This second annual conference of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: “Processes of Globalization under the Global Condition” analyses the role of actors and their activities in making and changing spaces of action under the global condition in both the past and the present. The conference is part of a larger endeavour of the SFB 1199 at the University of Leipzig to develop a typology of those spatial formats that have emerged under the global condition. Examining different social and historical contexts, the scholars at the SFB first explore the intentions, practices, and imaginations of different groups of actors that lead to the development of spatial formats. Second, they consider how these spatial formats are combined to form complex spatial orders and how this has changed, and continues to change, over time. Third, the scholars investigate the visualization and imagination of already established as well as of alternative spatial formats and orders. The annual conferences will develop the notions of spatial formats and spatial orders as heuristic tools and deploy them for the analysis of concrete historical processes of respatialization.
The second annual conference will focus on practices and processes through which – relatively durable – spatial arrangements are created, maintained, and subverted. Who forges transnational connections and in turn how do these connections have an impact on the making of spatial orders? How are people integrated or socialized into spatial arrangements that have a large global reach or are globally ambitious? Which role does power, the access to resources, and violence play in this regard? Examples from research projects in Leipzig cover, amongst others, the role of market leaders and cultural entrepreneurs in shaping or challenging dominant notions of centre and periphery; the significance of Taiwanese missionaries in linking Asia to Africa; the impact of Latin American gangs in subverting national territories; the appropriation of transnational networks by patients and banking customers in enhancing the efficacy of their market engagement.
We invite scholars to contribute with their own additional case studies for a comparative discussion of practices of spatialization under the global condition. Geography, anthropology, and other disciplines of the social sciences and humanities have developed different approaches to theorizing the role of actors and their actions. We seek to bring these voices together for an intricate understanding of the way human agency comes to bear on the creation and subversion of spatial arrangements under the global condition.
Our notion of space draws on classical theories, such as Henri Lefebvre’s distinction between conceived, perceived, and lived spaces or Michel de Certeau’s theory of space as practice. People historically create concrete social spaces. Their choices are not random and rarely spontaneous. They are encouraged or constrained by powerful institutional arrangements. These might be ideological, social, or material, and might manifest themselves in infrastructures, architecture, maps, instructions, or traditions.
The thematic focus on dialectics between projects of globalization and space-making processes presents us with a tension. As an abstract notion, globalization seems to stand in contrast to the everyday experience of space as an obstacle and/or challenge. In order to act globally, people must expand far beyond the limits of their body-space and act on multiple scales. They mobilize, construct, connect, or subvert a plurality of spaces using techniques and technologies of connectivity. They imagine geographies, produce corridors for the movement of people and objects, and create intersections for reliable translations between locations, nations, or institutions.
By studying global space-making, we move beyond abstract notions of flow and exchange to examine the spatial arrangements that direct and organize flows, determine their speed and scale, and produce interruptions or continuations. Through this lens, “globalization” becomes visible in the plural as a multiplicity of projects of space- and place-making. In addition, with the term “global condition” we address the historical timeframe since the emergence of a particularly intense interaction between different projects of globalization since the early nineteenth century.
We invite contributions from geography, anthropology, history, political science, international relations, economics, religious and literature studies, and related disciplines as well as scholars with diverse area studies specializations. Potential papers may be either theoretical or empirical, or both. Topics could include but are not limited to:
- Theories of practice of global space-making;
- Concepts of actors and agency in various disciplines and their connection to questions of space-making;
- Analysis of institutional arrangements, power structures, or interventions that create spaces for global action;
- Conflicts between different (groups of) actors over competing globalization projects in terms of space-making;
- Analysis of multiple cultural ways of relating to, activating, circumventing, or subverting transnational spaces;
- Social imaginings that frame the way people orient themselves or are oriented in globalizing projects.
The second annual conference will take place from 29 September to 1 October 2017 in Leipzig, Germany. Accepted paper presenters will be offered travel reimbursement. Overnight stay in Leipzig during the conference and meals are paid for as well. There is no conference fee.
Submissions should include a title and a short abstract of the proposed paper of 300–500 words, a short CV, as well as contact details. The submission should be sent to Dr. Steffi Marung (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 March 2017. The selection of papers, decided upon by the SFB Executive Board, will be announced by mid-April and authors are invited to submit draft papers by early September 2017.