Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus »Eastern Europe – Global Area«

Unter Federführung des IfL wurde in der Wissenschaftsregion Leipzig – Halle – Jena ein Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus „Eastern Europe – Global Area“ (EEGA) im Förderzeitraum 2016 bis 2020 eingerichtet. Ziel des Campus ist es, neue Forschungsperspektiven zum östlichen Europa zu entwickeln, den gesellschaftlichen Diskurs über die Region durch Wissenstransfer zu begleiten und Nachwuchsforschende zu fördern.

Gemeinsam mit Partnern aus dem östlichen Europa werden die globalen Bezüge des östlichen Europa durch Migration, wirtschaftliche Verflechtungen, kulturellen Austausch und im Zuge politischer Integrationsprozesse untersucht. Die auf dem Campus zusammenwirkenden Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler fragen danach, wie sich Gesellschaften des östlichen Europa in globalen Prozessen und Konflikten positionieren. Sie wollen neues Wissen über den akademischen Bereich hinaus bekannt machen. Und sie verbinden die Ausbildung des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses mit internationalen und interdisziplinären Studiengängen. Ein besonderes Augenmerk liegt auf der Vermittlung von Forschungsergebnissen in Medien und in die breitere Öffentlichkeit.

Der Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus verbindet Kompetenzen von Hochschulen und außeruniversitären Einrichtungen in Mitteldeutschland. Das IfL bringt vielfältige Forschungskompetenzen zu raumwirksamen Prozessen im östlichen Europa ein: Es pflegt mehrere Forschungsnetzwerke, darunter das von der EU finanzierte Forscher-Erstausbildungsnetz RegPol2 sowie ira.urban im postsowjetischen Raum. Der Campus steht in engem Bezug zum Centre for Area Studies, dem Forschungsprofilbereich Globale Verflechtungen und Vergleiche und dem Sonderforschungsbereich Verräumlichungsprozesse unter Globalisierungsbedingungen (SFB 1199) an der Universität Leipzig.

Mit der konstituierenden Sitzung am 18. November 2016 in Leipzig startete der neue Campus in seine aktive Arbeitsphase. Zur Pressemitteilung


Der Campus ist in fünf Forschungslinien organisiert:

Mobilities and Migration Regimes in Eastern Europe

Leitung: Helena Flam und Judith Miggelbrink

The transformation of Eastern Europe has resulted in high levels of subnational territorial inequality. Especially rural and old industrialised areas are increasingly disconnected from globalised economic and societal trends, while capital regions have become integral parts of the international division of labour (Smith / Timár 2010). These trends have impacted mobility. Whereas in general the mobility of goods, services and capital has been encouraged, mobility of people is highly selective and subject to various forms of regulation, particularly through border regimes.

While border regimes produce "immobilisation effects", they also promote strategies of subverting borders, exploiting differences in demand and supply and prices and taxes between neighbouring states. A broad variety of legal and illegal cross-border practices emerge, such as small-scale trade and smuggling, seasonal work, shopping for medical care, prostitution, human trafficking, etc. Some of these practices imply emigration from Eastern Europe, while others impact on the number of commuters, tourists and short-term residents. Mobility and migration have become issues in the lives of many people, provoking research on their effects on identity, social commitment and social, political and demographic subjectivities, on the one hand; and on national and transnational political units and strategies, on the other.

All this sums up to a rather complex pattern of mobility, mobile and immobile groups as well as forms of control and flows, calling for a broad approach to mobility that takes into account its intersecting social, economic, cultural, political and infrastructural components. Analytically, the research employs the "mobilities turn" (Urry 2007), which emphasises the reciprocal constitution of mobilities and societal transformations as well as the relationship between mobility, socio-spatial inequality and power (Cresswell 2010). Five interdependent mobilities are distinguished here: corporeal travel of people, physical movements of objects, imaginative travel, virtual travel and communicative travel.

