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Volume 22, No. 3, Art. 21 – September 2021

The Refiguration of Spaces and the Refiguration of Epistemic Cultures: The Changing Balance of Involvement and Engagement in Fundamental and Applied Research

Nina Baur, Ignacio Castillo Ulloa, Stephen Mennell & Angela Million

Abstract: The second FQS thematic issue on "The Refiguration of Spaces and Cross-Cultural Comparison" differs from the first as follows: 1. it covers a wider range of disciplines, 2. authors emphasize more strongly the spatial instead of the temporal aspects of the refiguration of spaces, and 3. focus is placed on researchers' practices of comparison rather than on how to compare different subject matters. These practices of comparison become particularly obvious when comparing "fundamental" sciences such as sociology with applied sciences such as urban planning. In research practice, researchers have to balance what Norbert ELIAS (2007 [1987]) called "involvement" and "detachment." In different disciplines with diverging epistemic cultures, involvement and detachment have been balanced differently. Using the examples of German-language sociology and urban planning, we illustrate this by discussing how fundamental and applied scientists weigh involvement and detachment in research practice and how this relationship of involvement and detachment has been changing in the course the refiguration of spaces. We conclude by reflecting on how differences in the balance between involvement and detachment in different epistemic cultures influence the relationship between practices of cross-cultural comparison and the refiguration of spaces, as well as what question should be asked in future research.

Key words: cross-cultural comparison; refiguration of spaces; figurational sociology; sociology of science; involvement and detachment; epistemic cultures; fundamental sciences; applied sciences; sociology; urban planning

Table of Contents

1. Cross-Cultural Comparison and the Refiguration of Spaces

2. The Challenge of Balancing Involvement and Detachment

2.1 The tension between science's need for objectivity and researchers' subjectivity

2.2 Max WEBER: Distinguishing empirical and normative statements and abstaining from value judgment in research

2.3 Norbert ELIAS: Balancing involvement and detachment

3. Involvement and Detachment and Epistemic Cultures

4. Epistemic Cultures of Fundamental Sciences: Involvement and Detachment in German-Language Sociology

4.1 Early sociology (before 1933)

4.2 Sociology during National Socialism (1933‒1945)

4.3 Post-war sociology (since 1945)

5. Epistemic Cultures of Applied Sciences: Involvement and Detachment in German-Language Urban Planning

5.1 Early urban planning (before 1933)

5.2 Urban planning during National Socialism (1933‒1945)

5.3 Post-war urban planning (since 1945)

6. Conclusion: The Balance of Involvement and Detachment and the Refiguration of Interdisciplinary Collaboration Between Sociology and Urban Planning







1. Cross-Cultural Comparison and the Refiguration of Spaces

Cross-cultural comparison has a long tradition in the social sciences, and many researchers have reflected on how to conduct cross-cultural comparisons both methodologically and in research practice. While scholars concerned with cross-cultural comparison "often assume that 'cultures' can be relatively clearly demarcated spatially and that 'space' itself is a given entity" (BAUR, MENNELL & MILLION, 2021, §3), proponents of spatial theories as well as of process-oriented theories—such as the theory of refiguration of spaces—have brought to the fore the importance of deconstructing the category "space." Accordingly, through empirical analyses, scholars have thoroughly and widely demonstrated that social processes have been characterized by major spatial transformations from the mid-twentieth century onward (MILLION, HAID, CASTILLO ULLOA & BAUR, 2021)—and it is precisely these spatial transformations that Hubert KNOBLAUCH and Martina LÖW (2017, 2020, 2021) captured and theorized with the concept of "refiguration of spaces." On such account, the two FQS thematic issues on the "The Refiguration of Spaces and Cross-Cultural Comparison" contain articles written in response to KNOBLAUCH and LÖW's stimulating work. Therefore, both issues share the direct or indirect influence of the research tradition associated with Norbert ELIAS's (1986a, 2012 [1939], 2012 [1970]) figurational sociology, which is in turn a sociology-of-knowledge approach. As KNOBLAUCH and LÖW (2021) sustain, "'[r]efiguration' builds on ELIAS's (2006 [1969]) idea of 'figuration' as relationships of interdependencies ranging from the individual, the body, affects, and orientations to institutional actors" (§7). Based on these observations, in these two FQS thematic issues, scholars from various disciplines asked one or both of the following questions:

Despite the underlying conceptual and thought-provoking commonality, the two thematic issues nevertheless differ slightly with regard to three respects:

Most obviously, the thematic issues differ in the disciplinary composition of their contributors. In the first thematic issue (BAUR et al., 2021), sociologists discussed the implications of the refiguration of spaces through the lens of various methodological traditions. In doing so, authors covered both qualitative research—such as sociology of knowledge and social hermeneutics (REICHERTZ, 2021), biographical research (BECKER, 2021), and ethnography (BURCHARDT, 2021)—and quantitative research—such as process-generated data, for instance, public administrative data (MANDERSCHEID, 2021), and research-induced data, like survey data (ASCHAUER, 2021). As early German sociology originated from the historical sciences, it is not surprising that ELIAS (1977, 1986b)—who can be deemed one of the second-generation German sociologists—proposed a process-oriented theory and methodology (BAUR & ERNST, 2011), taking a specific historical-sociological perspective (ELIAS 2006 [1969], 2012 [1939]). Following this tradition of close entanglement between the historical sciences and sociology, we purposefully included methodological reflections of both a historian (MIDDELL, 2021) and a historical sociologist (HERGESELL, 2021) in the first issue. [3]

While the disciplines represented by the authors in the first thematic issue focused more on the temporal aspects of the refiguration of spaces, the disciplines embodied by the authors in the second thematic issue address more explicitly the spatial dimension of the refiguration of spaces. In addition, these authors are rooted in a wider range of disciplines. This second thematic issue opens with three sociological contributions, which serve as a bridge from one issue to the other, for they focus more on spatiality than temporality. Moreover, all the authors stress more conspicuously the role collective actors play in constructing space. As a result of their analysis, these authors also offer suggestions for overcoming methodological nationalism (BAUR et al., 2021; MANDERSCHEID, 2021). More specifically, Daniel WITTE and Andreas SCHMITZ (2021) take a relational perspective by applying a field-theoretical approach in the tradition of Pierre BOURDIEU. To that end, they define the nation state as a field of power within the global field of power. This has at least two methodological advantages: on the one hand, territoriality and the nation state can be disentangled, as territoriality becomes a resource for which nation states can compete. On the other hand, given that the nation state becomes, in consequence, one of the many (co-existing) fields of power, it is feasible for nation states to be compared not only with one another but also with other social entities on other scales. Following this line of thought, Johanna HOERNING (2021) combines the theories of Norbert ELIAS and Henri LEFEBVRE to shed light on actors' socio-spatial logics and how, in general, they reconstruct space or, specifically, why, how, and with what consequences actors have rescaled the relationship between socially meaningful geographic arenas (global/worldwide, national, regional, metropolitan, urban, local, bodily) since the 1970s. HOERNING shows that any analysis of collective actors' spatial practices needs to be contextualized in their specific policy field, and in doing so, scholars have to scrutinize the actors' internal organizational structure and logics as well as their interrelations and power relations with other powerful actors in the field. According to HOERNING, to grasp collective actors' role in the refiguration of spaces, the investigation should be guided by three key questions: "What are the concrete localizations and positionalities that collective actors occupy? [...] Which spatial connections and movements emanate from the actors? [...] Which spatial references and ranges form the actors' basis of action?" (§57). By using the example of protest movements and drawing on phenomenology in the tradition of Alfred SCHÜTZ (1932), Sandrine GUKELBERGER and Christian MEYER (2021) provide a methodology to examine how these spatial transformations take place. They illustrate that actors' coordinated actions, complemented by social media practices, result in an atmosphere in which the protest's typical province of meaning is formed. This, in turn, provides new normative orientations, which endow a movement with legitimacy. [4]

