending the work of Mike Savage et al. (2005) in Globalization and Belonging. By providing a spatial revision to Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical framework of habitus and field, Savage and colleagues have suggested that global flows of people have not rendered the residential neighbourhood insignificant for forms of attachment, even if the notion of neighbourhood-based communities (a la community studies) is nevertheless problematic (see also Blokland, 2003). Savage et al. argue that forms of place-based belonging can take two dominant forms, i.e. a ‘traditional’ form based on long-term residence (‘stayers’), and an ‘elective’ form of volitional belonging adopted by those new to an area (‘incomers’). In this paper I want to suggest that alongside these two existing forms of belonging, two further forms can be added, i.e. ‘spoiled belonging’ and ‘selective belonging’. The former ‘spoiled belonging’ refers to those situations when long-term residents demonstrate considerable ambivalence about their neighbourhood in terms of whether or not they belong there. This occurs when they articulate what can be termed ‘narratives of urban decline’ in which the tightly-bound nature of the past ‘community’ is said to have withered because of a range of ‘spoiling’ factors, either material (as in job or amenity losses) or symbolic (as in the sense that it no longer culturally feels like ‘their’ place). ‘Selective belonging’, on the other hand, refers to those situations when newcomers to an area adhere to a spatially selective version of elective belonging in the sense that they express belonging to the immediate part of their neighbourhood, but not to the wider surrounding area. This notion of a spatially demarcated selective belonging is illustrated with research undertaken in an affluent private housing estate in suburban London. The paper argues that class and ethnic/racial differences are key to understanding both spoiled and selective belonging. The paper concludes by outlining the potential applicability of the concept of selective belonging for urban sociology.


Montag, 29.11.2010: Prof. Wolfgang Kaschuba, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Urbane Räume zwischen "Party" und "Zivilgesellschaft". Werkstattbericht über Beobachtungen und Überlegungen zu den städtischen Räumen

Es geht darum, einige Eindrücke des  "reclaiming" im öffentlichen Raum zu beobachten und zu interpretieren. Nicht nur, aber gerade auch in Berlin wird praktisch täglich deutlich, wie sehr urbane Räume heute als Bühnen und Repräsentationsorte der unterschiedlichsten Gruppen und Anliegen fungieren. "Party" wäre die eine Interpretationsmöglichkeit: mehr Alkohol als Politik, mehr Event als Nachhaltigkeit. "Zivilgesellschaft" würde in die andere Richtung deuten: neue Formen, neue Muster, neue Akteure "intervenierender" städtischer Gruppen und Bewegungen."


Montag, 06.12.2010: Dr. Claire Colomb, University College London, derzeit Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

‘The problematic of representation’ in urban studies: reconciling semiotic and political economic approaches in the analysis of entrepreneurial urban governance. Twenty years of Berlin place marketing.

Whilst the political production of new urban images and associated practices of place marketing (or place ‘branding’) have been a popular focus of investigation in cultural geography and urban studies, the cause-effect relationships between image-production and marketing activities and the ‘material’ politics of urban development are extremely difficult to investigate. In a conventional political economy approach, place marketing activities are often dismissed ‘as mere gloss on the underlying and ostensibly more influential relations of political economy’ (Beauregard 2008: 300). In many cultural geographical approaches, by contrast, a predominantly semiotic orientation treats urban space ‘as a metaphor for broader socio-cultural shifts’ and often fails to link changing urban landscapes with the underlying socio-economic transformations of a city in the context of changing forms of urban governance (Brenner 2002; Jessop 2004). This paper argues that image production is a central element of urban politics, not simply a reflection of it, and is a complex, multi dimensional phenomenon which serves various purposes (economic, political, cultural and social), as Harvey argued early on (1989). Over the past 20 years the production of urban images, discourses, advertising, and communication about the city has become a field of public policy in its own right and the imperative of ‘place marketing’ is often used by local governments as a justification for making decisions in other local policy fields in the name of the ‘city image’. This paper proposes a conceptual and empirical framework to analyse the complex interrelationships between ‘the politics of place representation and marketing’ and ‘the politics of urban development’. It is based on 10 years of empirical work on the politics of place marketing in Berlin after the Fall of the Wall.

New publication: Colomb, Claire (2011 forthcoming) Staging the New Berlin. Place Marketing and the Politics of Urban Reinvention post-1989, London: Routledge.


