Infrastructure, migration and transfer of knowledge

Gabčíkovo Waterworks, picture credits: Arnošt Štanzel

This research area examines regional social and cultural practices and the infrastructure required for these. Research topics include how people move within an area, how knowledge is transferred between people and how individuals enter into relationships of mutual exchange. How do they perceive the space and their natural environment? Which patterns do they follow when appropriating physical space for socio-economic use?

How people appropriate a physical space with its specific climatic and topographic characteristics is a key question in this area: only after communication links and infrastructure have been established does action and interaction become possible.

History of the environment and infrastructure from a cultural and socio-historical perspective sheds new light on the importance of imperial, national and regional as well as linguistic borders and the reconfigurations of these borders in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. A central question in view of the multiple changes made up until the very recent past. Research topics therefore involve territorial integration or disintegration, cultural and social dimensions of the use of natural areas and the psychological basis for regional development.

Migration is a further focus point. Major and differing migration processes have marked Eastern and Southeastern Europe over the last two centuries, creating ideal ground for migration research.Intensive migration has given the region significant social momentum as well as many links with other parts of the world, influencing linguistic development and the collective sense of identity. A further important topic is transfer of knowledge, here the content and practice of these processes are themselves as much subject to investigation as the consequences this distribution of knowledge has.

Actors within this web of relations can only operate within existing power structures and according to their own influence. The analysis of possible spheres of action, taking into account limits imposed by inflexible structures, forms a further topic of investigation in this area.