Against the backdrop of these sociological reflections, the other authors of this second FQS thematic issue discuss the relationship between the refiguration of spaces and cross-cultural comparison through a variety of contrasting disciplinary angles, ranging from anthropology (FÄRBER, 2021) to architecture (MARGUIN, 2021a), geography (SUWALA, 2021), urban planning (COELEN, KLEPP, MILLION & ZINKE, 2021; PALLAGST, FLESCHURZ & UEMURA, 2021), and educational sciences (FATTORE, FEGTER & HUNNER-KREISEL, 2021). Although they are strongly embedded in their own discipline, several authors cross disciplinary boundaries by joining perspectives from different disciplines, for example, Thomas COELEN et al. (2021), Séverine MARGUIN (2021a), and Lech SUWALA (2021). KNOBLAUCH and LÖW (2021) close the discussion by synthetizing the contributions from both FQS thematic issues on "The Refiguration of Spaces and Cross-Cultural Comparison" and relating them to the wider debate on the refiguration of spaces. Moreover, they delineate the conceptual contours of the "refiguration of space" and make a strong case for deploying cross-cultural comparisons to investigate the refiguration of space. Consequently, drawing on these results, they take the debate a step further and introduce the notions of Raumfiguren [spatial figures] (LÖW, 2020; LÖW & KNOBLAUCH, 2021) and multiple spatialities. Additionally, and of paramount importance for the ensuing discussion, KNOBLAUCH and LÖW (2021) suggest moving from "culture" to "knowledge" as a pivotal point of reference for comparison. [5]

Together with a wider range of disciplines and a distinct emphasis on the spatial rather than the temporal aspects of comparison and the refiguration of spaces, a third difference between the two thematic issues is the overarching standpoint taken for comparison by proponents of different disciplines: While the first thematic issue revolved more around the perspective of Grundlagenwissenschaften [fundamental, basic, or pure sciences], whose tone is more theoretical, this second thematic issue builds on the view of angewandte Wissenschaften [applied research; policy-oriented approaches].1) This, sure enough, affects the way authors address the relationship between cross-cultural comparison and the refiguration of spaces. In the first FQS thematic issue, the debate revolved around questions typically addressed in fundamental-science debates in general and in social science methodological debates specifically. Such questions are:

These questions refer to classic debates within social-science-methodology discourses. They also evince that methodologists, when comparing disciplines, customarily frame their argument by distinguishing between Naturwissenschaften [sciences]—which are supposedly more quantitatively oriented and more positivistic—and Geisteswissenschaften [humanities]—which are allegedly more qualitatively oriented and more constructivist. In English-language methodological discussions, this dilemma has led to a deadlock in the methodological debate, in the form of the so-called paradigm wars, between positivism, realism, or modernism and constructivism or postmodernism (BRYMAN, 1988). Consequently, for at least thirty years, the debates have circled around the same recurrent arguments (BAUR, 2021). Moreover, within sociology, scholars frequently—and falsely—assume that realists tend to use quantitative methods to render measurements objective, while constructivists tend to use qualitative methods to take an interpretative stance (BAUR, 2019; BAUR, KNOBLAUCH, AKREMI & TRAUE, 2018). In recent decades, these seemingly irreconcilable discrepancies have sparked the mixed-methods debate (BAUR, KELLE & KUCKARTZ, 2017). [7]

In contrast, in this FQS thematic issue, when reflecting on the relationship between cross-cultural comparison and the refiguration of spaces, the authors implicitly or explicitly address the relationship between fundamental and applied sciences, which is usually neglected by most sociologists of science and social science methodologists. When epistemological differences across disciplines are considered, it is immediately brought to attention that there is no such thing as objective knowledge, but rather researchers actively have to construct the subject matter and the object of comparison. In other words, when researchers conduct comparisons and find (dis)similarities between different social contexts, it is not entirely clear whether these (dis)similarities result from actual substantial differences or rather, for instance, from diverging theoretical perspectives, research styles, ways of doing methods, or different reactions of the field to social science research (BAUR et al., 2021). As a result, scholars' theories and methods widely influence and determine the type of results obtained, which, in turn, affects our way of thinking about social reality (BARTL, PAPILLOUD & TERRACHER-LIPINSKI, 2019). In that regard, in this thematic issue, SUWALA (2021) illustrates how economic geographers and regional economists often make use of different theoretical concepts of space. Thus, taking a particular theoretical approach to and understanding of "space" shapes practices of comparison, the kind of questions asked about the refiguration of spaces, and the methods applied. For instance, whereas economic geographers contribute more to the micro-foundation of the refiguration of spaces, typically take a relational or topical point of view for comparison, and work with qualitative methods, regional economists focus more on the macro-foundation of the refiguration of spaces and tend to prefer big data and complex statistical analyses. [8]

The issue of how scholars should actively construct their subject matter centers the debate around the problem of positionality (BAUR, 2017; MARGUIN et al., 2021): researchers are always part of the society they analyze—that is, of their own subject matter. This is especially true for all researchers who analyze human interaction. In others words, scholars are always not only scientists but also non-scientists rooted in everyday life and must therefore balance what ELIAS (2007 [1956]) called Engagement [involvement] and Distanzierung [detachment].2) Based on this observation, in Section 2 of this article, we introduce the debate in this thematic issue by first elaborating on Max WEBER's conception of the social sciences as detached, non-normative sciences that should distinguish between empirical statements and value judgments, as well as WEBER's distinction between science and non-science. We then explain how ELIAS's concept of involvement and detachment both evolved from and moved beyond WEBER's concept. We elaborate on ELIAS's concepts of "involvement" and "detachment" and what challenges are posed by balancing them. In Section 3, we argue that different disciplines with diverging epistemic culture have been balancing involvement and detachment differently. We illustrate this by discussing how fundamental and applied scientists weigh involvement and detachment in research practice and how this relationship of involvement and detachment has been changing in the course of the refiguration of spaces. ELIAS was socialized as a German-language sociologist, and German-language sociology not only shaped his way of thinking but also served as a point of reference for his reflections on involvement and detachment. We therefore use German-language sociology as an example of a fundamental science (Section 4) and contrast it with German-language urban planning as an example of an applied science (Section 5). We conclude by reflecting on how differences in balancing involvement and detachment in different epistemic cultures influence the relationship between practices of cross-cultural comparison and the refiguration of spaces, as well as what question should be asked in future research (Section 6). [9]

2. The Challenge of Balancing Involvement and Detachment

2.1 The tension between science's need for objectivity and researchers' subjectivity

The debate about involvement and detachment is inextricably bound to the innate tension between objectivity and subjectivity that unequivocally permeates all research endeavors. Epistemological schools like nineteenth-century positivism (BRYMAN, 1988) and later critical radicalism (POPPER, 1935) stressed the need for science to be as objective as possible—an early example being Émile DURKHEIM (1938 [1895]), who strongly influenced French and American sociologists' epistemological beliefs as well as those of political scientists and anthropologists (BAUR et al., 2018). However, such certainty was soon to be challenged by a wide array of other alternative epistemological traditions. An early challenge to this broadly positivistic orthodoxy came from Thomas KUHN (1970 [1962]), with his famous discussion of "normal science," "paradigms," and the "scientific revolutions" that led fairly quickly to one paradigm being supplanted by another. KUHN himself, with good reason, always denied that his theory was relativistic, but without a doubt, that was how his work was read, especially among social scientists. Later challenges to the earlier orthodoxy were more explicitly and intentionally relativist. For example, proponents of radical constructivism (GLASERSFELD, 1984), postmodernism (LYOTARD, 2009 [1979]), anarchism (FEYERABEND, 1993 [1975]), epistemological historicism (HÜBNER, 2002), pragmatism (JOHNSON, DE WAAL, STEFURAK & HILDEBRAND, 2017), phenomenology (MEIDL, 2009), critical theory (ADORNO, 1993 [1962]; HABERMAS, 1981), and postcolonialism (MIGNOLO, 2011; MIGNOLO & TLOSTANOVA, 2006) have argued, each in their own way, that there is no such thing as an "objective" truth or "objective" knowledge, because all knowledge is at least partly influenced by subjectivity. Sociology of science has provided solid and vast empirical evidence for this position (BAUR, BESIO, NORKUS & PETSCHICK, 2016). In terms of methodology, sociologists of science have proven that empirical findings are influenced not only by epistemic cultures—which, as we explain in more detail in Section 3, differ between both disciplines and cultures—but also by researchers' social position—both as a person in the world system and as a scholar in the global system of science (BAUR, 2021; BAUR et al., 2016). Given that science is, in and of itself, a social system, researchers' class (LAUFENBERG, 2016), gender (HOFMEISTER, 2016), race (BAUR, 2016), age (HEINZ, BRIEDIS & JONGMANNS, 2016), and health (HERGESELL, 2016) strongly influence their career status. In addition, the global system of science has a clearly demarcated center-periphery structure (BAIER & MASSIH-TEHRANI, 2016; CONNELL, PEARSE, COLLYER, MAIA & MORRELL, 2017b; KRÜCKEN, 2016). Since World War II, the center has shifted from Germany to the United States (BAUR, 2016), which has ever since dominated the global system of science (KRÜCKEN, 2016). As researchers' positionality and subjectivity clearly influence scientific knowledge production, finding universal truths and achieving objective knowledge seems impossible. Regardless, upholding the ideal of searching for truth and objectivity is necessary for science for at least two reasons (BAUR et al., 2021):

