Ongoing Research Projects


Cities in (Climate-)Change?

Climate policy has for decades been primarily an international and a national concern. Only recently have municipalities explicitly become involved in climate change governance and are establishing themselves as independent actors. In European and nationally funded programs as well as in international, national or regional city networks a particular focus on the promotion of knowledge transfer and exchange of experiences can be observed. But in spite of the enormous popularity of policy instruments such as best practices and case studies, little is known about the reasons for and mechanism of the ample dissemination of these technologies of government. Even more important, the broader implications of the focus on the transfer of “best practices” for the political problematization of climate change and for appropriate ways of governing it remain opaque. The project “Cities in (Climate-)Change? Political Rationalities of Municipal Climate Governance: Governing by Best Practices” is addressing this research gap. It looks at how climate change is made governable in municipalities by the use and dissemination of purportedly “best climate practices”. The program “Masterplan 100% climate protection” of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Climate-KIC Innovation Project “Transition Cities” serve as case studies.

Project Team: Nanja Nagorny and Peter Lindner in cooperation with Hannes Utikal (Provadis School of International Management and Technology)
Funding: Climate-KIC
Duration: 2014-2017

Creativity Policy?

The project "Creativity Policy - On the Origin and Differentiation of a New Political Field in the Age of Neoliberalism" has its roots in the work on a creative economy report for the City of Frankfurt (together with Ch Berndt, P. Goeke and V. Neisen). Here it became obvious that the discussion about creativity, a creative milieu and the creative economy as the basis of urban development, despite all the justified criticism, had long become performative and created its own reality. Promoted among others by the work of the city planner Richard Florida, urban development programs were refocused to address arts and (sub)cultural scenes, which hitherto had managed to keep a certain degree of autonomy and subjected them increasingly to the criteria of economic impact. This process is embedded in and enhanced by the emergence of a new political field, which we refer to as "creative policy," the working, differentiation and effects of which are investigated in the project. We focus in particular on the way in which different and often conflicting rationalities of urban governance - market-oriented economic development, urban planning, art and cultural policy - are articulated together and merged into new consensual programmes. For the empirical work, Frankfurt am Main serves as a case study.

Project Team: Iris Dzudzek and Peter Lindner
Funding: German Research Foundation
Duration: 2010-2014
Recent Publications:
  • 2015: Performing the creative-economy script: Contradicting urban rationalities at work. In: Regional Studies 49 (2015, 3). pp. 388-403 (mit I. Dzudzek).
  • 2008: Креативный город: проектирование модели на примере Франкфурта [Die kreative Stadt: Modell und Projekt am Beispiel Frankfurts]. In: Никулин, Александр (Hg.). 2008. Пути России: культура – общество человек: материалы международного симпозиума (25-26 января 2008 года). Москва. pp. 128-147.
  • 2008: Kreativwirtschaftsbericht Frankfurt. Frankfurt a.M. (report commissioned by the Department of Economic Development of the City of Frankfurt, available online; with Ch. Berndt, P. Goeke and V. Neisen). pdf  2 MB

Frontier Regions of Marketization

The global market for agricultural goods is experiencing a profound change. Food crises and food scandals go along with higher quality standards and a rising demand for non-seasonal high-quality goods that were little known in Europe until recently. As a consequence of these developments frontier regions – regions in the global south, where agricultural production was hitherto mainly subsistence-oriented or traded locally – have been integrated into world market relations and fundamentally restructured by transnational companies. Thereby, orthodox market models serve as operational blueprints, but are adapted to local settings and thus bring about new market orders. The project "The Global Agricultural Market and Its Fuzzy Boundaries: Forms and Consequences of the Integration of Smallholders in Global Commodity Chains" has these developments as its core concern. It is focussing on two sample regions in Ghana, where the production of just-in-time fruit salads and organic mangoes for the European market began only recently. Six complementary perspectives on the newly emerging arrangements as well as on the performativity of market models provide the basis for the empirical work: the definition of new products, pricing in "weak" markets, the regulation of competition, different market models as points of reference, mechanisms of control and sanction, and new modes of social differentiation as a consequence of market integration.

Project Team: Stefan Ouma, Marc Boeckler and Peter Lindner
Funding: German Research Foundation
Duration: 2010-2013
Recent Publications:
  • 2013: Extending the margins of marketization: Frontier regions and the making of agro-export markets in Northern Ghana. In: Geoforum 48 (2013). pp. 225-235 (with S. Ouma and M. Boeckler).
  • 2010: Von Märkten und Reisenden: Geographische Entwicklungsforschung oder Wirtschaftsgeographien des Globalen Südens? In: Geographische Rundschau 62 (2010, 10). pp. 12-19 (with S. Ouma).

Privatizing the Kolkhoz-Archipelago

This project has its origins in the work carried out for my habilitation (2000 to 2006) and is more of a long-term research interest than a "project" in the strict sense. It has had changing thematic foci during the last 15 years and has been funded by various institutions (German Research Foundation, the World Bank, the Association of the Friends and Sponsors of the Goethe-University Frankfurt).

