Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Sommersemester 2024

Monday, the 29th of April 2024, 18 Uhr

Sarah Klosterkamp

Goethe Universität Frankfurt

Unpacking the Intersectional Geographies of Un-Homing, Loss and Crisis through Eviction Court Cases


This talk draws attention to the multiple dimensions in which the housing crisis and processes of un-homing are dealt with in day-to-day negotiations, observed and analyzed in district courts in Germany. Grounded in a feminist spatial perspective, it will be illustrated how class, gender and race, as always, play not only a major role in the case’s outcome on the eviction at stake, but also render the way, who gets listened to and heard and who not. By drawing on three scenes of hope and loss and by turning these observations into a feminist analysis of the housing crisis in general, the talk highlights how legal reasoning remains too often the tied to logics of profit and home ownership and thus rarely act in favor of those, who are already deprivileged, when depending on welfare-state provisions and have nowhere else to go.





Monday, the 06th of May 2024, 18 Uhr

Ignacio Farías (HU Berlin), Martina Löw (TU Berlin) and Silke Steets (FAU Erlangen)


Book presentation:  Kultursoziologische Stadtforschung authored by Ignacio Farías, Martina Löw, Thomas Schmidt-Lux und Silke Steets

This volume formulates the foundations of urban research based on cultural sociology. It centres on the question of how a cultural studies perspective on cities can help to provide new answers to classic questions in urban sociology. By focussing their analysis on central cultural structural categories such as gender, class and race, the authors expand the sociological debate on the topic of the city to include a feminist and postcolonial perspective. Furthermore, their considerations show the extent to which a cultural sociological approach can help to analyse cities in the context of current social and ecological challenges.






Monday, the 13th of May 2024, 18 Uhr

Erik Hansson

Uppsala University

The Begging Question: Sweden’s Social Responses to the Roma Destitute.


Begging, thought to be an inherently un-Swedish phenomenon, became a national fixture in the 2010s as homeless Romanian and Bulgarian Roma EU citizens arrived in Sweden seeking economic opportunity. People without shelter were forced to use public spaces as their private space, disturbing aesthetic and normative orders, creating anxiety among Swedish subjects and resulting in hate crimes and everyday racism.

Parallel with Europe’s refugee crisis in the 2010s, the “begging question” peaked. The presence of the media’s so-called EU migrants caused a crisis in Swedish society along political, juridical, moral, and social lines due to the contradiction embodied in the Swedish authorities’ denial of social support to them while simultaneously seeking to maintain the nation’s image as promoting welfare, equality, and antiracism.

In The Begging Question Erik Hansson argues that the material configurations of capitalism and class society are not only racialized but also unconsciously invested with collective anxieties and desires. By focusing on Swedish society’s response to the begging question, Hansson provides insight into the dialectics of racism. He shrewdly deploys Marxian economics and Lacanian psychoanalysis to explain how it became possible to do what once was thought impossible: criminalize begging and make fascism politically mainstream, in Sweden. What Hansson reveals is not just an insight into one of the most captivating countries on earth but also a timely glimpse into what it means to be human.




Monday, the 27th of May 2024, 18 Uhr

Mercedes Di Virgilio

Universidad de Buenos Aires

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Rental housing: characterization of the tenancy process and tenant households in Argentina

In Argentina, renting reverses the historical trend of access to home ownership. According to census data, between 1947 and 2001, owner households increased from 37.3% to 74.9%, while renter households decreased from 62.7% to 11.1%. The increase was due to the long history of housing policies prioritizing access to home ownership and sustained practices of self-production of
habitat. This trend has been reversed since then. In 2010, renter households reached 16%; in 2022, it increased 5 points more, reaching 21% of the total number of households in the country.

Within this framework, our research aims to understand the structuring of the rental housing market in Argentinian cities of different scales and socio-productive profiles. We will characterize the agents and dynamics that shape supply and demand and identify public policies, their effects, and the conflicts generated around them.



Monday, the 3rd of June 2024, 18 Uhr

Christos Lynteris

University of St Andrews

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From 1870 to 1900 the relation between rats and plague came under intense scrutiny under immensely different systems of knowledge, whose complexity is today obscured by the myth of the “bacteriological revolution”.  Focused on Yunnan, Hong Kong and Bombay, this talk examines shifts in colonial approaches to the plague-rat relation during the first thirty years of the third plague pandemic from the perspective of epidemiological imaginations of the movement of rats in urban space. Examining eschatological visions of “staggering rats” as signs of the end of the world, framings of rats as pestigenic dividuals, and concerns about migratory rats as pandemic catalysts, I will show how rats, plague and urban space became entangled in configurations that reflected distinct ways of forging together the colonial governance of humans and more-than-humans.