In other words, social science methodology is confronted with the dilemma that it requires objective knowledge, even if this has been empirically proven to be unattainable. Katja MRUCK and Franz BREUER (2003, Abstract) summed up this dilemma as follows:

"On the one hand, there are many demands from philosophy of science and there are numerous methods that aim at eliminating researchers' impact on the research process except in controlled treatments. On the other hand, the insight spread that researchers, in continuously interacting with those being researched, inevitably influence and structure research processes and their outcomes—through their personal and professional characteristics, by leaning on theories and methods available at a special time and place in their (sub-)cultures, disciplines and nations." [11]

2.2 Max WEBER: Distinguishing empirical and normative statements and abstaining from value judgment in research

How likely it actually is for social scientists to be objective, and whether being objective is even desirable, has been a recurring topic ever since the late nineteenth century, when many of the great names of German-language philosophy, sociology, and history started the 1. Werturteilsstreit [value judgment debate] (DAHMS, 2018), which was reinvoked during the 1960s in the course of the 2. Werturteilsstreit [value judgment debate]—also called Positivismusstreit [positivism debate]—and more recently in disputes about positionality (MARGUIN et al., 2021). A first result of the first value judgment debate was to distinguish three forms of subjectivity: Parteilichkeit [partiality], Perspektivität [perspectivity], and Verstehen [understanding; sense-making]. While perspectivity and understanding are absolutely necessary for research, the actual problem is partiality, as it potentially distorts research results (BAUR, 2008)—and this is the question the first value judgment debate actually circled around. [12]

The views of Max WEBER, who pleaded for Wertfreiheit [value freedom]—or more precisely: Werturteilsfreiheit [abstinence from value judgments]—in the interpretation of evidence, have been especially influential among later sociologists. Subsequent sociologists have largely debated the topic with a cage built by WEBER, who demanded that in research practice, scholars should not judge too quickly (KORTE, 2001), but rather should first distinguish between Seinsaussagen [factual statements; empirical statements] and Sollenaussagen [normative statements; evaluations; value judgments] (WEBER, 1922 [1917-1918], p.455). WEBER also claimed that the social sciences should be empirical sciences (DAHMS, 2018; LAMNEK, 2002): that is, when practicing science, social scientists should limit themselves to factual statements. He believed "that it can never be the task of an empirical science to determine binding norms and ideals in order to derive practical implementations from them" (WEBER, 1904, p.25)3) and argued that "[a]n empirical science cannot teach anyone what they ought to do but only what they can do and—under certain circumstances—what they want to do" (p.27). In other words, for a scientist it is necessary to "familiarize oneself with the facts, even and especially personally uncomfortable facts" (WEBER, 1922 [1917-1918], p.455)—precisely if and when one wants to change something (KORTE, 2001). For example, just because a researcher abhors racist hatred, there are still racists in the world—and it is impossible to counteract racism in everyday life if researchers (and practitioners) neither acknowledge the fact that racism exists nor understand how racism comes about, how it can be identified, and how it can be counteracted. Therefore, every social science should be a Wirklichkeitswissenschaft [empirical science], processual and historical, using both qualitative and quantitative methods (WEBER, 1904, pp.44-48) and aiming both at Verstehen [understanding; sense-making] and Erklären [causal analysis; explanation] (BAUR, 2018). So, while English-language methodologists have been debating for decades whether understanding or explaining is more important, and whether one can or should use qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods, this was not even important to WEBER. What was important was for sociology to be a non-normative, empirical science. Being an empirical science does not mean that values do not play a role in social-science research—on the contrary:

So, WEBER did not plead for a lack of values in science. Rather, what was discussed in the value judgment debate were two rules of conduct: namely 1. whether it is possible, permitted, and perhaps even required for (social) scientists as scientists to make value judgments or not, and 2. whether social scientists may and should conduct applied research, how involved they should become with practitioners, and whether they should make practical implementations themselves (DAHMS, 2018; WEBER, 1922 [1917-1918], p.462). WEBER's answer here was clear: no, not at all! In his two renowned essays "Politik als Beruf" [Politics as a Vocation] (1926 [1919]) and "Wissenschaft als Beruf" [Science as a Vocation] (1930 [1919]), WEBER drew a sharp contrast between non-science—exemplified by the role of the politician—and science. While politicians and other practitioners are expected to give free rein to social and political ideals in the conflicts and decisions of everyday life, it is imperative for scientists to limit themselves to empirical research and refrain from value judgments (DAHMS, 2018). This implies that any kind of applied research cannot be science because any application is a normative statement that the application is an improvement to the status quo. In a WEBERian view, the moment people develop practical recommendations, they cease to be scientists and become practitioners. The same person can be both a scientist and a practitioner—WEBER himself being an example—but in different contexts, and they always have to make sure they clearly distinguish between these roles. [14]

In addition, practice—and therefore any kind of applied research—does not belong within the university. Therefore, scientific journals should be places "where truth is sought" (WEBER, 1904, p.27). In this context, WEBER strongly opposed the Kathederwertungen [valuating lectures] (DAHM, 2018; KORTE, 2001; LAMNEK, 2002)—professors should not misuse university teaching for "propaganda" (WEBER, 1922 [1917-1918], p.455), as in doing so, they would misuse their power over their students, who cannot fight back because students are not only young and inexperienced and therefore easily influenced, but also still need to be graded by their professors in order to receive a degree (WEBER, 1904, p.33, 1922 [1917-1918], p.455):

"If a professor wants to be the advisor of youth and enjoy their confidence, he should stand his ground in personal interaction in everyday life. And if he feels called to intervene in ideological and political struggles, let him do so outside in the marketplace of life: in the press, in meetings, in associations, wherever he likes. But it is a little too convenient to show one's courage of confession in a situation, where those present and perhaps those who think differently are condemned to silence" (WEBER, 1930 [1919], p.30). [15]

This does not mean that distinguishing between empirical and normative statements is an easy task or even completely possible—as researchers are humans, they cannot refrain from evaluation (WEBER, 1904, p.32, 1922 [1917-1918], p.455). However, WEBER (1922 [1917-1918], p.460) argued that it is important to uphold the ideal of distinguishing between them. It is therefore also important that in commissioned research, the funding agency and the objectives of the commission always and without exception be disclosed—and it is the duty of the researcher not only to do their research but also to critically reflect on the funding party and the objectives of the commission, which is also in the interest of the commissioning party (WEBER, 1904, p.32). As it is so hard for researchers not to become partial by bringing their values into the research question, the value judgments driving the research questions have to be revealed; that is, the researcher must

"at every moment make the readers and himself sharply aware of the standards by which reality is measured and from which the value judgment is derived, instead of, as happens all too often, trying to deceive himself about the conflicts between ideals and 'offering something to everyone' by imprecisely jamming values of the most diverse kinds" (ibid., see also WEBER, 1904, p.33, 1922 [1917-1918], p.463). [16]

In this context, WEBER also stressed that it can be just as dangerous not to evaluate and not to make judgments—being a scientist does not absolve one from ethics, morality, or responsibility for society as a whole: "Lack of moral conscience and scientific 'objectivity' have no inner kinship whatsoever" (1904, p.33). Moreover, researchers can hide evaluations and propaganda by being seemingly objective. Researchers can even misuse seemingly objective, value-free data for propaganda or to suggestively influence others. It is quite possible that "while appearing to eradicate all practical valuations, one can be quite strongly suggestive by using the well-known scheme: 'to let the facts speak'" (WEBER, 1922 [1917-1918], p.460). WEBER's postulate of abstinence from value judgments has become a cornerstone in German-language sociology's epistemic culture. However, it poses several drawbacks:

2.3 Norbert ELIAS: Balancing involvement and detachment

ELIAS (2007 [1956])—whose habilitation was supervised by MANNHEIM—combined sociology of knowledge (KNOBLAUCH, 2014 [2005]) with WEBER's thoughts and took the debate on the relationship of subjectivity and objectivity in research practice a step further by introducing the concepts of "involvement" and "detachment." As ELIAS was a native speaker of German but wrote virtually all of his writings on the theory of knowledge and the sciences and this particular text in English, the problems of translation to English do not arise, although the translations into German lack some of the nuances from English. In addition, the concept of "refiguration of spaces" (KNOBLAUCH & LÖW, 2017, 2020, 2021) theoretically integrates several theories into the tradition of sociology of knowledge: namely, ELIAS's (1986a, 2012 [1939], 2012 [1970]) figurational sociology, KNOBLAUCH's (2019, 2020 [2017]) communicative constructionism, and LÖW's (2008a, 2016 [2001]) spatial theory. Therefore, ELIAS's concepts of "involvement" and "detachment" are much better suited for analyzing the relationship between practices of comparison and the refiguration of spaces than WEBER's concept of abstinence from value judgments. Finally, with his idea of "involvement" and "detachment," ELIAS (2007 [1956]) was better able to grasp that subjectivity and objectivity are not sharp contrasts but that the difference between subjectivity and objectivity is better viewed as a continuum and developmental process.

Figure 1: Heuristic representation of the continuum between involvement and detachment (graph adapted from MENNELL, 1989, p.160) [18]

By introducing the concepts of "involvement" and "detachment," ELIAS laid the foundation for his own developmental sociology of knowledge and the sciences. In order to do so, ELIAS (2009 [1982]; 2009 [1985]) confronted the traditional philosophy of science with a compelling dilemma, which is still influential in some of the social sciences—that is to say, the philosophy associated with critical rationalism and the work of Karl POPPER (1935). Like other static polarities, ELIAS (2009 [1985]) considered it to be seriously misleading and hence looked at the issue not as a narrow question of methodology in the social sciences, but in the broadest relation to human knowledge and behavior as a whole. It is not a matter of polar contrasts, but of a continuum along which blends of involvement and detachment are located. As illustrated in Figure 1, this continuum is open at both ends, because there are no zero points; that is, no absolute involvement or detachment (MENNELL, 1989). ELIAS's (2009 [1982]; 2009 [1985]) emphasis on this point exhibits a stark contrast with PARSONS's (1951) abovementioned proposition that the distinction between affectivity and affective neutrality is a definitive, dichotomous, mutually exclusive choice between opposites. ELIAS (2007 [1956], p.68) explained that:

"[o]ne cannot say of a man's outlook in any absolute sense that it is detached or involved (or, if one prefers, 'rational' or 'irrational', 'objective' or 'subjective'). Only small babies, and among adults perhaps only insane people, become involved in whatever they experience with complete abandon to their feelings here and now; and again only insane people can remain totally unmoved by what goes on around them." [19]

According to ELIAS, adult behavior normally lay somewhere between these two extremes. Indeed, if standards of adult behavior ever strain too far in either direction, social life becomes impossible:

"the very existence of ordered group life depends on the interplay in men's thought and actions of impulses in both directions, those that involve and those that detach keeping each other in check. They may clash and form alloys of many shades and kinds—however varied, it is the relation between the two which sets people's course" (p.69). [20]

Nevertheless, the balance of involvement and detachment, seen in normal adult behavior, varies between different human groups and, within those groups, from one situation to another. It may also change greatly between different individuals in similar situations. By what criteria, then, can people's patterns of speech, thought and activity—the data that sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and historians in general actually observe—be placed in the continuum according to the balance of relative involvement or detachment they represent? The criteria are neither purely psychological nor purely social. ELIAS chose the terms "detachment" and "involvement," rather than more usual terms like "rational" and "irrational," "objective" and "subjective," precisely because "they do not fall in line with linguistic usages which are based on the tacit assumption of the ultimate independence of the psychological and social properties of humans" (ibid.). [21]

At all costs, ELIAS wished to avoid the mode of thinking in which psychological and social attributes are conceived of as separate entities standing in some metaphysical cause-and-effect relation to each other. The reason why this should be avoided is that "[t]he way in which individual members of a group experience whatever affects their senses, the meaning it has for them, depends on the standard forms of dealing with, and of thinking about, these phenomena gradually evolved in their society" (p.70). For example, in industrial-scientific societies people employ, as part of the knowledge they inherited from the past and now take for granted, a very precise conceptual division between living and non-living things (ELIAS, 2007 [1987]). The distinction is highly "reality congruent"—it consistently "works" with a high degree of certainty (ELIAS, 2007 [1956], p.70). Individual reactions, when experiencing the forces of nature—a thunderstorm, a forest fire, even an illness—may still vary from individual to individual and situation to situation; however, in scientific societies, the concepts that all individuals now use in thinking, speaking, and acting represent a relatively high degree of detachment. This is true of concepts like "lightning," "tree," "disease," "electricity," "cause," "time," and "organism" (ibid.). Today, there is very little scope for lightning and fire—and only a little more for illness—to be interpreted in terms of the intentions of supernatural living beings and their meaning for the particular humans affected. In other words, the range of individual variations in detachment is limited by the public standards of detachment embodied in modes of thinking and speaking about nature (p.70). This holds markedly less true for modes of thinking and speaking about things that happen in what we call society as opposed to nature. [22]

Any theory of scientific knowledge is inadequate, ELIAS (2009 [1982]) stressed, inasmuch as it does not explain how it developed out of non-scientific knowledge. ELIAS's own explanation of this aporia was based on an extension of arguments first put forward in "On the Process of Civilisation" (2012 [1939]). It is not an easy task to determine the structure of people's not-knowing and to describe it using the words of people who already know. Members of industrial-scientific societies have a hard time understanding that members of societies at earlier stages of development are often unable to distinguish what they themselves distinguish easily and as a matter of course. Their assumption of a clear distinction between living and non-living things, for instance, can be so easily confirmed by testing against reality that it is hard to imagine that anyone could ever have failed to make the same distinction. Yet, this took, in fact, a very long time to develop into its present form. It did so, remarked ELIAS (2007 [1987], p.120), "as a result of the combined conceptual labor of a long line of generations in conjunction with the reality testing of their concepts in the crucible of their experience." At some stage in the past, human beings could not have known that a volcano or a raging sea that put their lives at risk was not alive itself. The very phrase "raging sea," though now only a metaphor, demonstrates the imagination needed to put oneself in the shoes of people who were not aware that the eruption or storm that destroyed human life did so unintentionally and was thus a blind physical process. [23]

Similarly, ELIAS argued—taking up a line of thought that runs back to Auguste COMTE (1907-1908 [1830-1942])—that people have not always had the wide knowledge of themselves as human beings necessary to be sure that a person could not transform him or herself into an animal or a tree. Moreover, the certainty that this was not possible was all the more difficult because these things did happen in dreams: people could easily see themselves or others becoming, or being turned into, trees or birds or animals. Such themes still persist for us mainly in the magic and myths of folklore and children's tales: if they happen in dreams, we know they are only dreams. But how could human beings know, from the very beginning, that many things that happen in dreams could not happen in reality? ELIAS (2007 [1987], p.126) pointed out that "[f]or small children everywhere, the difference between fantasy and reality is blurred. They learn the distinction between fantasy and reality, like other items of knowledge, in accordance with the standard reached in their society." [24]

