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Summer School - Public Spaces in Transition

Marie Jahoda Summer School of Sociology

Venue: Vienna, Austria
Period: July 5-9, 2014
Application deadline: March 31, 2014


Public spaces are transformed through a multiplicity of processes and dynamics. As a plural concept, “public spaces” refer to diversity and heterogeneity as the expressions and outcomes of social differentiation and inequalities, and not only as a potent planning concept. In turn, “in transition” reflects the processual properties of public spaces as figurations, exceeding mere transition. Therefore, research in the transformation of public spaces is to focus on “urban public spaces” as fields and products of social interaction and (actors’) constellations in which the social measures of globalised capitalism are materialised – at the (macro) level of strategic positioning among multinational enterprises and organisations, the (meso) level of reproduction of social and symbolic structures and the (micro) level of heterogeneous life-worlds.

The Marie Jahoda Summer School of Sociology provides an academic frame for a deeper and interdisciplinary understanding of these complex processes. The faculty consists of internationally distinguished teachers and researchers in urban sociology, geography, politics and social anthropology. Faculty members will give both lectures and feedback on PhD projects, participating students are invited to present. For PhD students, the Summer School is an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss theoretical and methodological issues. Field trips to various Viennese neighbourhoods will be offered.

The Summer School will be hosted by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Vienna, and is funded by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF).


The Marie Jahoda Summer School of Sociology is organised as a combination of lectures, students' presentations, urban explorations by local urban researchers and plenary discussions. Students will be asked to submit their papers beforehand and present them during the course in order to receive extensive feedback from eminent faculty members and other participants. The Summer School will be held in English, all applicants are to demonstrate a high level of spoken and written English.

The Summer School is intended for PhD students whose doctoral projects take up its core themes. Contributions will be either theoretical or empirical. Applicants should have a background in sociology, social and cultural anthropology or closely related fields and should already be enrolled in a PhD programme. The course is open to about 20-25 international PhD students.

Topics and Lecturers

Urban public spaces as a field of social interaction and actors
Prof. Erik Swyngedouw, University of Manchester (July 5th, 2014)

Privatisation and the commercialisation of public space
Prof. Judit Bodnár, Central European University (July 6th, 2014)

Inequalities and poverty in the city
Prof. Yuri Kazepov, University of Urbino (July 7th, 2014)

Urban public spaces as laboratories for multi-ethnic subjectivities, multi-cultural identities and diaspora formation
Prof. Sophie Watson, Open University (July 8th, 2014)

Urban exploration as a method, excursion through the 16. district of Vienna
Dr. Elke Krasny, Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (July 8th, 2014)

Reclaiming the city – new urban movements
Prof. Margit Mayer, Free University Berlin (July 9th, 2014)

Application Procedure

Applicants are asked to submit their CV (max. 2 pages) and a description of their PhD project (max. 2 pages) to
The application deadline is March 31, 2014.

Evaluation will be based on the congruity of applications with the topics of the Summer School. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by April 7, 2014. Participants will submit their papers of presentation (15 pages + references) no later than June 10, 2014.
Participants will receive a certificate of the University that confirms 6 ECTS points as equivalent to the amount of work at the Summer School.
The attendance fee is €100 including social dinner. Participants must cover their own travel costs. The organising committee will assist in finding accomodation.

The Summer School will award up to three travel grants to particularly talented students, preferably from universities and research institutes with limited structural resources. The grant selection process will be based on principles of the Equal Opportunity Commission of the University of Vienna. Applicants must include a brief description of the reasons for their application (not exceeding 400 words).


Information & contacts

Vienna University


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