Montag, 13.12.2010: Prof. Susanne Frank, Technische Universität Dortmund

Reurbanisierung? Gentrifizierung? Suburbanisierung? Diskussionen um die "Rückkehr" der Familien in die Stadt

In meinem Vortrag beschäftige ich mich mit den Diskussionen um Suburbanisierung, Reurbanisierung und Gentrifizierung, wie sie in der sozialwissenschaftlichen Stadtforschung und den Urban Gender Studies seit einer geraumen Weile intensiv geführt werden. Beide Diskussionen haben einen gemeinsamen Bezugspunkt: Den Wandel der Geschlechterbeziehungen und der Familienmodelle.  Suburbia gilt nach wie vor als Ort traditioneller Geschlechterbeziehungen und deshalb als Auslaufmodell, dem, wie die Kollegen Häußermann, Läpple und Siebel behaupten, „das Personal ausgehe“ (2007: 370). Reurbanisierung und Gentrifizierung werden demgegenüber als Resultat veränderter Lebens- und Partnerschaftsentwürfe und hier vor allem der zunehmenden Berufs- und Karriereorientierung von Frauen gedeutet. Mit dieser gängigen Entgegensetzung von Suburbanisierung und Reurbanisierung/Gentrifizierung möchte ich mich in meinem Vortrag kritisch auseinandersetzen. Im Mittelpunkt steht dabei die viel bejubelte „Rückkehr der Familien in die Stadt“.


Montag, 10.01.2011: Dr. Matthias Bernt, Institut für Regionalentwicklung und Strukturplanung, Erknerbernt

What is Urban Shrinkage? Experiences and reflections from a comparative case study

Over the past years shrinkage has become a “normal pathway” of urban and regional development. All across Europe cities and regions have experienced economic downturns, out-migration and demographic imbalances and as a consequence “urban shrinkage” has become a main challenge for urban development. Against this background, “shrinking cities” are gaining increased attention among urban scholars. Yet, despite a growing number of empirical studies on this topic, the applied concepts and explanatory frameworks that underlie the increased interest in “urban shrinkage” have sometimes been blurred. “Shrinkage” thus competes with concepts like “decline”, or “decay”, and is not exactly clear where the differences between these are and which alternatives they imply for urban research. Moreover, there is a number of well-established theories that also provide explanations for the fact that a city has lost population and is not yet very clear where the connections between these and the current research on “shrinking cities” is.
The presentation discusses first findings from the SHRINK SMART research project which is based on comparative case studies from seven urban regions throughout Europe. Drawing on different cases the presentation will focus on elaborating the complexity of causes for urban population losses. It  argues that "shrinkage" needs to be understood as a time- and place-specific conjunction of different macro-developments. It is thus rather a "chaotic" concept,  than a one-dimensional process.


Montag, 17.01.2011: Prof. Jens S. Dangschat, Technische Universität Wien

Warum Siedlungssoziologie statt Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie?

Eine Sozialwissenschaft, die raum- und zeitunabhängige Zusammenhänge analysiert (wie es in der klassischen Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie tut), ist sinnlos (auch wenn die Forschungsförderung immer noch andere Präferenzen setzt). Man braucht also einen expliziten Raum- und Zeitbezug. Weiter kann eine Siedlungsstruktur im sozialwissenschaftlichen Sinne nur durch eine zusammenhängende Betrachtung ihrer Herstellung (materiell und symbolisch - makro) und ihrer Reproduktion durch AkteurInnen vorgenommen werden (Wahrnehmung und Bewertung - mikro), welche die Handlungen im Raum bestimmen, wobei die meso-Struktur durch den Ort bestimmt wird (materielle, soziale und kommunikative Strukturen und Prozesse). Aus dieser Sicht bedeutet der "Eigensinn von Städten" (Loewe-Projekt in Darmstadt) eben auch eine Sackgasse, weil nicht "Städte" einen Eigensinn haben, sondern Orte (Habitus des Ortes), welche nur unter bestimmten (eingeschränkten) Fragestellungen sinnvoller Weise zu "Städten" zusammengefasst werden können (Images nach außen).



Montag, 24.01.2011: Prof. John Eade, Roehampton University London

'From Imperial Capital to Global City: Religious Pluralism and Migration in London'

My aim will be to place the recent celebration of London as a multicultural city into a historical perspective by looking at the continuities and discontinuities with London's pre-Second World War status as the centre of empire. I will focus particularly on the development of religious pluralism and the role played by community representatives. Examples of how this general process works out at the local level will be taken from ideological tensions and conflicts over space in London's 'East End'.


Montag, 07.02.2011: Prof. Helmuth Berking, Technische Universität Darmstadt

"Die Stadt und die Städte". Überlegungen zu einem Forschungsprogramm.

Jedes Sprechen über die „Stadt“ setzt eine Vorstellung dessen voraus, was das denn sei. Der Vortrag nimmt diese Evidenzen der Alltagswelt zum Anlass, um nach den Möglichkeiten eines sozialwissenschaftlichen Konzepts zu fahnden. Im Zentrum der analytischen Aufmerksamkeit steht die Frage nach der „Stadt“ als Wissensobjekt der Soziologie.


