The City in the Spotlight: Methodological and Epistemological Challenges for Studying Urban Governance - Call for applications

The Centre for Comparative History and Political Science // 15-20 April 2018, Perm, Russia

Call for applications

The Centre for Comparative History and Politics at Perm State University, together with the Ukrainian Researchers Society, the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, and RWTH Aachen University invite qualified Ph.D./C. Sc. students to take part in the international spring school on urban governance, organized within the framework of the TRIPAR ? Shifting Paradigms project funded by Volkswagen Foundation.

The built environments of contemporary cities continue to change rapidly: physical infrastructure adjusts to new economic and technological realities; new institutions and governance tools create novel interfaces between urban dwellers and authorities; the digitalization forms new layers of urban immaterialities. These transformations trigger new actors (e.g. local residents, civic activists, NGOs, and even scholars) to claim their share of the ?right to the city? across various political, cultural and economic contexts. With multiple forces behind the transformation of the (post)modern metropolis and its periphery, the research within the urban studies field becomes increasingly difficult if not unfeasible without collaboration across disciplines.

How to tackle the methodological and epistemological challenges of contemporary urban studies? Is there a way to establish a non-hierarchical dialogue between different disciplines, scholarly cultures, and methodological approaches? How can insights from extensive, qualitative fieldwork be combined with quantitative studies? How to track changes in urban governance across time and space? Which innovative methodologies (fieldwork experiments, mobile methods, digital humanities approaches, mapping and big data analyses) may usefully contribute to studies of urban governance? And how can scholars collaborate productively within diverse research teams? Apart from this set of questions, the spring school in Perm also aims at bringing politicians, planning practitioners, and activists engaged in the formation and contestation of urban space together to discuss local practices of participation and urban governance.

We invite prospective researchers to join the participants of ?The City in the Spotlight? spring school in order to respond to methodological and theoretical challenges that arise from the following topics:

Urban planning and governance, their local embeddedness and impact on the urban environment Participation and protest, networking and informal relations ? local practices of contesting and customizing the urban space Divergence/convergence of stakeholders? perspectives on aims and means of urban governance Technology in and digitalization of cities Values, norms and interests ? the normativity of the urban governance Representation and visibility of interest groups in urban space Applications are welcome across the disciplinary fields, including sociology, planning and architecture, political science, anthropology, geography, economics, history and engineering. The geographical scope is limited to Europe/Eurasia.

The spring school offers:

Methodological training
High-profile keynote lectures
Intense discussions of methods and theories Roundtable and panel discussions An exchange about fieldwork experiences 
Application deadline: 1 February 2018

Venue: Perm State University, Russia

Eligibility: Ph.D./Candidate of Science students

Terms of participation:

There is no participation fee for the summer school. Catering and accommodation are provided for all accepted participants. Travel grants of 200 Euro for young researchers from Russia and 300 Euro for external participants are available on a competitive basis. The number of participants is limited to 10 young researchers. The hosting institution will also assist foreign scholars in obtaining a visa without reimbursement for the visa fee.

Application packages include a one-page CV and a two-page description of the research project in English. Applications should be sent to with copy to  Selected participants will be notified by 1 March 2018.