How distinctly the line is drawn between dreams and reality depends on public standards, and in industrial-scientific societies people are expected to draw it very clearly and act accordingly. If they were to act out their dreams in a way not aligned with the standard, their sanity could be called into question. Children have to learn this since mythical thinking, highly loaded with fantasy, is "the primary mode of human experience" because the elementary makeup of human beings dictates that "their emotions, their affects and drives, are primarily attuned to other persons on whom they can fasten, rather than to lifeless things" (p.128). This mode of experience does not simply cease to exist in industrial-scientific societies. As people grow up, it becomes a more or less submerged layer of the personality structure. Sigmund FREUD (1973 [1932]) discovered it and called it the "unconscious"—which ELIAS (2007 [1987], p.127) considered not to be a wholly appropriate term, "for it refers to experiences which, though stored in the memory, as a result of some blockage cannot normally be remembered at will even though it continues indirectly to participate in the steering of men's conduct." Furthermore, blockages arise, and the depth of submersion increases, by learning the highly developed public standards just mentioned. Yet, the magical mythical mode of experience remains alive in adults in scientific societies and is even allowed greater expression in some areas—cultural life and politics for example—than in the domain of the natural sciences. For the same reason, it is also seen in the popular appeal of science fiction, astrology, and parapsychology. [25]

If specific, though differing, balances between involvement and detachment are part of what is learned by every child in each particular society, the question is then how the public standards available for learning are themselves formed and changed over time. It is here where ELIAS forged the link between the theory of involvement and detachment and the sociogenetic and psychogenetic theory expounded in "On the Process of Civilisation" (2012 [1939]): rising standards of detachment of knowledge require a similar rise over many generations in the standards of self-control that have to be learned while growing up. It involves the same transformation of personality structure. According to ELIAS, the scientification of human knowledge involves the same movement toward greater foresight, which is also seen in the social constraint towards self-constraint, psychologization and rationalization. Hence, science—all science, fundamental or applied—involves a sort of detour behavior, the detour via detachment. One of the results of a successful detour via detachment is greater human control of the forces—physical, biological, or social—it is seeking to understand. [26]

In introducing the notions of involvement and detachment, ELIAS brought more prominently to the fore the continuity of science with "everyday" non-scientific knowledge—a point also made in several contributions to this FQS thematic issue. More specifically, Karina PALLAGST et al. (2021) show that different institutional and cultural settings gave way to the emergence of divergent spatial planning systems with diverse planning cultures. All along the refiguration of spaces, changes in planning cultures and societal changes are entwined. Likewise, from a perspective of anthropology of knowledge, Alexa FÄRBER (2021) considers how comparison is both a non-scientific and a scientific everyday practice—by critically reflecting on their comparative practices, researchers increase their methodical precision. Using the example of urban anthropology, FÄRBER illustrates that the city itself—urban anthropologists' object of comparison—"includes several everyday comparative operations that are both spatially productive and articulate each particular dimension of the refiguration process" (§5). This encompasses comparing economic and cultural histories of cities as well as exploring the specificities of urban interrelatedness. Hence, urban anthropologists add their scientific practices of urban comparison to non-scientific practices of comparison, which leads to scientific and non-scientific comparison becoming entangled in research practice. FÄRBER thus considers "meandering" as a comparative method of studying space, which quite logically results from the concept of refiguration, for comparisons are not only the basis of typologies—for example, when seeking the intrinsic logics of cities (BERKING & LÖW, 2008; LÖW & TERIZAKIS, 2011; LÖW, NOLLER & SÜSS, 2010)—but are also implied when looking for the interrelatedness of, say, world cities. While the comparison between the own and the other is built into the very heart of urban anthropology, FÄRBER (2021) pays attention to the ways urban comparative practices are performed by the actors themselves; for instance, when cities are ranked. Comparison, thus, remains "multi-layered and, by means of reflexivity, systematically contingent" (§22). So, to properly conduct comparisons, (anthropological) ethnographers need to be mobile. FÄRBER's analysis also reveals that ethnographic comparison is an academically vulnerable act. Ethnographers, through comparing, bring forth distinctions. In addition, ethnographic comparison is an everyday practice embedded in social life. Additionally, FÄRBER demonstrates that throughout the process of refiguration, both urban anthropologists and everyday urban actors increase their practices of comparisons, resulting in an increasing dominance of the entrepreneurial ethnographic self, which in turn not only drives the process of the refiguration of spaces, but also echoes the increasingly entrepreneurial orientation of universities (MÜNCH, 2016). [27]

To bring home how all these processes of involvement and detachment are connected in science and how scientific knowledge is related to everyday knowledge, ELIAS (2007 [1987]) referred to the fishermen in Edgar Allan POE's (1908 [1841]) story "A Descent Into the Maelström." POE's story concerned three brothers whose boat was caught in a deep whirlpool off the coast. One was swept overboard and drowned. The second clung to the boat, paralyzed with fear. The third, however, though terrified, began to look around him and distance himself sufficiently from his immediate plight to notice that among the many circling objects being sucked down into the whirlpool, those with a cylindrical shape were descending more slowly than the others. Shouting to his brother to do the same, he leaped into a barrel and threw himself overboard. His brother, incapacitated by fear, went down with their boat, but he himself survived—the whirlpool subsided before he and his barrel reached the bottom. The synoptic picture he formed of regularities in the motion of objects made his survival possible. To German readers, it is obvious that ELIAS's use of this old piece of fiction and its symbolism is a detour behavior in itself: the fishermen being swept away by the maelstrom are clearly an allegory for ELIAS's own biographical experiences during National Socialism (Section 4). In seeking a detour via detachment, ELIAS was able to reflect on both the causes of National Socialism and how scientists could and should (not) handle such events. The conclusion ELIAS drew from POE's story was that the fisherman who lived

"began to think more coolly; and by standing back, by controlling his own fear, by seeing himself as it were from a distance, like a chessman forming a pattern with others on a board, he managed to turn his thoughts away from himself to the situation in which he found himself. It was then that he recognized the elements in the uncontrollable process which he could use in order to control its condition sufficiently for his own survival. Symbolically representing in his mind the structure and direction of the flow of events, he discovered a way of escape. In that situation, the level of self-control and the level of process control were, as can be seen, interdependent and complementary" (ELIAS, 2007 [1987], p.109, our italics). [28]

The story of the fishermen represents what ELIAS (2007 [1987], pp.109, 112, 162) called a critical process, which, by virtue of its very own nature, can play a significant role in the growth of human knowledge. Should it prove possible for people to observe the relations between elements in the process with a measure of detachment, relatively unimpeded by emotional fantasies and in a realistic manner, they may then be able to form a symbolic representation—a theory, a model—of their situation and, by means of actions based on that representation, change the actual situation in which they are immersed. Be that as it may, such critical processes do not necessarily advance knowledge in this way, for at least four reasons:

Nevertheless, detour behavior has played an extremely important role in the growth of human knowledge. One of the earliest examples must have been the fashioning of stone weapons prior to using them to hunt. Detour behavior—a more general category than what is often referred to as deferred gratification (MENNELL, 2018)—is an essential element of what we call "rationality," that is, guiding actions by means of a symbolic representation of the connection between present means and future ends. Now, while not all detour behavior amounts to what we have come to designate as "science," all scientific knowledge involves an element of detour behavior. In science, moreover, "the primary human tendency to take the short route from a strongly felt need to a precept for its satisfaction has become more or less subordinate to precepts and procedures which require a longer route" (ELIAS, 2007 [1956], p.73). [30]

3. Involvement and Detachment and Epistemic Cultures

While all scientists must balance involvement and detachment, the way they do it and the amount of detour behavior they show varies between disciplines. For the practicalities of making comparisons in order to analyze the refiguration of spaces, this turns out to be quite important. As MARGUIN (2021a, §9) points out in this thematic issue, "discipline" is

"'an organized form of knowledge' (FABIANI, 2006, p.15), which faces two contradictory, historical objects:

1. The doctrine of canonized and stable knowledge—the goal of discipline-building in this case is the reproduction of a body of knowledge or a doctrine

2. The development of new knowledge within a self-limited collective." [31]

Sociologists of science have also repeatedly contended that, regardless of any belief in objectivity, all disciplines have a normative core, consisting of symbolic generalizations shared by the members of the discipline; a shared belief in certain truths; and statements and values underpinning this practice (MARGUIN, 2021a). Therefore, disciplines develop different "epistemic cultures," which can be conceived

"as more or less clearly distinguishable discursive and practical ways of producing, evaluating and communicating specific (sociological) knowledge. Components of such epistemic cultures are ways of doing things, including conducting research, developing arguments, publishing, using techniques and objects, distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate references, forming traditions, declaring certain works and figures to be canonical, developing forms of mediation, having specific forms of access to resources and being integrated into 'Order[s] of Discourse'" (KELLER & POFERL, 2020, §20). [32]

