Research Department: Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development
Project Leader within IRS: Prof. Dr. Gabriela Christmann
Project Team: Kamil Bembnista Dr. Thorsten Heimann
Consortium: Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (Coordination) Polnische Akademie für Wissenschaften
Funding Organization: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Duration: 05/2016 - 12/2018
The aim of the project is to investigate in how far ways of dealing with aquatic phenomena such as, for example, floods in river regions is influenced by cultural knowledge. It focuses on perceptions of potential vulnerability (constructions of vulnerability) and local risk reduction practices (constructions of resilience). The project intends to address an existing research gap that can be identified in the field of research on vulnerability and resilience. There, strongly influenced by human ecology and natural hazards research, the terms “vulnerability” and “resilience” are still conceived as an objective matters of fact. Although this is a legitimate perspective, this ignores that societies, on the basis of their past and present culturally influenced experiences with natural phenomena, may develop their own conceptions of vulnerability and resilience. These culture specific forms of knowledge may finally have consequences for action.
Against this background, the research question of the project is: How are constructions of vulnerability and resilience structured locally? Which role do cultural knowledge constructions of a respective group or society (e.g. language, literature, media) play for its genesis?
Using the example of Odra river regions around Eisenhüttenstadt, Frankfurt/Oder, Słubice and Wrocław we reconstruct how cultural orders of knowledge are established in public and literary media discourses and, if applicable, how they differ. Next, in a methodically complex manner (by means of a population survey and expert interviews) it shall be proofed to what extent respective cultural patterns can also be found in the perceptions of citizens and experts and which consequences they have for local action, e.g. for flood protection.
The research project contributes to basic research as hitherto uncharted discourse theoretical assumptions shall be proofed empirically. Simultaneously, it will also be possible to make assertions about the way in which cultural orders of knowledge can have consequences for concrete local strategies for action.
This project is conducted by a German-Polish research team consisting of sociologist as well as cultural and literary scientists.