Planungs- und Architektursoziologie

Smart People: Queer Everyday Life in Digitalized Spaces

In the first funding period, the DFG funded project investigates the refiguration of spaces in the context of South Korea’s smart city Songdo as large-scale real estate project. It could be shown that social tensions between locally rooted family values and an orientation towards the globalized market economy, which underlie much of the city’s everyday practices, are mediated by homogenous housing typologies as well as an extensive digitalization concept geared towards the interests of the Korean middle class. Given the obvious way in which South Korea’s smart city developments bolster nuclear family structures and leave aside social, cultural and ethnic differences, the second funding period will focus on the refiguration of spaces in highly digitalized South Korea specifically in relation to conflictual sociocultural placements. Since the 1990s, South Korea’s planning culture has increasingly attracted public criticism resulting in the formation of social movements calling for participatory modes of planning, greater ecological sustainability and a sensitive approach to renewal. South Korea has, moreover, witnessed a diversification of lifestyles, particularly in metropolitan regions. Especially the increased public visibility of LGBTIQ+ can be seen as unsettling the heteronormative and familial structures of South Korean society.

The project will analyze digitalized, mediatized (inter)actions and practices in the context of queer subcultures and urban social movements. Data on the smart city project gathered during the first funding period will be put in relation to subcultural placements of queer and urban development movements in order for the CRC to gain a deeper insight into the emergence of multiple spatialities and processes of spatial refiguration in South Korea. A central research question will be: Which spatial figures are linked, relationally and dynamically, to what kind of of spatial logics, and what is the role of digitalization in these contexts? To this end, we have defined three work packages for analysis – 1. ethnographic field work focusing on spatial strategies of LGBTIQ+ communities in the greater Seoul area; 2. secondary analyses of interviews with Korean inhabitants of Songdo exploring social constructions of othering; and 3. expert interviews with key actors of urban social movements on conflictual productions of space.

More information about the project - click here.


Prof. Dr. Martina Löw (gemeinsam mit Prof. Dr. Jörg Stolteberg) | Projektleitung

Sung Un Gang | Projektmitarbeiter

Adi Cohen | Studentische Mitarbeiterin