The research will also tackle methodological issues. Research on migration and mobility lacks reliable data and faces methodological constraints, especially with regard to increasingly circular and transnational forms of mobility. Therefore, all projects will contribute to new and mobile methods of data collection and methodological reflections, exploring the following fields:

  • Neocolonial mobilities and the construction of regional images (Flam, Leibert, Müller): What specific images of Eastern Europe do mobile groups coming from the "outside" enact and how are they related to a variety of discourses (media, economy, gender / sexuality)? Are images part of "neo-colonial" economic and political positioning and strategies? What role do emotional dimensions play in such relations? How are they challenged and combatted/deconstructed by alternative ideas?

  • Prostitution and mobilities (Flam, Hüchtker): How do discourses on "prostitution" influence the relations within the EU, and how does cooperation develop? How are spatial meanings of politics as well as the gender and body aspects of prostitution intertwined with different aspects of migration and mobility?

  • Moorings and mobilities: Practices of im/mobility and youth biographies in rural peripheries (Hörschelmann, Leibert, Miggelbrink): How do young people perform mobility and mooring in their everyday and biographical practices? How do young people negotiate changes in place through performative practices that may be the result of other global-local mobilities and their uneven construction? How do they participate in shaping and transforming places?

  • Flexible infrastructures of mobility (Flam, Miggelbrink, Sgibnev): How do individuals adjust to infrastructural conditions that hinder the realization of their plans? How do they shape new infrastructures? How do mobility entrepreneurs create demand or reply to it? How does the flexibility/stability spectre with regard to infrastructures of mobility relate to other polarities? Which inequalities do they induce, foster or alleviate? What is the role of the mode of ownership (privately/publicly/state-run infrastructures) for the unfolding mobility patterns?

  • Regimes of justice and regimes of im/mobility (Leibert, Flam): How have Roma people been treated during socialist times and from 1990 onwards regarding im/mobility? How has Roma migration challenged European free movement policies? In what ways have discourses on Roma migration shaped a negative perception of Eastern Europe as source of “problematic” migration? How can recent im/mobility patterns be mapped, paying attention to their consequences and causes – including (gendered) mobility barriers and/or expectations of im/mobility within the Roma communities?

  • Im/Mobilities and region building: What role do borders play in the formation of global areas? (Flam, Marung, Miggelbrink, Müller): How do different actors deal with the implementation and effects of the overlapping claims of territorial bordering processes? How do they respond to border regimes and the restrictions they place on mobilities in terms of their selectivities and conjunctive elements towards a common area of Eastern Europe? What strategic ideas do different kinds of actors share with regard to selective im/mobilities in/to/from that area? In what ways do border regimes transform (individual, family) conceptions of life and therein inscribed ideas of mobile practices?

Self-Positioning of Eastern Europe in a New World Order

Leitung: Frank Hadler und Matthias Middell

The end of the Cold War has been widely perceived as the starting point of changes to and within world order. Unlike approaches that define world order as the hegemony of one set of values, rules and principles, we conceptualise world order as the result of multiple interventions by many actors that can be explored only by including various spatial scales and formats (ranging from networks to territoriality) where the manifold interventions of these actors take place (Middell/Naumann 2010). At critical junctures of globalisation (as we call exceptionally dramatic changes in the spatial configuration of the world and thus provoking thoughts about a new world order necessary and possible) collective actors (like states, companies, civil society groups, professional associations, cultural institutions, etc.) position themselves anew and frame their interaction with others differently.

While there are many publications on how the end of the Cold War has changed world order, there is a discursive gap on the challenges of Eastern European societies and states in repositioning themselves under these new and dynamic conditions. This research area aims to stimulate the debate on the self-positioning of Eastern European states and societies by inviting area experts studying both Eastern Europe and different other world regions (from Africa to Latin America) to analyse positioning strategies of Eastern European collective actors within this changing world (order). The focus of this research area is on the investigation of new spatial formats of political organisation emerging within Eastern Europe, and the region’s engagement with other world regions. This implies analysing the political narratives legitimising new formats, including references to or inventions of history, and the public discourse on the “way of life” such formats impose (in cooperation with the project on welfare state models in research area 5). The following fields reflect the primary focus of this research area:

  • New Regionalisms and Eastern Europe (Engel, Maruschke, Middell, Rietdorf, Zinecker): What are the drivers and driving forces of “New Regionalisms” characterised by dynamics of regional identity building, region making and political as well as economic regional integration? What New Regionalisms have been created at the fringes of the Former Soviet Union both outside and inside the former Soviet orbit? How can the relationships among them be conceptualised? How have political narratives legitimised the processes of creating New Regionalisms? How do public discourses reflect on these New Regionalisms? Why do New Regionalisms in Eastern Europe seem to be less stable and under more pressure than similar formations in Africa and Latin America? How do New Regionalisms in Eastern Europe relate to other projects of integration into global processes? What factors determine the capacity of states to contribute to collective arrangements in new regionalisms and which ones constrain these efforts?