The starting point was the privatization of collective farms in Russia which affected 10 million employees and nearly 200 million hectares of agricultural land. The failure of this large-scale marketization-endeavour which had followed neoliberal prescriptions led the idea ad absurdum that the establishment of private property rights would inevitably bring about the emergence of markets. The focus of the project at this stage was therefore the question of how the idea of market exchange stood in concrete settings in conflict with other legitimations of everyday (ownership) practices. Later, the redistribution of powers and responsibilities between the municipalities, the restructured large farms and households moved to the foreground. The focus shifted to the now incipient processes of negotiation, in which the blurred boundary between market and state were redefined. The ongoing project "Market Orders and Local Self-Government: (De-)Centralization in Russia's Guided Democracy" emerged from this work. Together with Alexander Vorbrugg I am working on the reconfiguration "of local political economies," which we understand as the contradictory combination of selective global market integration and dependence on local conditions. The empirical point of departure is the nowadays frequently encountered acquisition of entire operations by major national and international investors ("land grabbing"), which marks an entirely new phase of ‘development’ in rural Russia.

Project Team: Peter Lindner, Evelyn Moser and Alexander Vorbrugg
Funding: World Bank, German Research Foundation
Duration: ongoing since 2000

Recent Publications:

  • 2013: Situating property in transformation: Beyond the private and the collective. In: Europe-Asia Studies 65 (2013, 7). pp. 1275-1294.
  • 2012: Stagnation und Wandel - Wiederkehr der Landfrage: Großinvestitionen in Russlands Landwirtschaft. In: Osteuropa 62 (2012, 6/8). pp. 325-342 (with A. Vorbrugg).
  • 2009: (De-)centralizing rural Russia: Local self-governance and the “power vertical”. In: Geographische Rundschau International Edition 5 (2009, 3). pp. 12-18 (with E. Moser).
  • 2008: Der Kolchoz-Archipel im Privatisierungsprozess: Wege und Umwege der russischen Landwirtschaft in die globale Marktgesellschaft. Bielefeld: transcript. google books
  • 2008: Local self-governance, participation and civic engagement in rural Russia. Washington (report commissioned by the World Bank; with E. Moser and A. Nikulin).

Completed Research Projects

Industrial City Frankfurt?

Since the financial crisis in Europe there has been a recent reassessment of the overall economic importance of manufacturing. At the same time a different picture of industrial production has become apparent which finds its most prominent expression in the depiction of a "fourth industrial revolution." The consequences of these developments for urban and regional economic policy, however, are largely unclear. Against this background, the city of Frankfurt has decided to advance a master plan for its industries, which aims to determine the pathways of the city’s economic development in the coming years. The project "Frankfurt’s Industries" provides the basics for this master plan by consistently taking the perspectives of entrepreneurs and their employees and aims to offer a detailed and nuanced picture of a sector which is increasingly difficult to delineate from the service sector. To this end, the study combines a traditional SWOT-approach with an in-depth analysis of networks and value chains and outlines the most important fields of intervention for the future master plan.

Project Team: Peter Lindner, Stefan Ouma, Max Klöppinger and Marc Boeckler
Development / Duration: Frankfurt Economic Development; 2012-2013
Recent Publications:
  • 2014: Industriestudie Frankfurt. Frankfurt: Peter Lang (with S. Ouma, M. Klöppinger and M. Boeckler).

Creative Industries in Frankfurt

  • Project Team: Ch Berndt, P. Goeke , P. Lindner and V. Neisen
  • Funding: Frankfurt Economic Development GmbH
  • Duration: 2007-2008

“In Russia I Was Cursed a ‘Fascist’, Here I Became a ‘Russakin’” – The Ambivalent Role of Migrant Institutions for Russian-Germans in Germany

  • Project Team: M. Savoskul and P. Lindner
  • Funding: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), university funds
  • Duration: 2004-2007

Privatizing Post-Soviet Space: Gated Communities in Moscow

  • Project Team: S. Lentz and P. Lindner
  • Funding: University funds
  • Duration: 2002-2005

Entrepreneurship and Development in the West Bank: An Institution-Oriented Approach

  • Researcher: P. Lindner
  • Funding: Bavarian Research Cooperation Area Studies ( FORAREA )
  • Duration: 1995-1998

Relationships between Research and Practice in the Social Sciences: The Practical Relevance of Economic and Social Geography

  • Project Team: H. Kopp and P. Lindner
  • Funding: Dept. of Sociology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/BMBF
  • Duration: 1997-1998

The Transformation of Popular Holy Places and Islamic Pilgrimage Sites in Morocco

  • Researcher: P. Lindner
  • Funding: Zantner-Busch Foundation, university funds
  • Duration: 1993-1995

Extreme Outdoor Sports: The Socio-Spatial Appropriation of Nature as Event-Spaces

  • Project Team: A. Escher and P. Lindner
  • Funding: Zantner-Busch Foundation, university funds
  • Duration: 1993-1995

The Yagnobi (Tajikistan): Livelihood Strategies in the Pamir-Alai between Subsistence and Dependence

  • Project Team: A. Badenkov, A. Gunja and P. Lindner
  • Funding: IGU, university funds
  • Duration: 1992-1994