Bisherige Aktivitäten

The study group, which gathered for the very first time in December 2014, is led by anthropologist Prof. Ger Duijzings and historian Prof. Rainer Liedtke. The group explores concepts of "social sorting", discussing relevant seminal theoretical texts and applying the notion of social sorting to the research projects carried out by members of the study group, including doctoral students and post-docs.

Aktivitäten im Kalenderjahr 2017:

At the first meeting of the year in February 2016 we discussed Christopher R. Browning's and Lewis H. Siegelbaum's text "Frameworks for social engineering: Stalinist schema of identification and the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft" (2008). In May, Katalin Tóth presented her Ph.D. research under the working title "I love Budapest. I bike Budapest?", an ethnography of urban cycling. In June, Maren Hachmeister continued with a presentation of her Ph.D. project on "Self organisation in socialism: the organisation of welfare in Pilsen and Cracow in comparison".

From 8 to 9 July, the study group met for a two-day intensive workshop at the Akademie Schloss Spindlhof in Regenstauf on the topic of "Property in the Balkans", looking at it from an anthropological and historical perspective. Two guest speakers were invited: the historian Elisaveth Kontogiorgi from the Academy of Athens who spoke about "The politics of settlement of refugees in Greece, 1914-1930" and the anthropologist Stefan Dorondel from the Romanian Academy who talked about "Environmental aspects of post-socialist land relations: case studies from the Lower Danube Floodplain". Maria Zarifi, the Greek Guest Professor at the Chair of European History at the University of Regensburg for the academic year 2015/16 offered comments on both papers; the participants of the study group related aspects of their own work to the topic of the workshop by giving brief statements. In the evening a Romanian feature film, Dogs (2016), dealing with property restitution in the Romanian countryside, by director Bogdan Mirică, was screened.

In October, Oana Sorescu presented her Ph.D. work on the "Evolution of testamentary behaviour in eighteenth-century Sibiu". Finally in December, another workshop on "Spatial segregation in post- socialist societies" took place in Regensburg, for which two guest speakers were invited, Bakar Berekashvili, University of Tiblisi, Georgia, who spoke about the evolution of the Georgian education system in relation to forms of spatial segregation in the capital Tbilisi, and Yulia Oreshina, Warsaw University, who discussed her work on urban transformations, ghettoisation and zoning of post-socialist cities, mostly drawing on the examples of Lviv and Tbilisi. — Ein Bericht von Ger Duijzings

Aktivitäten im Kalenderjahr 2015:

Social sorting is understood as a key aspect of modernity, comprising bureaucratic and automated processes of categorization that are routinely applied to "sort out" large sets of people. Although sorting processes can be observed in many contexts, involving the management of complicated flows, when applied to people, these processes decide about their inclusion nor exclusion regarding citizenshiprights, entitlements to public services, humanitarian aid and charity, to name just a few relevant areas. These practices are instrumental in sustaining the legal and political order: they emerge from judicial norms and their application, which are translated into protocols, facilitated, enhanced and co-produced by certain technologies that help to define, identify, profile, and channel relevant categories and groups of people. Sorting practices are diverse and change over time, from the paper-based and mechanical forms of the past to the sophisticated digitized, algorithmic and biometrica ltechniques of today. They are employed in different political contexts (the colonial state, nation-state, welfare and neoliberal "deregulated" state), recurrently functioning as technologies of control, entailing discriminatory, exclusionary, and discretionary practices of authorities who have the power to decide.

The rise of sorting practices is also linked to processes of globalization and the increase in flows of goods, people, and information, gaining ground in other sectors as well (retailing, banking, security). Here we discuss the origins and development of these practices, their social and political implications, technological basis and material and spatial repercussions. At the first meeting in January, PhD student Katalin Tóth presented her research on the growing cycling movement in Budapest, a grass-roots civil society initiative which started with a large cycling protest in 2004 culminating in the establishment of an official bike-sharing system in 2014. In her talk she touched upon the importance of social media in the emergence of movements and the growing interest in sustainability, urban planning and public transport. The regulation of traffic flows in the post-socialist metropolis is one of the areas in which the concept of "social sorting" can be usefully applied.

The second study group meeting in May focused again on public transport issues, that is, on the mixed fortunes of electric (tram and trolleybus) systems in Ukraine and Romania. The PhD student Andrey Vozyanov presented his research plans on these "infrastructures in trouble", applying the concept of social sorting to passengers, in particular to social differentiations and classifications which bring about special categories of people that enjoy concessionary fares. Repeatedly, the study group's discussions led to a consideration of how researchers themselves sort and classify: the designation of social groups and categories is crucial in our research designs, thereby presenting certain realities as ordered in a particular way. This topic came up for example during the third meeting of the study group in July, when Dr. Friederike Kind-Kovács presented her research on the use of visual images (photos taken by doctors for instance) in child relief efforts in Hungary between the World Wars.

In November the group organized the public event "Von den Rändern Europas" (From the Fringes of Europe) in Regensburg, a 3-day retrospective of the work of Serbian film maker Želimir Žilnik in the Andreasstadel Kino. Co-organized with Donumenta and the student association Fachschaft Südost, a selection of Žilnik’s films was shown, including his latest "Logbook Serbistan" (2015), a docu-drama showing the fate of refugees passing through the Balkans, followed by a Q&A session and an open workshop with the filmmaker on sorting processes occurring at Europe’s borders. In this meeting, Dr. Čarna Brković reported about her field research in a Roma refugee camp in Montenegro, discussing the far-reaching consequences of contradictory legal categorizations. At its last meeting in December, the fellow PhDr. Jaromír Mrňka, who recently joined the group, introduced his work on political and state violence across subsequent regimes in Czech society,1935 – 56. — Ein Bericht von Ger Duijzings