  • Eastern Europe and the system of international organisations (Ben Nun, Engel, Naumann, Ristic): What is the public discourse on so-called humanitarian interventions (such as in Darfur/Sudan 2005 ff., Cote d’Ivoire 2010, Libya 2011 or Mali 2013) like in Eastern European countries? How do Eastern European states cope with the challenges of emerging UN norms such as the responsibility to protect or the need to interfere in cases when UN member states are not able or not willing to protect their citizens against gross human rights violations (such as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity)? What arguments legitimise their actions (intervening or not intervening) in political narratives? How do Eastern European countries vote in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council (UNSC) with regard to general principles and concrete cases of responsibility to protect? How do the tensions between the right of self-determination and potential imperial legacies impact decisions on a global scale? But the UN-system is of course larger than the General Assembly and the Security Council and comprises an ever growing body of organisations. The question addressed in this field is therefore how Eastern European societies make use of that system for their re-positioning and how do they search for broader coalitions within these organisations for their specific goals and purposes.

  • Geopolitical positioning and the lasting legacies of the "socialist bloc" (Hadler, Marung, Middell, Müller, Naumann, Troebst, Zofka): What factors define geopolitical positioning of Eastern European states? What role do legacies of the long existence of the “socialist bloc” play, and was there something like a “socialist globalisation” that matters today, for instance, considering the manifold East-South entanglements of COMECON between the then so-called “second” and “third” world? What influence do the traditional geopolitical schools of Westernism, Slavophilism (Russophilism) and Eurasianism have on Russia’s positioning today, and what impact does that have on Eastern Europe’s positioning(s)? How does Russia’s Eastern or Asian geopolitical option matter today? What could be the realities and the consequences of stronger links between Russia and, for instance, China for geopolitical positioning and world order?

Business Strategies and Frameworks of Political Economies

Leitung: Sebastian Henn, Thomas Glauben, Thorsten Posselt

Recent economic development in many national economies of Eastern Europe has been characterised by three major distinct albeit interdependent trends: The first trend of marketisation in the 1990s abandoned the system of state-controlled prices and introduced market prices. State-owned businesses underwent privatisation and money and commodity flows were stabilised. Tax reforms were carried out and new institutions required for the functioning of markets established (e.g., Smith/Swain 1998; Zecchini 1997). Despite the shrinking of most economies in the 1990s, many have developed dynamically as suggested by GDP growth, declining unemployment, growing exports and increasing currency stability. Yet, the overall macro-economic situation as well as the situation in several economic sectors (e.g. food and agriculture) remains challenging. Many countries underperform in productivity and the reduction of deficits of the state budgets and/or the trade balances, as well as legal uncertainty, corruption and bureaucracy (Becker et al. 2010; Gros/Steinherr 2004).

The second trend of integration in the global economy is reflected by growing trade relations between Eastern European (EE) and non-EE countries and international engagement in EE markets. Eastern European countries attract with enormous market potential and low labour cost. While they thus have become important locations for external investors, firms from EE-countries have vice versa been engaging in transnational activities (“emerging multinationals”) or are being integrated in global production networks (Bandelj 2011; Carter/Turnock 2005; Neuhaus 2005). As a consequence, economic actors in Eastern Europe are increasingly orientating towards a multi-centred economic world.

The third trend refers to the challenges of transition towards knowledge-based economies in which innovations matter for economic growth. Although the narrow socialist innovation systems have been restructured, they are still widely unable to generate knowledge on an enterprise level (Freeman 2005). Enterprise R&D has strongly declined with the break-up of large enterprises and experienced the sharpest declines in funding. Industry-university linkages have so far only poorly developed. In the years to come, Eastern European countries will therefore have to advance their innovation dynamics (Radosevic 2005).