Monday, the 10th of June 2024, 18 Uhr

Silke van Dyk, Luzie Gerstenhöfer und Markus Kip

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De-Privatizing the City: Contesting Public Services and the Social Economy in Liverpool and Barcelona

In the face of multiple crises and a Europe-wide policy of austerity and privatization, cities around the world have become places of resistance and laboratories for a new public policy. In almost all major cities in Spain, local alliances that emerged from social movements won the elections in 2015 and a dynamic of urban politics emerged that relied on cooperation with civil society and movements, placed itself in opposition to the (central) state and has since been discussed as New Municipalism. In Great Britain, too, local policies that are directed against the central government's policy of radical austerity have become more influential since 2010. In addition to the (re-)municipalization of infrastructure and social services as well as the regulation of private sector actors, the expansion of social and solidarity economies in the local social area plays a particularly important role in the desired re-localization of the economy. The presentation takes this dynamic into account, analyzes strategies, successes and inhibiting conditions of municipal politics to strengthen public services and civic self-governance and asks about its potential to substantially de-privatize the urban economy. We argue that the social and solidarity economy, commonly referred to as the “social economy”, has become a central, empty signifier in the new municipalist struggle for de-privatization and democratization.




Monday, the 17th of June 2024, 18 Uhr

Hannes Schwertfeger

Bureau Baubotanik


Microclimate Resistance and Multispecies Urbanism

This presentation is a reflection of the almost 20 years of experience of Bureau Baubotanik, a plant-based architecture office. One of its recent key intervention that will be reviewed in details is The "Theatre of the Long Now”, a 800sqm urban wasteland in Stuttgart that is developed into a public, performative performance space in 2017. The Idea of this collaborative project was developed by by Bureau Baubotanik together with the Artists Alice Ferl and Stine Hertel in collaboration with the Konstverein Wagenhalle and Theater Rampe in Stuttgart, to be ongoing for at least 100 years.
As a public green space, it serves both as a venue for events and as a testing ground for artistic-scientific experiments. It displays microclimate resistance, allowing the fresh air to flow and multiple species to coexist as individual actors inhabitationg the ground. Its long term based social, ecological and climatological goals contradict the shorttime-based targets of investors and all short time based municipal interests, since the piece of land sits very close to the Main Station and the Interim Opera. In doing so, it extends the benefits of public green spaces by integrating additional, previously neglected socially useful uses and thus responding to climate change. Thanks to the transdisciplinary members of the Advisory Board of the Theatre of the Long Now, constituted by Bureau Baubotanik in 2019, it has been firmly anchored in Stuttgart's administrative, research and educational landscape . However, to remain unbuilt for the next 100 years, one needs to seriously take into account these problems: (i) forces that contribute to the pressure of building around the green space; (ii) anticipation strategies of the foreseen effects of those forces on humans, animals and plants; (iii) carers (Kümmerer) who could maintain the long term multispecies cohabitation. For Bureau Baubotanik, performative performance spaces are places where art, architecture and the environment serve as a backdrop for social interaction and cultural-technical activities. They offer a platform on which artistic practice plays an active role in social processes. These spaces create connections of meaning between art and science that otherwise only take place behind the scenes.



Monday, the 8th of July 2024, 18 Uhr

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Humboldt University/Universidade de São Paulo

Elemental Urbanism. Engaging the terrestrial in city making“, in Berliner Blätter 2024, edited by Ignacio Farías und Laura Kemmer

 Modern urbanism has traditionally set cities in opposition to natural elements, constructing modernist urban landscapes strictly separated from water, while ignoring and polluting the air and soil. Today, urban societies are once again haunted by the overflows and burning presences of the elements they sought to banish. In the face of ongoing climate crises, social sciences and humanities often treat 'nature' as urbanised, shaped by urban processes rather than in a constant interaction. How can urban anthropology develop a more integral perspective on the situated interactions of cities and the elements, one that acknowledges their vitality and agency? An elemental urbanism posits cities as crucial sites in the so-called critical zone, where bodily, conceptual and political attunements to the delicate flows and interdependencies of planetary processes emerge.


Monday, the 15th of July 2024, 18 Uhr

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Freie Universität Berlin

The Big Squeeze and Great Expansion: An Odyssey through Housing Space Now and Then

The affordability crisis of urban housing has brought overcrowding, shortages and inequalities of living space back to the fore. This presentation draws on unique historical European city data to map overcrowding as part of the historical housing question. It then describes the historical drivers behind the expansion of housing space over the long 20th century, complemented by a snapshot of the international varieties of provision with living space in contemporary cities around the globe. Against the backdrop of rising overcrowding rates in the recent decade, it concludes with micro-level findings about the determinants and consequences of having too few or too many square meters.


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