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New Collaborative Research Centre on “Re-Figuration of Spaces” in Berlin, Germany

The German Science Foundation (DFG) has just funded a new Collaborative Research Centre on the “Re-Figuration of Spaces” (CRC 1265) for a first funding period of four years (2018–2021). The CRC aims at investigating the comprehensive processes of spatial reorganisation caused by digitalization, the intensifying transnationalisation of the economy, radical changes in the global political geography, and the increasing global circulation of people and goods since the late 1960s. The CRC’s basic assumption is that as a result of the social transformations usually referred to as globalization, the relationship between people and spaces is being renegotiated, rearranged and transformed in complex ways. We start from the programmatic assumption that complementary to the chronological acceleration of communicative action also spatial processes of mediatisation, polycontexturalisation and translocalisation play a central role in these processes.

Concerning social theory, the CRC “Re-Figuration of Spaces” combines Norbert Elias’ figurational sociology with Martina Löw’s spatial theory and Hubert Knoblauch’s theory on the communicative construction of reality and is thus intrinsically historical and comparative. The overall architecture and research design aims at empirically analysing these spatial transformation processes in order to contribute to a better understanding of current social conflicts and uncertainties that threaten to destabilise societies. Research is organised into three major project areas: “Knowledge of Space”, “Spaces of Communication” and “Circulation and Order”, each of which addresses different angles and aspects of the key question how the current re-figurations unfold.

In order to achieve this goal, multiple specialized fields such as sociology, geography, architecture, media and communication studies, the arts, and planning cooperate which also opens up excellent opportunities to develop innovative methodologies in the study of space, and joint research will hopefully help to flesh out the profile of future transdisciplinary spatial research. By including architecture and planning issues into the analysis, the CRC hopes to be able to advance alternative models for the development of public spaces.

The CRC’s Methods Lab aims at advancing spatial methods. The Lab currently focusses on mapping and visual methods; de-colonizing social science methodology; and methodology of comparative historical research.

Amongst other activities, the CRC organizes an annual International Conference each February. The CRC’s First International Conference will address the topic “Re-Figuration of Spaces: Mediatization, Mobility, Globalization and Social Dislocation” (February 20th – 22nd, 2019). For further details, please contact CRC’s Academic Coordinator and Managing Director, Dr. Nina Elsemann (

There is also a fellowship programme for international guest researchers which funds travelling and accommodation costs. Due to the nature of the research topic, we particularly invite researchers from Non-European countries to consider to apply for a fellowship. During their stay, fellows are expected to work with at least one of the CRC members and to give a workshop or lecture on a topic relevant to the CRC. Before application, aspiring fellows should contact the CRC’s Academic Coordinator and Managing Director, Dr. Nina Elsemann (Tel: +49 30 314 73787, for details on the application process. It is also recommended to contact an suitable member of the CRC (see for an overview) in order to discuss a possible collaboration and working plan for the stay. In addition, please consider to apply for a longer research stay at the CRC via other funding agencies (see for an overview).

Nina Baur

(Board Member of the CRC “Re-Figuration of Spaces”, Berlin, Germany)