Reiner KELLER and Angelika POFERL argued that epistemic cultures influence the ways researchers produce knowledge, apply theories and methods, and pose questions. In other words, epistemic cultures provide the normative basis of science (MERTON 1973 [1942]), and as part of this normative basis, a specific balance between involvement and detachment and a specific detour behavior are deeply engrained in epistemic cultures. When considering cross-cultural comparison, it is also important to note that epistemic cultures vary both between disciplines (CISNEROS PUEBLA, FAUX, MORAN-ELLIS, GARCÍA-ÁLVAREZ & LÓPEZ-SINTAS, 2009; MRUCK, CISNEROS PUEBLA & FAUX, 2005; OTTEN et al., 2009; RATNER, STRAUB & VALSINER, 2001; REICHMANN & KNORR CETINA, 2016) and cultures (BOATCÃ, 2021; COLLYER, CONNELL, MAIA & MORRELL, 2019; CONNELL, BEIGEL & OUÉDRAOGO, 2017a; KELLER & POFERL, 2020). Thus, German-language sociology does not necessarily share the same epistemic culture, including the same way of balancing involvement and detachment, with English- or French-language sociology. As epistemic cultures are, in and of themselves, spatial, and as scholars from one epistemic culture may not constrain themselves to their own culture when practicing comparison, how we compare is always entangled with what we compare, as COELEN et.al. (2021), FÄRBER (2021), and PALLAGST et al. (2021) illustrate in this thematic issue. Moreover, disciplines are not stable: during refiguration processes, disciplines develop heterogenically and dynamically. In other words, in parallel to the process of the refiguration of spaces—such as cities (KORTE, 1990, 1999) or other spatial figures (LÖW, 2020; LÖW & KNOBLAUCH, 2021)—the disciplines dedicated to analyzing these spatial transformations also undergo change. Therefore, researchers within a discipline have to simultaneously develop new knowledge while reproducing disciplinary knowledge (MARGUIN, 2021a). With regard to involvement and detachment as part of a discipline's epistemic culture, the discipline's relation to society and other disciplines in the academic field is largely defined. In the course of time, this relationship is institutionalized. Finally, external factors may influence how a discipline's epistemic culture changes (MARGUIN, 2021a). In this context, KNOBLAUCH (2018, 2020a, 2020b) argued that, in order to assess how research practice is influenced by a scholar's subjectivity and how investigators balance involvement and detachment, only taking into account an individual researcher's positionality does not suffice because academics are always members of scientific communities—and these communities, as a whole, position themselves in the world, which is itself normative. So, in different cultures and at different times, the social sciences' epistemic culture might vary and the social sciences, consequently, might position themselves differently with regard to (amongst other things):

As these differences in epistemic cultures might affect research results, KNOBLAUCH (2018, 2020a, 2020b, 2021) suggested the development of an empirische Wissenschaftstheorie [empirical theory of science] as a countermeasure. According to KNOBLAUCH, in addition to conducting social research, scholars need to reflect on their empirical analyses by means of reflexive methodology—for example, by using ethnography of science or historical analyses of science—and on their specific epistemic culture. While much has been written on methods of social research, the role of social theory in social research (BAUR, 2009; LINDEMANN, 2008) and reflexive methodology (KNOBLAUCH, 2014, 2021), as well as their relationship, there is a general lack of examples of how to actually achieve an empirical theory of science (BAUR, 2021) although MARGUIN and KNOBLAUCH (2021) recently suggested some techniques, such as ethnography of science, methodological experimenting, and sensitizing visits. In particular, hardly any reflections exist with regard to how different disciplines balance involvement and detachment and how this influences practices of comparison. [34]

How disciplines balance involvement and detachment may also influence which other disciplines they typically cooperate with and how they do so—if one discipline is closer to detachment and the other to involvement, proponents of those disciplines will likely not cooperate well. An example is WEBER's claim that sociology should be an empirical, non-normative science. Monika STREULE (2013) argued that this is especially problematic when analyzing spatial transformations as this field of study has been transdisciplinary in nature since its very onset and, as such, depends on interdisciplinary cooperation. While COELEN et al. (2021) illustrate that in the field of urban studies, this type of research across disciplines is possible in principle, MARGUIN (2021b) contended that, at least in the German-language academic field, this interdisciplinary collaboration rarely works productively. We therefore claim that part of the problem may be that some spatial disciplines are conceived as fundamental sciences, while others are considered applied sciences. Recalling WEBER's argument in Section 2.1, it is very likely that fundamental sciences and applied sciences balance involvement and detachment differently and apply diverging standards of detour behavior. We will next discuss this by comparing the refiguration of the epistemic cultures in a fundamental science with those in an applied science—namely, German-language sociology and urban planning. [35]

4. Epistemic Cultures of Fundamental Sciences: Involvement and Detachment in German-Language Sociology

4.1 Early sociology (before 1933)

The refiguration of the epistemic culture of German-language sociology cannot be understood without the refiguration of German society. An initial formative phase for German-language sociology was the nineteenth century, when German society underwent profound social change (SCHAUER, 2018) induced by political revolutions, industrialization, and urbanization. The latter, in particular, resulted in increased poverty and population growth. Early suggestions addressing these issues—Manchester liberalism (laissez-faire liberalism) and Marxism (Karl MARX, Friedrich ENGELS)—were pitted against one another (KORTE, 2011 [1992]). The Historische Schule der Nationalökonomie [Historical School of National Economics] tried to define a middle ground and founded the Verein für Sozialpolitik (VfS) [Social Policy Association] in 1873 (GORGES, 2018). Back then, the historical sciences and economics were closely entangled. Sociology originated from historically oriented economics when scholars like Max WEBER aimed to solve the social problems of whatever they considered to be their own national society at the time. This interest in solving the current social problems of society and especially a strong interest in social inequality have undisputedly remained at the heart of German-language sociology's epistemic culture ever since (BAUR, 2021). Likewise, a good sociologist (HUGHES, 2013) has always been interdisciplinary. The desire of sociologists to solve social issues of their time is also true for urban sociology. Current urban sociologists' interest in urbanization and urban growth (HOERNING, 2019), problems related to cities, metropolitan areas, or megacities (HOERNING, 2016), housing shortages (HOERNING, ADENSTEDT & WELCH GUERRA, 2021), and homelessness (KELLING, PELGER, LÖW & STOLLMANN, 2020) can be traced far back into the nineteenth century (KORTE, 1984). Therefore, from its very beginning, sociology has shared common interests with architecture and urban and regional planning, which makes it all the more puzzling that interdisciplinary cooperation between sociologists and planners is so rare in today's academia. [36]

The epistemological issues are more important for the discussion on involvement and detachment: As early as the nineteenth century, the German-language system of science was divided by the previously mentioned epistemological debate between positivism and constructivism, which caused, in 1909, the VfS to split into the VfS—focusing on substantial issues—and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS) [German Sociological Association]—concentrating on more theoretical and methodological issues. While the VfS continued to see itself as a mediator between scientists and practical political actors, the DGS limited itself to promoting sociology as a fundamental science, and WEBER insisted that this was written into the DGS constitution and therefore almost impossible to change (LAMNEK, 2002). Basically, the DGS was founded as result of an epistemological critique in the wake of the first value judgment debate outlined above (BAUR et al., 2018). Reflecting WEBER's stance that the same person could be both a scientist and a non-scientist, many scholars—including WEBER—continued to be members of both associations. Regardless, this split was a first step in institutionalizing the separation of science and practice in German-language sociology. As a consequence of the value judgment debate, sociology was defined as a fundamental science aiming at maximum detachment from everyday life (BAUR, 2021). This is not only the epistemic culture from which ELIAS's thinking emerged and on which his thoughts about involvement and detachment rest, but it is also important because, in the course of the institutionalization of sociology as a university discipline, it was the DGS rather than the VfS that drove this process of institutionalization. Therefore, WEBER's epistemological and methodological writings became the key documents for the self-identity of German-language sociology (DÖRK, 2018a, 2018b; KORTE 2011 [1992]). [37]

