Darmstadt, 17-18 May 2019

Web Site of the Conference

Proceedings of the Conference

MODSCAPES’ TUB Team accepted session:

Rural Areas in the Post-Socialist Context

Vittoria Capresi, Emily Bereskin
The transition from socialism to capitalism has strongly affected cities, yet the repercussions have had an equal, if not far stronger, impact on rural areas. Many factors, including the socialist rural economy, socialist planning theories, the collectivization of land, and the transfer of town planning schemes onto rural villages entirely reshaped the rural areas with consequences that are clearly visible today. After 1989/91, rural areas had to face completely new challenges and reinvent old systems in order to survive within the new capitalist economy. Today, thirty years after the collapse of state socialism, the impact is more present than ever: rural areas are marked by a widespread shrinkage of villages, the general absence of planning strategies for the rehabilitation of abandoned or empty buildings, and in some cases, agricultural policies that have led to the vast expansion of monoculture crops. The scholarly study of post-socialism has largely focused on urban case-studies, sidelining phenomena currently occurring in rural areas and villages, and which are rooted in socialist political administration and economy. In this session we therefore seek to open up the central themes of the Three Decades of Post-Socialist Transition conference to the investigation of rural areas and rural/urban relationships. Questions we wish to raise include:

  • What is the impact of socialist rural planning today?
  • What is the impact of the relation between urban and rural in the past and today?
  • How has the transition affected agricultural practices and policies?
  • How are politics of memory-making and heritage shaped in rural areas?
  • What is the relationship between the built environment and nature in post-socialist rural
  • areas?
  • How might themes such as tourism, branding, and gentrification, typically theorized in relation to urban areas, be conceptualized or play out in post-socialist rural settings?

Josef Bernard, Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague
„There is a need to restore services and grocery stores in our countryside…“: Discourse on rural peripheralisation in Czechia against the background of rural socio-economic development

Martti Veldi, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu / MODSCAPES
Collapse of a Soviet Estonian kolkhoz: cowboy capitalism and redistribution of land and wealth

Alexander Sheludkov, Institute of Geography, RAS, Moscow
Spatial Patterns of Rural Population Dynamics During the Transition: A Case Study of Tyumen Oblast, Russia

Lana Lovrenčić, Lana, Office for Photography / Ured za fotografiju, Zagreb
Memorialisation of Authentic Historical Localities, People’s Liberation Struggle in non-urban areas

After the collapse of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the former socialist countries’ inclusion into the competitive global economies advanced as both; temporally and spatially uneven processes. These uneven processes presented myriad diversities, thereby implying significant shifts and high levels of creativity in finding ways of adapting to new forms of socio-political realities, which in turn offered a multitude of opportunities for urban research. Subsequently, scholarly attention has been paid particularly on examining interconnections between historical-, sociological-, and market-related aspects of transitioning processes. However, the exact implications of their spatial transformations have been largely absent within systematic research. Contrary to the often more adaptable socio-political structures of cities, built urban environment requires more time to adapt to changes and consequently reflect the new ideological concepts. This thereby warrants thirty years of comprehensive transition (1989-2019) as an optimum point of departure for undertaking a thorough and in-depth reflection. Hence, the international conference “Three Decades of Post-socialist Transition” seeks to bring together leading urban academics to discuss issues of post-socialist transition and a multitude of its effects on built urban environment from diverse perspectives. In addition, we also aim to challenge and advance both our knowledge and practice around the complex links within the neoliberal development agenda, socio-political changes, post-socialist identity formation, representation of cities and the urban space.

Location and venue
The conference will take place in Technische Universität Darmstadt. The sessions will be held on its city centre campus. The main conference venue will be the listed heritage building- the Altes Hauptgebäude (the Old Main University Building, S1|03, Hochschulstraße 1).

Vittoria Capresi vittoria.capresi@tu-berlin.de
Emily Bereskin e.bereskin@tu-berlin.de