Geographies of everyday cultural (in)justice: mapping cultural infrastructures in rural areas in Germany

Authors: Madeleine Wagner*, Heidelberg University, Christoph Mager*, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Topics: Rural Geography, Planning Geography, Europe
Keywords: cultural infrastructure, Germany, rurality, principle component analysis (PCA), spatial planning, social justice
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 4
Presentation Link: Open in New Window
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In the wake of the infrastructural turn in the social sciences, the notion of infrastructure expanded beyond the provision of technical facilities to include questions about the social, political and ecological conditions and effects of networks that make everyday life possible. Including social institutions of health care, education and culture, the provision of and access to infrastructure in different contexts increasingly turns out to become a question of social (in)justice. Cultural institutions in particular are seen as places of social exchange that can act as focal points of community building and help to reduce social inequality. However, there is a relative scarce of comprehensive information on the geographies of these amenities to support planning processes. Available studies predominantly focus on urban areas, especially large cities and metropolitan areas. Comprehensive research for rural communities on cultural infrastructures that can provide places to meet, socialize and get involved in cultural activity is largely missing.
The aim of this paper is to address this void by mapping and analyzing patterns of cultural agglomeration in rural areas. We present preliminary results of a principal component analysis (PCA) using location information on a set of cultural amenities in Germany. The findings indicate a highly differentiated geography of cultural features that is, at least partially, not compatible with the functional level of centrality assigned to rural places by German spatial planning. We advocate a nuanced perspective on cultural networking on a supra-local level to facilitate a more just access to everyday cultural infrastructure in rural communities.

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