On a corporate scale, the states reached and the actual trends in developing capitalist markets, establishing links with new partners in the global economy by integrating into or developing (new) global production networks and generating and circulating new knowledge about markets and technologies in order to successfully compete on a global scale are very diverse on a wide scale of strong global players (sometimes still in strong connection to state-policies) to completely dependent suppliers. Even though this implies multifaceted challenges, only little is known about the strategies that firms implement, how these strategies are shaped by the institutional frameworks and how they affect economic structures on different spatial levels (local, regional, national, supranational) or which effects result from the strong dependence on natural resources and extractive industries. This research area aims to further explore these issues by addressing the following research fields and questions:

  • Corporate coping strategies and state intervention (Posselt): How do firms adapt to changing business environments? Which measures do state actors implement to support firms in adopting to changing business environments? Which effects do the representation of women and the consideration of gender diversity have on strategies and, accordingly, on organisational performance?

  • Trade patterns and regional specialisations (Glauben, Kinossian, Götz, Prehn): How have international trading patterns changed in different sectors? How do the new patterns affect market structures, competition and the formation of prices on national and international markets? How do value chains change and how do commodity prices along the value chain change due to modified trade patterns? How have consumption patterns changed in different regions?

  • In- and outward-bound foreign direct investments (Henn, Posselt): How have patterns of foreign direct investment changed during the past decades? How do the technology levels of selected EE-countries correspond with the capital inflows they experienced over the past two decades? Which role does cross-border patent trading and licensing play in knowledge and technology transfer into and across Eastern Europe?

  • Translocal knowledge flows (Henn, Kinossian, Posselt): To what extent do FDI generate
    knowledge and technology flows into resp. out of Eastern Europe? Which role do trade fairs, business conferences and other events play for the exchange of knowledge with other regions/countries? Which kinds of practices can be observed for different types of knowledge flows and how can these practices be explained?

  • Evolution of new economic spaces (Henn, Kinossian, Glauben): Where do emerging industries establish themselves? How does this affect the change of regional production systems? How have regional production systems changed over the past 20 years? How do local production systems link to other regions/countries?

  • Patterns of urban and regional resilience (Ringel, Korzer, Arglist): How do regions absorb the impacts of urbanisation processes? What are the obstacles for responsible and sustainable urban management? What can actors learn from successful approaches and development patterns in order to be able to respond to future challenges at the urban level?

Cultural and Intellectual Perspectives and Identifications

Leitung: Jürgen Heyde, Yvonne Kleinmann, Stefan Troebst

As we consider the processes of globalisation in and for Eastern Europe by not new, the LSC research approaches reach back into the first era of globalisation around 1900 and to the emergence of Eastern Europe on the political map after World War I. The Research area shifts the focus onto important, but as yet little researched questions by conceiving historical actors in Eastern Europe as active global players instead of just imagining the region as a mostly passive object of global developments. On this background the end of state-socialism emerges as another phase of globalisation. After 1989/91 Eastern European societies have been exposed to enormous cultural and intellectual challenges facing simultaneous processes of change such as de-colonisation, nation building and globalisation (Offe 1991). Cultures and identifications have been affected by the (re)discovery of (imagined) cultural heritage and global influences. This nexus is addressed by acknowledging both the regional dimension of cultural and intellectual life as well as its global dimension.

Exploring the cultural and intellectual manifestations of globalisation in and for the region, Eastern Europe will be conceptualised "on a global scale". On the one hand the network will analyse the global impact of Eastern European experts and developments, on the other hand it will try to make sense of perceptions and appropriations of global cultural and intellectual trends. Aspects of globalisation will be connected to processes of identity building and social identifications. Based on this approach, the research area aims at overcoming perspectives on Eastern Europe that reproduce exceptionalism from within and "orientalisation" from outside.

  • "Building history and identities" (Bartetzky): The project delves into architecture and urban development in times of transformation: during the interwar period, after 1945 and in the post-socialist era. How did international communication work under various political regimes? How did architectural and urban landscapes change? How were/are implementations and symbols of globalisation and most often, Western culture, perceived and discussed? To which extent discourses on reconstructing and destroying historical buildings were embedded into discourses of identifications, e.g. which impact did architecture and urban development have on identity building?