While WEBER had still been entangled both in science and in politics, after his death in 1920, Weimar sociologists became more and more detached by withdrawing to the ivy'd tower. Sociologists of the time—including those involved in the sociology-of-knowledge controversy—concentrated more on the disciplinary self-identity of sociology than on their subject matter—the society they were part of. As a result, sociologists succeeded in a political campaign to introduce sociology as a university discipline in 1929 (SCHAUER, 2018), but at the same time, most sociologists completely missed the rise of National Socialism, which was—relating to ELIAS's concepts concerning the maelstrom (Section 2.3)—a critical process. According to ELIAS: by the time sociologists realized what was happening, the critical process had gone so far that any chance of controlling the situation no longer existed. When the National Socialists seized power in 1933, only a few sociologists had written about the dramatic changes in Germany. Among these few authors were sociologists who, like Theodor GEIGER, Rudolf HEBERLE, Sven RIEMER, or Hans SPEYER, were not yet established in academia; who, like Erich FROMM, Max HORKHEIMER, or Siegfried KRACAUER, saw themselves as political opponents of Deutschtum [Germanism]4); or who, like Hans FREYER or Othmar SPANN, looked favorably on the rise of National Socialism. In contrast, the bulk of German sociologists met National Socialism with an astonishing mixture of a lack of interest, naiveté, and uniformness (SCHAUER, 2018), including prominent figures such as MANNHEIM, who was exiled in 1933 himself but—when he was interviewed by Earle Edward EUBANK in 1934—still said about Adolf HITLER:

"We like him. Not because of his politics, of course, which strikes us as very wrong. But because of the fact that he is an earnest, sincere man, who seeks nothing for himself, but strives with all his heart to build up a new government. He is deeply sincere, of one piece, and we admire his righteousness and dedication" (in SCHAUER, 2018, p.123). [38]

4.2 Sociology during National Socialism (1933‒1945)

The years of 1933 and 1934 are the emblem of what ELIAS called the maelstrom (Section 2.3) and proved to be a turning point in the development of German-language sociology (SCHAUER, 2018). To put it in ELIAS's terminology: once scholars—and most other Germans—noticed what was happening, the experience of imminent danger was so overwhelming that they were unable to control their fear and attain the measure of detachment necessary to see and seize any chances of control the situation might still have offered. Rather, approximately 500,000 refugees, amongst them 12,000 intellectuals and scientists, were driven into exile during National Socialism (ERNST, 2015). Many others were killed. Those who escaped, survived—to express it again in ELIASian terms—more by accident than design. The result was a real brain drain, as Germany lost twenty percent of its scholars by the end of National Socialist rule, of whom about two thirds emigrated (PAPCKE, 2018). While until then Berlin had been the center of the international system of science, this center shifted to the American Ivy League (BAUR, 2016). Compared to other disciplines, sociology was disproportionately affected by this brain drain: By 1938, two-thirds of the sociologists teaching full-time or part-time in Germany had to flee, some of them for political reasons, but most because they were Jews. Most of these refugees were still little-established or young sociologists (SCHAUER, 2018). Amongst the persons who had to take refuge in other countries were not only Norbert ELIAS, but also Theodor W. ADORNO, Theodor GEIGER, Max HORKHEIMER, René KÖNIG, Karl MANNHEIM, and Helmut PLESSNER (ERNST, 2015; SCHAUER, 2018). Most of these scholars went into exile in the United States (PAPCKE, 2018). ELIAS was an exception: He fled first to France and then England, where, impoverished, he initially managed to get by in London on a small stipend from the Jewish Refugee Foundation (ERNST, 2015). [39]

This did not mean that sociology or sociological thought as a whole came to a stop or disappeared from Germany, but rather only those traditions that were not compatible with the National Socialist worldview (SCHAUER, 2018). As a result, the scientific profile of sociology in Germany changed fundamentally, with, for example, historically inspired sociology of culture in the tradition of Max and his brother Alfred WEBER, sociology of knowledge, or Marxist-inspired social theory disappearing from universities (SCHAUER, 2018). The effects of this can be felt to this day. For example, ELIAS's figurational and process-theoretical thinking (KORTE 2011 [1992]) was only belatedly received more broadly by the 1968 generation (ERNST, 2015). [40]

This does not mean that there were no sociologists in Germany during National Socialism—on the contrary, there were many. In the older generation (born before 1895) of the remaining sociologists, some—like Alfred WEBER, Alexander RÜSTOW, or Alfred MÜLLER-ARMACK—went into internal exile (KRUSE, 2018; SCHAUER, 2018). However, from the reaction of most of those who stayed, one can clearly see what Max WEBER had already warned about thirty years earlier: If one distances oneself too much and takes the belief in objectivity to the extreme, a lack of involvement with the everyday world can lead to collective irresponsibility or even complicity. Specifically, some researchers—like Ferdinand TÖNNIES—were not National Socialists themselves, but precisely because of their supposed "neutrality" and "objectivity," detachment from reality, cultural pessimism, and skepticism about democracy, they were theoretically as good as helpless in practice, to the point of being vulnerable to National Socialist ideology because they were unable to oppose it intellectually (SCHAUER, 2018). In ELIAS's conceptualization, these scholars demonstrate that a cool head may not be best suited to survival in a dangerous situation. [41]

Above all, National Socialism makes clear what can happen when sociologists are too involved in their subject matter: Many others of this generation were either already Nazis, or they turned to National Socialism after 1933, including formerly left-wing "sociologists with a political path" (SCHAUER, 2018, p.127, our italics). This—and this is very important for today's socio-critical, left-wing perspectives—illustrates that a critical political attitude does not prevent one from becoming an antidemocrat later in life. Overall, one third of the sociologists who shaped early German sociology between 1909 and 1934 had a broadly pro-National-Socialist outlook, including Hans FREYER, Werner SOMBART, Othmar SPANN, Richard THURNWALD, and Andreas WALTHER (SCHAUER, 2018). What united these scholars with the National Socialist regime was a profound rejection of the supposedly equalizing democracy as well as a devotion to the Gemeinschaft [community], the Volk [the people], and the idea of a strong state. A typical example is FREYER, who was considered the key intellectual figure of the Leipzig School, to which Arnold GEHLEN, Gunther IPSEN, Karl Heinz PFEFFER, and Helmut SCHELSKY also belonged. In 1925, FREYER was appointed to one of the first exclusively sociologically denominated professorships, and in 1933, he signed the Bekenntnis der Professoren deutscher Universitäten und Hochschulen zu Adolf Hitler und dem nationalsozialistischen Staat [Declaration of Allegiance of the Professors at German Universities and Colleges to Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist State]. FREYER had already had a decisive influence on sociological thought in the Weimar Republic. In his conception of sociology, he thereby turned against Weimar academic sociologists' formalism and detachment from the world and pleaded for closer involvement with society (SCHAUER, 2018). FREYER (1930) conceived "Soziologie als Wirklichkeitswissenschaft" [Sociology as a Science of Reality], which for him meant that bourgeois society had to be overcome by a "Revolution von rechts" [Revolution From the Right] (FREYER, 1931). In this context, FREYER advocated an understanding of sociology as a unity of norms and facts, will and knowledge: "True will founds true knowledge" (FREYER, 1930, p.307, in SCHAUER, 2018, p.131), and "only those who want something in society, will sociologically see something" (1930, p.305, in SCHAUER, 2018, p.131). [42]

FREYER and other sociologists thus not only politically legitimized National Socialism, but also redefined sociology as an ideological Hilfswissenschaft [auxiliary science] for National Socialism, in which they oriented sociology more toward the people, the community, leadership, and the state. Thus, at a sociologists' meeting in Jena in 1933, all contributors emphasized the importance of the sociology of community and the contribution it was to make to the transformation of society in the new National Socialist state. According to these sociologists, humans could live appropriately as members of a community only in a national order. To establish this völkische Gemeinschaft [völkisch community], science and politics must work closely together—thus, more applied research was needed (SCHAUER, 2018). To summarize:

"1. Only a sociology of community can say something about the shaping of the people's community in today's world. Science and practice must collaborate as closely as possible.

2. Race and the shaping of community are most intimately intertwined.

3. Sociology of community is urgently needed in order to transform our discipline, which is still strongly conceptualized on an individualistic basis.

