Working Group

"What if not Metropolis? Questions about the Central and Eastern European Cities"

(XIV Polish Sociological Congress, 8-11 September 2010, Kraków)


is organized by the Poznań Division of the Polish Sociological Association, and Sociology Department of Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań. 

Responsible for organization: Marek Nowak, PhD; Piotr Luczys.

Marek Nowak, e-mail:


The organizers of the English-language session on urban sociology wish to invite papers from researchers studying the issues of Central and Eastern European Cities. Abstracts (of no more than 400 words), together with a short biographical note should be submitted by email before April 10th, 2010.



The city gathers and personifies the processes which shape the contemporary world. Saskia Sassen, in the introduction of her most famous book The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo demonstrated the existence of tendencies to decrease the correlation between development of states and the development of network interdependence between the main metropolitan centers of the globalized world.  

Twenty years after the publication of the above-mentioned idea (and without any intention to call it into question generally), it seems to be important to supplement this “monochromatic” picture, and ask questions concerning the space outside the main knots of changing investment goods and information, and concerning the problem of contemporary urban areas outside the context of metropolitanization.

As we suggest, discussion would focus on the differences between the contemporary kinds of cities. However these differences concern not only the level of “networking” (for example the measured level of participation in the European or global economy), but also refer to the type of participation or even the character of the lack of participation. The “separateness” of the Central and Easter European City could be put as the question, but it may be the beginning of a different understanding of network relations, of a different specificity of information flows, of a process of generating innovations, and as a consequence, a different kind of social relations. To this we can add qualities which are very hard to find in mainstream interpretations, particularly in the linear context of the metropolis.

The tendency towards the creation of a new global status quo (based on the slogan, “there is no urban alternative to the metropolis”) may show the need for the resuscitation of a “nomic” proto-urban condition, which can be found as a way to distinguish the features of developing Central and Eastern European cities from the concept of the hegemony of the metropolis, and of the hegemony of the modern nation state.

The organizers of the working group wish to animate collaboration, and to initiate the discussion—20 years after the launch of marketization processes—on the condition of Central and Eastern European cities. We hope that in the dialogue with researchers from various countries, it will be possible to find and systematize knowledge of the city, and to discuss the development opportunities for urban areas in our region.

The working group will proceed in English. 

We intend to organize the group (in relation to the above-mentioned problems) in eight particular subjects:

  1. The identity of the Eastern and Central European city, and its developmental potentials;
  2. The history and differences of cities in the Eastern and Central European area;
  3. The position of Cities Outside the Metropolis (COM) in relation to globalized relations in the world-system;
  4. The City Outside the Metropolis as a sphere of cultural development, a sphere of economic investment and innovation (in a wide sense);
  5. The “public sphere”, and the problem of citizens’ identity in Cities Outside the Metropolis;
  6. Endogenous differences between cities (in the Eastern and Central European region);
  7. Developmental opportunities and threats in the 21st century (prognostic propositions);
  8. Opportunities for and development of urban sociology in Central and Eastern European countries; the  perspective of the past twenty years.



Dear colleagues,
we wish to inform you that your abstracts has been accepted for the discussion group “What if not Metropolis? Questions about Central and Eastern European Cities”, at the 14th Sociological Congress in Kraków (8–11 September 2010).

The list of participants, and abstracts:

P. Domagała (PhD student, University of Wroclaw and Technical University of Berlin), Theoretical conditions for the process of gentrification occurrence in post-socialist countries (PDF)
A. Haase, K. Gro
ßmann, D. Rink (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig; Germany), Pathways of residential change in postsocialist second-order cities: comparing neighbourhood trajectories (PDF)
Hömke (PhD student, ETH Zurich; Switzerland), International, but not global: The Neisse urban area (PDF)
K. Nawratek (PhD, University of Plymouth; UK), Does urban structure matter? Contemporary capitalism in a post-socialist city (PDF)
P. Pluciński (PhD, Adam Mickiewicz University; Poland), Urban Conflicts in Functional Perspective (PDF)
R. Richter (MA, Universität Leipzig; Germany), The powerful imagination of proper life (PDF)
K. Schucknecht (PhD, University of Chemnitz; Germany), The Positioning of East Central European Cities in the Context of European Cohesion (PDF)
A. Vosyliute (PhD, Lithuanian Centre for Social Research, Vilnius; Lithuania), Vilnius: changing identity (PDF)

Please note: The list could be change till 29th of April.



XIV Polish Sociological Congress

On September 8-11, 2010, the XIV Polish Sociological Congress organized by the Polish Sociological Association together with the Jagiellonian University will take place in Kraków. The congress theme and title, “What’s happening to the society?” touches upon the changes and uncertainty that we encounter in today’s ever-changing world.

Three plenary sessions, four symposia, and 85 working groups, together with an opening lecture and a number of poster sessions and ad hoc events will be held during the congress, covering all the fields of contemporary sociology

Working groups will cover a variety of fields of social studies, including major themes of Polish and European societal problems: cultural changes, social memory, religion and morality, social policy, family, gender studies, politics and power, civil society, public sphere and public discourse, regional development, urban studies, social theory and research, and much more. 

For more information Polish Sociological Congress, useful links and addresses, visit the official website of the Congress at