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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Sommersemester 13

Sommersemester 2013


Hier finden Sie eine Übersicht über das Programm des Think&Drink Kolloquium im Sommersemester 2013. Das Kolloquium findet in der Vorlesungszeit immer Montags von 18 bis 20 Uhr in Raum 002 in der Universitätsstraße 3b statt.


Eine Gesamtübersicht über das Think & Drink Programm 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.