Re-Figuration of Spaces: Polycontextural Spatial Arrangements

2nd International Conference of the Collaborative Research Centre 1265 at TU Berlin on February 26–27, 2020

The theoretical discourse of the Collaborative Research Centre 1265 “Re-Figuration of Spaces” focuses on three key concepts - translocalization, mediatization and polycontexturalization - with which we assume to be able to describe the quality of current spatial production more precisely. Among these, the concept of polycontexturalization is the most associative and the one that still needs thorough empirical research and validation. Therefore, this concept will be discussed in more depth at our second international conference. Five projects from our Collaborative Research Centre will participate with contributions conceptualizing polycontexturalization in terms of its empirical relevance, inviting debate with international theoretical and practical perspectives from nine external researchers.

According to Niklas Luhmann, polycontexturalization is not action-relevant for individual systems, because each system refers to one context only. Thus, polycontexturalization remains a meta-phenomenon that can only be recognized with the help of second-order observations. Contrary to Luhmann, we understand polycontexturalization as the increasing heterogenization of references to action, impacting on the constitution of space, and with a direct significance for organizations and actors. Individual spaces can both be produced by references to different contexts and require the synthesis of these contexts by the actors or producers of space.

We seek to further develop the concept of polycontexturalization from the etymological meaning of „contexture“ as a process of weaving or interacting with regard to the simultaneity of different socio-spatial relations. For the polycontexturalization of action references, we propose testing the usefulness of the reflexive analysis of relational perceptivity, as practiced, for example, in postcolonial thinking, but also in intersectional theory. Here we see the need for a more in-depth discussion, preferably with reference to the empirical material collected in the projects.

Organization: Jörg Stollmann/ Gunter Weidenhaus
Contact: Nina Elsemann

Further informations and programme (PDF)