„Urbane Systeme“, die Geisteswissenschaften und die Metropole Ruhr : Interdisziplinäre Metropolenforschung vor der Haustür und in aller Welt

Anhand mehrerer aktueller Projekte im Forschungsschwerpunkt „Urbane Systeme“ der Universität Duisburg-Essen wird der interdisziplinäre und globale Ansatz deutlich. Jens Martin Gurr stellt außerdem die Geisteswissenschaften und einige ihrer zentralen Forschungsthemen innerhalb des Schwerpunkts vor und diskutiert den Begriff des Urbanen sowie den der „Metropole Ruhr“.

The essay outlines the genesis, fundamental assumptions and aims of the University’s main research area “Urban Systems”, which serves as a platform to leverage the competencies in urban research from across the entire university. Briefly discussing a number of recent major projects, it highlights the need for coordinated interdisciplinary research in order to address the complexities of highly urbanized contemporary societies. It goes on to outline the role of the humanities in this interdisciplinary research context and gives an overview of the scope of research in the research field of “urban culture”, commenting on different definitions of “urban culture” and highlighting the political, social and psychological functions that different forms of cultural expression fulfil in urban contexts. Taking its cue from debates on the metropolitan status of the Ruhr region, the essay explores the concepts of “metropolis”, “city” and “urbanity” and the connections between them, pointing out that “metropolis” and, to a lesser extent, “city”, are not merely descriptive terms, but more or less strongly imply normative elements, even a utopian promise. Furthermore, “urbanity” is by no means necessarily tied to the physical space of the city, but is shown to be a discursive construct brought about in processes of communication.

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