Montag, 14.02.2011: Prof. Sharon Zukin, City University New York

Looking for Authenticity: Tracing Gentrification in New York City, 1980 to 2010

Focusing on the microcosm of a small bakery in Lower Manhattan, the talk contrasts the authentic social character of New York neighborhoods with the upscaling of rents and transnational retail culture that has changed the city so much during the past thirty years.  Based on--but not retelling--my new book, Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (Oxford University Press, 2010), the presentation challenges urbanists to reach for broad public support by recasting the right to the city in cultural terms.


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Sommersemester 10

Hier finden Sie eine Übersicht über das Programm des Think&Drink Colloquium im Sommersemester 2010. Eine Programmübersicht können Sie hier als pdf downloaden.


Montag, 12.04.2010: Prof. Talja Blokland, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Titel: Why ghettos start at their borders. From statistical aggregates to collective identities (or not)

Montag, 26.04.2010: Prof. Susanne Heeg, Göthe - Universität, Frankfurt
Titel: Globalisierung in der Immobilienwirtschaft: Zur Aneignung von Stadträumen

Montag, 03.05.2010: Prof. Alexa Färber, Humboldt- Universität zu Berlin
Titel: Geht die Stadt in die Tiefe oder Breite? Überlegung zur ethnographischen Greifbarkeit der Stadt

Montag, 10.05.2010: Rowland Atkinson, University of York
Titel: Frustration, rage and the catharsis of policy: Making sense of state-elite attacks on urban social vulnerability


Montag, 17.05.2010: Sophy Body- Gendrot, Université de la Sorbonne Paris IV
Titel: Cross-national perspectives on urban violence


Montag, 31.05.2010: Prof. Loretta Lees, Kings College London
Titel: The challenges in developing a methodology that can measure social capital in socially mixed (gentrified) inner city neighbourhoods

Montag, 07.06.2010: Prof. Fraya Frehse, Universidad de São Paulo, HU und FU Berlin
Titel: Zu den Besonderheiten der brasilianischen Großstädte: Beiträge der deutschen Stadtsoziologie

Montag, 14.06.2010: Prof. John Mollenkopf, City University of New York
Titel: -

Montag, 21.06.2010: Patrick Le Galès, Sciences Po Paris
Titel: Globalising urban bourgeoisies in European cities, partial exit and rootedness

Montag, 28.06.2010: Noa Ha, Center for Metropolitain Studies TU Berlin
Titel: „Conceptualizing Metropolitan Informality: StreetVending in Berlin“

Montag, 05.07.2010: Prof. Uwe-Jens Walther, TU Berlin
Titel: "Innovation in der Stadtplanung?"



Wintersemester 09/10

Hier finden Sie eine Übersicht über das Programm des Think&Drink Colloquium im Wintersemester 2009/2010.Eine Programmübersicht können Sie hier als pdf downloaden.


Montag, 10.10.2009: Drink, No Think: Der Lehrbereich Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie und das Georg Simmel Think & Drink Kolloquium stellen sich vor Vorstellung der neuen Mitarbeiter/innen und Doktoranden/innen, Ausblick auf das Programm im Wintersemester 2009/2010

Montag, 19.10.2009: Ilgin Yorukoglu, The Graduate Center, City University New York
Titel: "Citizenship To Come": perceptions of citizenship among Turkish-speaking queer women in Berlin


Montag, 02.11.2009: Jenny Künkel, Freie Universität Berlin
Titel: Sexarbeit vor dem Hintergrund neoliberaler Stadtendwicklung


Montag, 16.11.2009: Prof. Dr. Martin Kronauer, The Global Labour University
Titel: Exklusion

Montag, 23.11.2009: Ingo Siebert und Cagla Ilk, August Bebel Institut
Titel: Recht auf Stadt – am Beispiel von Caracas und Istanbul

Montag, 30.11.2009: Dr. Henrik Lebuhn, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Titel: "You always live at the margin of the city" Überlegungen zur Reterritorialisierung der EU Grenze im städtischen Raum

Montag, 07.12.2009: Prof. Dr. Margit Mayer, Freie Universität Berlin
Titel: Social Movements discover the Right to the City
Montag, 14.12.2009: Dr. Ruth Soenen, Catholic University of Leuven
Titel: Short-term relationships in public space. An ethnographic study on public transport.

Montag, 04.01.2010: Urban Sociology New Year

Montag, 11.01.2010: Prof. Dr. Ilse Helbrecht, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Titel: Die Neue Intoleranz der Kreativen: Veränderungen in der Stadtkultur durch den Arbeitsethos der flexiblen Ökonomie


Montag, 25.01.2010: PD Dr. Christine Hannemann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Titel: tba

Montag, 08.02.2010: Prof. Dr. Martina Löw, Technische Universität Darmstadt
Titel: „Jede Stadt ist ein Seelenzustand.“ Über städtische Vergesellschaftung und Identitätsanforderung


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Mitteilungen des Instituts




Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin