Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft
04.06. - 07.06.2019

CfA - Investigating Space(s): Current Theoretical and Methodological Approaches: Part 3 – Topologies - IRS Spring Academy, Erkner, near Berlin

Stichtag für Abstracts: 24.02.2019

Website der Veranstaltung aufrufen

Join us for the IRS Spring Academy for doctoral and early postdoctoral researchers

Investigating Space(s): Current Theoretical and Methodological Approaches: Part 3 – Topologies

4 - 7 June 2019 

Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) in Erkner, near Berlin

In the past two decades the interdisciplinary field between spatial and social sciences has undergone an extraordinarily dynamic development with a high potential for innovation. On the one hand, many social-scientific disciplines performed a “spatial turn” and became more interested in integrating spatial concepts and terminology. On the other hand, disciplines like human geography or spatial planning, understand space less as an exclusive object of analysis and instead emphasize a “spatial perspective” as a shared ontological ground. This has opened up a broad “trading zone” within which novel conceptualizations of space and spatiality are negotiated in an inter-disciplinary field. Against this background, the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) together with different academic partners and supported by the Volkswagen Foundation organizes a series of three successive Spring Academies entitled “Investigating Space(s): Current Theoretical and Methodological Approaches”.

Each event focuses on different aspects of the emergent thriving field. The first two events already took place – 2017 on “Temporality and Procedurality”; 2018 on “Virtuality and Socio-Materiality”.

The final event on “Topologies” is addressed with this call for applications and will take place from 4 to 7 June 2019.

The Design Research Lab, Berlin University of the Arts will act as a local cooperation partner in 2019.

Part 3 on “Topologies”
The envisaged event is wrapped around the observation that, for many years, social-scientific spatial research has hardly made use of the classical geographic distinction between “space” and “place”. The majority of human geographers and representatives from adjacent social sciences prefer spatial analyses (around concepts like territory, scale or relational approaches) while the term place is much less employed. Place is a cumbersome concept for scientific analysis as it highlights idiosyncratic qualities, rather than general features, subjective experiences rather than objective truths. Yet, place was never completely dismissed as a concept and has experienced several revivals. More recently, for instance, practices of scientific knowledge creation have received enhanced attention in how they are performed in particular local contexts. Paradoxically, practices that constitute the core of globalization can best be accessed empirically, if they are observed on the site where they are performed. Not only the individual places (or: topoi) have been of interest but increasingly also constellations of places (or: topologies), be it virtually inter-connected places of shared practices, social innovations that are more or less readily adopted by local stakeholders or mobile policies that are or are not transferred from place to place.

Places, or topoi, can be described in terms of their internal temporality, historical roots, symbolic representations or experiential qualities. Webs of interrelated places, or topologies, pose questions of dis-/similarities, accessibility and connectivity. The objective of this year’s IRS Spring Academy is to explore the most recent revival of places, to discuss new conceptualizations of place and to develop further research methods for empirical studies of both, topoi and topologies.

The overarching goal of the IRS Spring Academy is to enable junior researchers from the social sciences to identify relevant research gaps, to encourage them to use a spatial perspective in their analyses and to learn from leading experts in the field about theoretical approaches and innovative methods for empirical work. Participants will have the opportunity to present their projects in paper pitch formats and to access leading experts for one-on-one consultancies. We therefore cordially invite doctoral and early postdoctoral researchers in the social sciences, geography and history to join us for an interesting program to discuss their own research with internationally leading scholars and their peers.

The IRS Spring Academy combines well-tried and proven formats such as lectures and seminars with less common formats such as doing-research workshops, paper pitches, or academic speed networking. It offers various possibilities to exchange ideas, to discuss current concepts and methodological approaches, as well as to getting feedback on one’s own research projects from leading scholars in the field.

:: download Call for Applications– the call closes on 24 February 2019

Keynote Speakers

Prof Dr Merje Kuus | Department of Geography, The University of British Columbia, Canada

• Prof Richard Rodger | School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, Great Britain

• Roel Rutten, PhD | Department of Organization Studies, Tilburg University, The Netherlands


• Dr Harald Engler | IRS

• Dr Bianca Herlo | Berlin University of the Arts, Design Research Lab

• Prof Dr Oliver Ibert | IRS

• Prof Dr Gesche Joost | Berlin University of the Arts, Design Research Lab

Dr Jana M. Kleibert | IRS

• Dr Monika Motylinska | IRS

• Prof Dr Jörg Niewöhner | IRI THESys, Humboldt-Universiät zu Berlin

• Dr Cristina Temenos, PhD | Department of Geography and Manchester Urban Institute, University of Manchester, Great Britain


Oliver Ibert

Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Spacer (IRS), Flakenstraße 29-31, 15537 Erkner
Design Research Lab, Berlin University of the Arts, Einsteinufer 43, 10587 Berlin

For inquiries please contact Karina Böhm:
:: phone: +49 3362 793-204
:: springacademyleibniz-irsde