  • Identifications and identity building: Globalization and cultural "selfness" (Höpken): How has globalisation changed people’s everyday life in the course of post-socialist transformation? Which cultural influences have been perceived as culturally enriching, which as threatening? What effects does globalisation have on the cultural self-perception of majorities and minorities, privileged and marginalised? How does “global modernity” affect the local, the regional, and the national cultural identifications? Which old and new concepts of “selfness” are opposed to globalisation, and how are they perceived?

  • The first Jewish museums in East-Central Europe (Warneck): The first Jewish Museums in Eastern Europe, opened around 1900, have to be seen as part of a European phenomenon of a new form of Jewish self-representation and understanding of Jewish history and historiography. In which way did the actors in the museums reflect on other exhibition projects in Eastern Western Europe, and where they embedded in formal and informal museum-networks? How did these early exhibitions on Jewish history and culture influence the first Jewish museums in Palestine and America since the 1930th?

  • Cultural Icons – "the East" and "the Global" (Gölz): The study, rooted in the field of intellectual culture, focuses on cultural icons –defined as local, regional or national images – in comparative perspective. How did these icons shape official and counter-official identity building processes from the early 20th century up to contemporary global pop-culture? By which means did they contribute to the construction of “the global”, but also of “the local”, “the regional” and “the national”? How have cultural icons changed over time, and how do changes reflect ongoing processes of identity building? Is there a way to conceptualise the relationships between "Eastern" and "global" icons?

  • Culture and environment: Rural societies (Hüchtker): Why do the cultural icons "agrarian" and "rural" (still) matter in Eastern Europe? What has been associated with “rural societies” during the 20th century, and what were/are their cultural and political meanings? To which extent this perception was transformed or continued under the impact of globalisation? How do identity discourses affect the perception of rural societies across the region? How can we conceptualise inside- and outside perceptions?

  • The transformation of music cultures in Eastern Europe (Keym): Which impact can be attributed to the caesura of 1989/1991 concerning music cultures in Eastern Europe? How do processes of globalisation influence the region’s music cultures and musicians? What effects do identity-building processes on the sub-national level have on music cultures across the region? How did the “indigenous turn” affect music? What stylistic elements have been imported, which ones have been exported? How do music cultures create cultures and counter-cultures, identities and counter-identities?

  • Transitional Justice in Poland in global perspective – a diachronic comparison (Gulińska-Jurgiel): The project analyses transitional justice in Poland concerning crimes under National Socialism as well as under Communist Rule. It delves into continuities and changes, looks at long-term trends in establishing juridical concepts, and analyses the role of law, understood as a norm and as a political instrument. The focus is on the argumentative and practical involvement of Polish activists as well as institutions in coming to terms with the dictatorial pasts. Their activities are interpreted as a form to legitimize the own political system and as a contribution to the global discussion of transitional justice.

  • Post-socialist moral economy. The case of Hungary (Hann): How can we conceptualise the interdependency between contemporary political economies and the historical dimension of the countries’ moral economy, shaped by both the post-imperial and post-socialist pasts? How do pasts and present interact in today’s Hungary? How can we rationalise the current government under Viktor Orbán regarding historical moral economy and contemporary political economy?

Eastern Europe in Times of Europeanisation and Diffusion

Leitung: Gert Pickel und Holger Lengfeld

Around 1989/1991, the transition paradigm that forecasted Western models of state and economy becoming globally universal, proved to be mainstream among research, government and policy-making communities (Carothers 2002). Roughly 25 years later and under the impact of the Ukraine Crisis, the relevance of the once powerful paradigm has been contested. Obviously, the perception of Western democracy, welfare state models, civil society, constitutions and multilevel governance approaches across Eastern Europe varies on an imagined continuum between acceptance, assimilation and opposition (and denial), whereas various types of selective adoption lay in-between. The spreading of new ideas, institutions, policies, models, or repertoires of behaviour from their point of origin to new sites (Lauth/Pickel 2009) and Europeanisation as derivatives of broader processes of globalisation have impacted Eastern Europe – but not in the same manner, form, and with the same outcomes everywhere. Eastern European countries decide and choose actively to a certain point, but they are at the same time passively exposed to global processes. Increasing cultural, political, and social differentiation reflect the intertwining of these processes. Processes of diffusion and Europeanisation have become a challenge impacting both overall development and identities.

