The publicness of spaces – On the social construction of public spaces.
The dissertation project deals with a main research topic and term of urban sociology – public space. To that end, two considerations serve as starting points for the research.
Firstly, various diagnoses state a transformation of public space and its relationship to private space. These studies indicate, on the one hand, that the relationship between public and private spaces is becoming increasingly ambiguous and, on the other, that different public and private spatial logics overlap. The dissertation aims to argue that, through an understanding of public space in accordance with a sociology of space (cf. Löw 2001), the overlapping and simultaneity of different constructions of space as public and the related negotiations between these constructions of space could be better examined.
Secondly, public space, despite the spatial turn in social sciences (and other disciplines), is often portrayed as a given in literature; for example, in the form of streets or urban parks. Consequently, various analytical dimensions – public spaces as social constructions of space as public, different subjective notions of what constitutes the publicness of spaces as well as the related contested social negotiations – remain underexposed and therewith underexplored.
The dissertation project thus aims to further develop the understanding of public spaces by means of a relational understanding of space as a social process (cf. Löw 2001), in order to investigate how spaces are constructed as public spaces by different social actors. Further, it will be discussed what insights such a concept could, by and large, provide for the analysis of the relationship between public and private spaces.