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Research AreaECONOMY AND CIVIL SOCIETY

The Research Area examines how spaces are constructed and transformed by interactive, innovative, creative, knowledge-based and entrepreneurial activity. It focuses on the complex interaction of civil society, public and private sector actors. The research focus thus pursues the goal of better understanding socio-spatial transformation processes towards a digitalised knowledge and innovation society as well as the interaction between global processes and their local effects, and to identify the related challenges. Research topics include the emergence and spatial diffusion of new ideas, novel forms of gainful and non-gainful employment, digital social innovations and social initiatives, as well as globalisation processes in the knowledge economy. Through interactive knowledge transfer, the Research Area supports cities and regions in shaping socio-economic transformation processes, increasing their adaptability to overarching developments of globalisation and digitalisation, and developing strategies for dealing with new spatial inequalities. The expertise offered by the Research Area addresses decision makers in politics, businesses and civil society, from the local to the supranational level, who deal with topics of economic development, regional development policy, rural development and innovation promotion as well as higher education policy.

 

Ongoing Lead Project

The lead project of the research focus "Economy and Civil Society" addresses profound transformation processes in knowledge and innovation societies, which in turn are characterised by disruptive events. The lead project "Post-Office" aims to understand the dynamics of change in knowledge-generating cooperation with its disruptive elements and to discuss resulting consequences for urban and rural regions. more

News

Photo: Phil Aicken/unsplash.com, Portrait: Veikko Somerpuro
20. December | 2022 | News
21st IRS International Lecture on Society and Space with Sami Moisio, University of Helsinki

The 21st International Lecture of the IRS addressed the topic of the ‘Colonial Geopolitics of the „Global“ Knowledge Economy’. In the talk, Professor Sami Moisio of the University of Helsinki proposed to debunk economic centered perspectives on the knowledge economy by advancing a geopolitical understanding of the knowledge economy as a political productive ‘technology-force’. Or in other words: as a performative vision of the future which valorizes certain types of knowledge as key drivers of economic growth. This is an important lens to look through, as it can help to highlight how the distribution and control of knowledge underlying the expansion of capitalism – through high technology sectors, start-up entrepreneurs, universities, consultancies, international organizations, nation states, local states etc. – is geographically unevenly distributed. more info

22. September | 2022 | Publication

Climate change is not perceived, understood and evaluated in the same way everywhere. Accordingly, the practices of dealing with it differ considerably. Today, such climate-cultural differences are found less between nation states than between different groups of actors and socio-political coalitions. A new anthology edited by Thorsten Heimann, Jamie Sommer, Margarethe Kusenbach and Gabriela Christmann focuses on such "climate cultural formations" and their great diversity in North America and Europe: from cultures of climate adaptation in rural areas of Southern Europe and among the indigenous population of Northern Europe to culture-specific strategies for more climate protection in German cities or in the southern states of the USA. more info

Events

Reseach Groups

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The Research Group is interested in the interactions between creative processes, work and processes of economic and social change. In this context, local manifestations of dynamics such as digitalisation, social transformation processes and increasing multilocality of gainful employment are investigated. more infos

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The Research Group is emerging from the Leibniz Junior Research Group TRANSEDU, which has been researching the globalisation and commercialisation of higher education since 2018. On this basis, the group pursues a broader research agenda on the globalisation of the knowledge economy. It is interdisciplinary in nature, but locates its contributions primarily in economic and urban geography. more infos

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The Research Group analyses processes of emergence, establishment and dissemination of novel ideas, practices and projects in rural areas, which are referred to as social innovations. more infos