понедельник, 27 мая 2013 г.

New Geographies of Central and Eastern Europe. Socio-Spatial Polarization and Peripheralization in a Rapidly Changing Region

1. Suggested Draft Title
New Geographies of Central and Eastern Europe. Socio-Spatial Polarization and Peripheralization in a Rapidly Changing Region

2. Thematic Concept
The eastward enlargement of the European Union, increased globalisation and internationalisation leading to a speedy economic transformation, the demographic change and its socio-economic impacts as well as the recent financial and economic crisis have brought about fundamental changes of the socio-spatial structures in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). These rapid changes are producing “New Geographies of Europe”, analysed in terms of changing spatial structures and relations. Researchers have grasped these developments in terms of centralisation and decentralisation, convergence and divergence, or inclusion and exclusion. In doing so, many approaches (implicitely or explicitely) build on theoretical ideas linked to the concepts of polarisation or peripheralisation which shall be further explored in this volume.

Following the end of the Cold War and the 2004/7 European enlargement, CEE countries and regions have witnessed rapid political, socio-economic and spatial changes. Structural analyses have stressed the emergence of new geographies of this region in three dimensions: First, there are profound differences in development between urban core regions and peripheral rural regions with the urban regions performing much better.  Second, CEE countries demonstrate strong trends towards polarisation between their main metropolitan area (usually the national capital) and the rest of the country, and  third, an East-Westgradient can often be found within the countries with the western parts performing better than their eastern regions. Hence, today only a few strong economic engines stand out against a growing number of regions with low economic dynamics which become perceived as less attractive locations for people and businesses.

Even though spatial disparities in CEE have been intensifying for more than two decades, little is known about the socio-spatial developments leading to these geographical changes. This edited volume therefore aims at closing this research gap. By putting the concepts polarisation and peripheralization at its very centre, it primarily focuses on the multifaceted processes of emerging centers and peripheries as well as processes of adaptation. Polarisation, in this context, refers to forces and developments directed to a spatial center or core and the prominence of such a “pole”. Peripheralization, by contrast, denotes multidimensional processes of marginalization and shrinkage that exhibit economic, demographic, political, social and cultural components. Both, polarization and peripheralization, must be considered as multi-level issues implying that spaces are embedded in multiple, partially overlapping processes of centralisation or peripheralization on a global, European, national, regional and local level. Space, in this context, cannot merely be seen as the result of “objective” economic, technological or demographic processes. New Geographies also emerge as images and metaphors (e.g. “leading” and “lagging” regions) and become immanent parts of political and societal debates.

With a focus on processual concepts of polarisation and peripheralisation, this volume adopts an interdisciplinary perspective and puts its particular focus on four main features of sociospatial polarization and peripheralization:

(1) Demographic change and economic transformation. Contributions to this field should consider processes of demographic change as well as economic transformation in their structural dimensions and discuss their impact on development in selected CEE regions.

(2) Core-Periphery Relations. Contributions on core-periphery relations are invited to aim at understanding how core areas and peripheries emerge and how they are reproduced in the context of discourse.

(3) Processes of Urban Adaptation. A third topic of the book concentrates on processes of centralisation and deals with the question how city regions adapt to the challenges caused by globalisation, internationalisation and Europeanization.

(4) Social and Political Responses to Peripheralization. Contributions focussing on local and regional responses to peripheralization address the scopes of actions used by local and regional subjects and actors that are facing peripheralization and their impact on regional development.

3. Process

We invite contributions from human geography and the social sciences dealing with questions related to the four above-mentioned topics. Papers should be suited to advance theoretical thinking in the field and should be based on empirical research conducted in CEE or with relevance to CEE. Outstanding conceptual contributions are also possible.
All contributors will be invited to participate in a scientific workshop to be held in late September/early October 2013 in Leipzig, Germany.
Please send your one-page abstracts to K_Ehrlich@IfL-Leipzig.de until 15 June 2013.
You are also welcome to contact the editors and workshop organizers in beforehand.

Thilo Lang, Sebastian Henn, Kornelia Ehrlich, Wladimir Sgibnev
Institut für Länderkunde
Leipzig, 8 May 2013

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