Nina Baur (2017)
Historical Social Research, December
Abstract. Both Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu argue that both the research question and social theory should guide methodology and methods. Both theorists reason that any social theory should keep in mind the importance of macro-level structures; micro-level interactions and social change. In order to fully grasp patterns of social change, social scientists would require a complex causal processed-oriented micro-macro-analysis. Because in research practice, it is almost never possible to implement the full methodology, both Elias and Bourdieu used a short-cut by using a six-step methodology, consisting of (1) self-reflexivity and detachment; (2) explicating the theoretical perspective; (3) a reconstructing of the figuration’s/field’s socio-genesis; (4) a reconstructing of the micro-level; (5) a reconstructing of the macro-level; and (6) a theoretical synopsis. By using an example on local variation of economic practices, the paper illustrates this five-step methodology and concludes with further questions for future research.
Link to the draft via Researchgate
Nina Baur & LindaHering (2017)
Human Figurations: Long-term Perspectives on the Human Condition 6(2)
Abstract. Reactions to global crises vary locally, and a specific reaction to a particular crisis does not only depend on structural aspects (such as a city’s placement in the world system), but also on local economic practices. Based on concepts from the ‘Economics of Convention’, we argue that people handle complexity and contingency in everyday life by drawing on knowledge of approved routines and practices of how things are typically done. This knowledge is highly context-specific. Adopting the idea of the ‘intrinsic logic of cities’, which tells us that cities create and maintain their own distinct constellations of knowledge and modesof expression that are reflected in their everyday practices, we conceptualise local economy as a figuration that develops procedurally and depends on the hidden structures that over time become inscribed into urban spaces. Comparable to a series of palimpsests, one can track the history of the conditions that pre-structure this figuration over time. Using material from a comparative study carried out in four cities – two in Germany (Dortmund and Frankfurt), two in the United Kingdom (Birmingham and Glasgow) –, we show that the specific reactions to a crisis and the ability of coping with it can only be grasped by understanding a city’s past.
Link to the article
John R. Bryson, Rachel Ann Mulhall, Meng Song & Richard Kenny (2017)
Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 10(3), p. 455–469.
Abstract. Cities are places of incremental decision-making involving complex negotiations that produce accumulations of urban assets and path dependency. The ownership, control and co-ordination of urban land and its transformation into an investment asset is a key link between economic interests and urban activities that come together in site-based “financialisation fixes”. A financialisation fix combines a development solution for a specific site with a financial model creating a locally embedded asset. This article examines how land tenure (freehold versus leasehold rights) influences the transformation of a city and the role a local authority plays in the financial management of land assets. This includes an analysis of the application of financialisation to urban assets and the first tax increment financing scheme of 1875.
Link to the article