Democratisation has become one of the key arenas reflecting the impact and the limitations of diffusion. Many countries in Eastern Europe, particularly the ones accessing the EU have become democracies. Others have remained autocracies. Another group resembles features of hybrid regimes as a regression of once installed democratic measures. Developing new and unique features associated with “democracies with adjectives” (Collier/Levitsky 1997). A crucial question for the region’s political development is how processes of diffusion and Europeanisation influence political culture, and along with it, political systems. This question is intertwined with the effects of multi-level governance and the impact of the EU and other European and global actors in influencing policy-making on the national and subnational levels.

The emergence of new economic and welfare state models after 1989/1991 also is the result of a complex game of historic legacies, path-dependencies and external influence. Both European and Asian approaches (Chinese and to a lesser extent Malaysian and Korean) have served not exactly as blueprints, but as models in reorganising the relationship between economy and the state; and the idea of welfare after the end of state-socialism.

In the sphere of culture, religion proves as an indicator of the interplay of processes of diffusion and cultural legacies. New relationships between states and churches and politics and religion in general effect national and religious identities (Pollack et. al. 2012). Discourses on the role of religion in society and conflict as well as on secularisation resemble debates elsewhere on the globe, but at the same time, in their historical depths and meaning for the region, remain unique.

This research area will explore actors in Eastern Europe between “uniqueness” and “normality” within Europe and the globalised world, addressing the following fields:

  • Effects of globalisation and Europeanisation on the development of political cultures (Pickel): How do political cultures in Eastern Europe develop – and why? What opportunities do political actors on different levels have? Do specific political cultures hinder the spread of Western ideas of democracy? How strong are external influences in the process of establishing democracy? How do civil societies develop?

  • Effects of EU multilevel-governance on political development and policy-decisions at the national level (Hartlapp): How do EU policies directly and indirectly shape the relationship of state and markets in Eastern Europe? What are the political conditions of re-regulating markets? What is the role of administrations, their cooperation and diffusion of their practices in implementing re-regulation across Eastern member States of the EU?

  • Interconnections between constitutions and political decision-making (Lorenz): How do the national constitutional settings affect the patterns of general political decision-making and Europeanisation? Are the key conflicts concerning the type of the political system really solved? How does the low public interest in politics influence the political decision-making and maintenance or rebuilding of political institutions, e.g. in Hungary?

  • Development of welfare state models and their acceptance in populations in comparative perspective (Lengfeld): Which recent changes of the institutional structure and the extent of social spending in countries in Eastern Europe can be observed, and what preferences do citizens from these countries have towards their national welfare states? To what degree is the ongoing out-migration from Eastern to Western European welfare systems challenged by resistance of the resident population, and how do the EU could support intra-EU migration of the workforce from Eastern Europe without endangering the legitimacy of the free movement rule?

  • The role of religion in the (political) cultural debates in Eastern Europe (Pickel, Yendell): What developments of religion and in the relationships between religion and politics are there in Eastern Europe? Why are different developments of religiosity and secularisation visible? Does modernisation also lead to secularisation in the long run? Are there new forms of identity building employing religion, e.g. in the Former Yugoslavia?



Prof. Dr. Sebastian Lentz
Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde

Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell

Universität Leipzig, Centre for Area Studies


Lena Dallywater, M.A.
Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde
Tel. +49 341 600 55-266

Melanie Mienert, M.A.
Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde
Tel. +49 341 600 55-266


06/2016 – 06/2020


Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IfL), Leipzig
Leibniz-Institut für Agrarentwicklung in Transformationsökonomien (IAMO), Halle
Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa (GWZO), Leipzig  

Universität Leipzig (UL)
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (FSU)
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg (MLU): Aleksander-Brückner-Zentrum für Polenstudien  

Weitere Partner:
Fraunhofer-Zentrum für Internationales Management und Wissensökonomie (IMW), Leipzig
Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung (MPI), Halle

Weitere Information


Webpräsenz: www.leibniz-eega.de