Call for Papers: Shifting Values – Processes, Strategies and Conflicts in the Built Environment. Cottbus, 25–27 September 2019

BTU, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus–Senftenberg

Interdisciplinary colloquium organised by the DFG Research Training Group 1913 Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings

Valuating the built environment is always part of a process of valuation influenced by political, economic and social circumstances. With the fifth interdisciplinary colloquium at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, the Research Training Group 1913 Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings will focus specifically on the changing valuation of the built environment.

Ever since antiquity, negotiating values has been part of philosophy and, with the advent of capitalisation of the modern world, theories of valuation have been discussed explicitly since the 19th century. Generally, values can be defined as something, which “for various reasons is being singled out from reality and presents itself as desirable and necessary for him, who valuates” (Baran, Pavel: Werte, 806, in: Europäische Enzyklopädie für Philosophie und Wissenschaft, published by Sandkühler, Hans Jörg, Bd. 4, R–Z, Hamburg 1990, 805–815).

Values direct human behaviour, which is always oriented towards the future and therefore imbued with uncertainty. Valuation bridges the gap between knowledge and action. Planning processes in particular are always linked to valuation, because they are directed towards the future and values are fundamental for the necessary decision making processes. At the same time, preservation and adaptation of built structures are based on long-existing patterns of thinking and deeply ingrained value systems. Phenomena of shifting values can be observed when planning from scratch, when changing existing structures, during renovation and structural reinforcement.

At the interdisciplinary colloquium, processes of value appropriation, value internalisation and the (individual) formation of values will be discussed using specific examples from construction and planning history. These processes can range from antiquity to the present time and should be discussed using an interdisciplinary approach. The colloquium would like to specifically engage disciplines such as archeology, architecture, construction history, architectural conservation, engineering, art history, sociology of space, urban and regional planning.

The research interest of the conference regarding PHENOMENA, PROCESSES, STRATEGIES, and CONFLICTS in value shift in the built environment are outlined by the following cross-disciplinary questions:

– Is it values that are shifting or rather value attributions?
– Which historic, social, political, and economical influences or scientific findings change the societal consensus about what is valuable?
– What are the processes and dynamics evident in value shifts?
– How can the tension between individual and societal shifts in values be described?
– What are the roles taken on by different agents (subjects and objects) and mediating instruments in the process of shifting values?
– How do interest and opinion groups use strategies and instruments to affect a change in values?
– How are conflicting values being dealt with?
– Do compromises in value attributions always mean a de-valuation on the one side and an up-valuation on the other or is there scope for a win-win value?

A detailed formulation of the questions is available online.

The colloquium organizers welcome abstracts in German or English for presentations (max. 20 minutes long), commenting on the issues described. Please submit your abstract (max. 2500 characters) with a short CV (max. 500 characters) by 15 May 2019 to dfg-graduiertenkolleg-1913@b-tu.de.

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