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Call for Papers - Loss and (re)Construction of Public Space in Post-Soviet Cities

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

Deadline for submitting full papers: October 1, 2014


The importance of public space as a site for power and resistance, facilitator of social exchange or a stage for art and performance has been long acknowledged in the academic literature. We understand public space as “all areas that are open and accessible to all members of the public in a society, in principle, though not necessarily in practice” (Orum & Neal, 2010). The purpose of this call for papers is to critically analyse the applicability and the importance of the term in a post-Soviet context. As public spaces host and reflect social and political cleavages, observing transformation of public spaces can be particularly helpful for understanding multiple and protracted transformation processes in post-Soviet societies. So far, however, changes in the meaning, design, use and negotiation of public space in post-Soviet cities remains to be terraincognita – besides notable exceptions such as the edited volume on ‘Urban Spaces after Socialism’ (Darieva & Kaschuba, 2011)). This special issue aims to fill this gap in the literature through exploring the tension between the loss and (re)construction of urban public space in post-Soviet cities, focusing on the agents of change, their practices and institutional settings that shaped loss and (re)construction of  public space.

Guest editors: Lela Rekhviashvili, Carola Neugebauer

Eligible topics for the conference

We propose to understand the contested understandings and differential experiences of public space through a focus on agents of change, their practices and institutional settings that play on the loss and (re)construction of public space.

  • Who are the collective and individual actors that participate in loss and (re)construction of public space?
  • What are their interests, agendas and visions concerning design, accessibility and use of public space?
  • What are the practices that different actors rely on? (E.g. How are the decisions made concerning the privatization of public space? How do governments communicate modernisation agendas with the citizens? What is the repertoire of contesting specific changes in public space? What types of negotiation (if any) are held among different stakeholders? What are the daily practices of the marginalised groups that transform the meaning and shape of public space?)
  • What are the formal and informal institutions which regulate the privatization of public space?
  • Which institutions granted the citizens’ access to the public space as well as rights to contest undesired changes? How did institutional changes affect the negotiation of opposing interests in public spaces?

More info available here .

Guidelines for submission

We encourage empirical and/or theoretical contributions from different disciplines to enhance a fruitful dialogue concerning urban processes in general and transformation of public spaces in particular. We welcome single as well as multiple/comparative case studies questioning the meaning and transformation of urban space and emerging distinction between public and private, emphasising overtime continuities and discontinuities and cross case similarities and dissimilarities. Guidelines can be found here.
Submissions to be made via ScholarOne here by October 1st 2014.


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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy


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