The aim of the workshop is to bring together anthropologists, sociologists and geographers from four CENTRAL partner universities to develop a multi-disciplinary shared research perspective on the development of class as a social science concept and as lived practice or ‘culture’ in the context of post-socialist de-industrialisation and the development of service- and platform economy, and to develop a collaborative research agenda.

Starting from the idea that not only political systemic changes into post-socialist cities, but also the changing nature of work in neoliberal economies have affected people’s lives in the past 30 years, the workshop brings together scholars from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and, as a contrasting case, the United Kingdom (where work disappeared and affected class-based communities and practices under capitalism) to explore possibilities for a shared research project, for which we will explore funding options, or graduate students’ group application (Graduiertenkolleg).

Our main questions are:

  1. Can we, as a multi-disciplinary group of scholars, find ways to theorise the interrelation between historically class-based places where people live and work (neighbourhoods, factory sites), their ways of living (habitus) and their resources to organise their lives (or forms of social, economic, cultural and symbolic capital) where industrial work has disappeared and post-industrial landscapes emerged?
  2. Would it make sense to do this through case studies in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the United Kingdom, and what would be propervcases to do so?
  3. Can we together explore how the development of places where factories used to be (into shopping areas, heritage sites, new developments or other) affects how people can or cannot relate to the changed spatial surroundings where work used to be?

For three days in Berlin, we use workshop discussions with two input talks by invited speakers and site visits as well as a public presentation from preliminary results from a students’ research project in Berlin and a public roundtable event as Think& Drink Special at the Georg Simmel Center to explore the possibilities for collaboration, discuss possible funding strategies and provide a final day of intervision for PhD students and advanced MA students from each institution, where they will present their work in progress. For another two days in Prague, we use a mixture of field site discussions and talking/walking with traditional workshop instruments to develop a shared research programme.

  • Partners: Eötvös Loránd University – ELTE (Budapest), Charles University (Prague), Humboldt University Berlin, University of Warsaw
  • Project Lead: Prof. Talja Blokland, Humboldt University Berlin
  • Year: 2020