4. Sociology of community provides the basis for university reforms" (Völkischer Beobachter, January 11, 1934, in SCHAUER, 2018, p.134). [43]

This older generation of sociologists (born before 1895) not only legitimized National Socialist ideology politically, but also trained a middle generation of sociologists (born between 1895 and 1915), known as the Reichssoziologen [Reich sociologists], who had few reservations about putting their work at the service of the new regime. Amongst them were Wilhelm BREPOHL, Walter CHRISTALLER, Arnold GEHLEN, Gunther IPSEN, Gerhard MACKENROTH, Konrad MEYER, Karl Valentin MÜLLER, Karl Heinz PFEFFER, Elisabeth PFEIL, and Helmut SCHELSKY (KRUSE, 2018; SCHAUER, 2018). This generation made a career for themselves during National Socialism. They realized that they could serve the Nazis not only as a source of ideas, but also as experts—which perhaps explains why most German-language sociologists today have problems with an "expert culture." To be successful as an expert under National Socialism, scientists did not necessarily have to be flawless Nazis. It was enough for them to see themselves as non-political data collectors, fact gatherers, analysts, and number crunchers who did not ask about the political consequences of their work. In this context, applied social research, which—at least in the context of the Leipzig School—was committed to the methodological program of a Realsoziologie [sociology focused on real life/reality; practiced-oriented sociology], also gained in importance (SCHAUER, 2018). [44]

The entanglement of politics and science called for at the sociology meeting in Jena came to bear in two ways: as the politicization of science and as the scientification of politics. Contrary to the legend of National Socialism's hostility to science, after 1933, government funding expenditures for applied research aimed at the social-technological planning and engineering of almost all areas of life exploded—the period between 1933 and 1945 was even a golden age of state-funded applied social research, from which mainly non-university research institutions benefited rather than universities. This is also important for later developments in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG): These non-university research institutions were always interdisciplinary, and sociologists were often in charge. For example, anthropologist and sociologist BREPOHL directed the Forschungsstelle für das Volkstum im Ruhrgebiet [Research Center for Folklore in the Ruhr Area]. Friedrich BÜLOW, an economist and sociologist, headed the Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft für Raumforschung [Reich Working Group for Spatial Research]. Other important institutes during National Socialism were the Soziographische Institut [Sociographic Institute] in Frankfurt and the Institut für Grenz- und Auslandsstudien [Institute for Border and Foreign Studies] in Berlin (KRUSE, 2018; SCHAUER, 2018). In this context, Heinrich HIMMLER—as Reichsführer SS, Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationality, and Reich Minister of the Interior—maintained a network of social science research institutes that were unique both in their scope and concerning their close ties to planning and administrative institutions, which practically implemented the Nazi's extermination and annexation policy objectives (KRUSE, 2018). In total, about 120 sociologists were active as applied researchers during National Socialism, which is an enormous number considering that in the year of the Machtergreifung [seizure of power] in 1933, there were only 55 sociologists employed at German universities. Applied researchers primarily worked in fields that the National Socialists found particularly useful—especially Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie [urban and regional sociology], Agrarsoziologie [rural sociology; sociology of agriculture; sociology of food], and Bevölkerungswissenschaft [population science; demography]—which were closely linked because of the National Socialists' obsession with Volksreinheit [genetic, social, and moral purity of the people] and the alleged lack of Lebensraum [habitat]. As can be derived from the above institute names, applied research addressed space on every scale, large and small. It served as the scientific basis for the segregation and extermination campaigns under National Socialism (SCHAUER, 2018). [45]

Urban sociologists were particularly involved in the planning and cleansing of cities in the National Socialist sense. A prominent example is Andreas WALTHER (KORTE, 2001; SCHAUER, 2018), who had already advocated applied social research during the Weimar Republic. In "Neue Wege zur Großstadtsanierung" [New Directions for Urban Redevelopment], WALTHER (1936) produced a Sozialatlas [social atlas] intended to help coordinate the Hamburg authorities and thus contribute to the resolution of slums. The Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft [Emergency Community of German Science]—the institutional predecessor or the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) [German Science Foundation]—funded the project from 1931 and celebrated it as a contribution to the "final solution of the 'social question'" (ROTH, 1987, p.384, in SCHAUER, 2018, p.139). As a result, both the project and the department of sociology at the University of Hamburg expanded during National Socialism. WALTHER's research is a prime example of how the close entanglement of science and politics propagated at the sociologists' meeting in Jena in 1933 was implemented in research practice. WALTHER closely collaborated with Hamburg city politics and, in 1934, wrote to the Hamburg senator for the interior and the police that he intended social research to provide a "systematic and in-depth study of the whole big city" which could provide the basis for effective interventions for "the elimination of areas harmful to the common good and for lasting cures for the völkisch symptoms of disease and decay in the big city" (in SCHAUER, 2018, p.140). To achieve this goal, WALTHER wanted to identify and record endangered and dangerous, gemeinschädlich [harmful to the community; mean-spirited] neighborhoods within the city, by which he meant socially deprived areas with, amongst others, high proportions of Jews, communists, social welfare recipients, long-term unemployed, alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexuals, prostitutes, and pimps. The members of WALTHER's research group developed indicators for measuring "mean-spiritedness" (WALTHER 1936, p.15, in SCHAUER, 2018, p.140). Based on this operationalization, they used process-produced data to map abweichendes Verhalten [deviant behavior]. After having mapped these supposedly "mean-spirited" neighborhoods, they used mixed-method data to conduct an in-depth analysis of their inner structure. In a third step, the individual residents of these neighborhoods were classified and sorted using personalized data—the goal was to create registers of people who resembled the reports of the later Staatssicherheitsdienst (Stasi; SSD) [State Security Service] of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The research group's numerous publications leave no doubt that these scholars were fully aware of their work's political consequences. "What they were pursuing was an 'eradicating' sociology committed to a social-technological idea of order" (SCHAUER, 2018, p.140). In this sense, WALTHER (1936, p.4, in SCHAUER, 2018, pp.140-141) states:

"A genuine urban redevelopment carries responsibility for the völkisch future in the long run and therefore does not only aim to replace bad with better houses but looks at the people. This type of urban redevelopment needs to be prepared by sociological investigations. Before the pickaxe can begin its work, these surveys must reach the point where it can be determined how to proceed with individual people and families of the demolition area: those who have remained healthy in spite of their social environment—that is, those who are particularly immune to urban corruption—should be encouraged to progress more successfully in the city; those who are suitable for marginal and rural settlements and who are also not lacking morality, should be guided to the goal of their desires; those who are only infected should be transplanted into healthier circles of life; those who are not capable of improvement should be taken under control; the hopelessly genetically defective should be eradicated." [46]

In order to further National Socialist goals, sociologists collaborated closely with politics not only at the level of the city, but on all spatial scales. Rural, regional, spatial, and population sociologists also showed how to use results of social research for geopolitics and, in this context, were closely involved in Ost- und Westforschung [Eastern and Western research], which supported National Socialist resettlement projects. To ensure these relocation projects, interdisciplinary research institutes investigated, for example, which ethnic groups populated certain areas, what an optimal settlement structure for a domination of the vast Eastern European spaces might look like, and how to best exterminate the current inhabitants, namely, the Polish population (KRUSE, 2018). For example, Walter CHRISTALLER, a pioneer of regional science, was also a mastermind of annihilation. He developed laws of a population's spatial distribution and worked with Konrad MEYER and Heinrich HIMMLER starting in 1939 on the transfer of his theory of central places to the conquered areas in Eastern Europe. Next, CHRISTALLER planned the settlement of the Warthegau, whose Polish inhabitants had been expelled, and after 1941, CHRISTALLER's theory of central places was also incorporated into the Generalplan Ost [General Plan East] (KRUSE, 2018). [47]

4.3 Post-war sociology (since 1945)

After 1945, German sociologists faced two challenges—rebuilding society and rebuilding sociology (KORTE 2011 [1992]). Amongst other things, rebuilding sociology meant democratizing society and rebuilding the cities destroyed by war. In the first twenty years after 1945, sociology institutionalized, professionalized, and consolidated itself as an independent discipline (MOEBIUS, 2018a).5) However, this process of institutionalization was not defined by those exiled in 1933 but by those collaborating with the National Socialist regime—and the Nazi collaborators moved fast. In 1946, the DGS was one of the first German scientific societies to be reactivated (SCHAUER, 2018). By the time the exiles returned to Germany, the former National Socialists had already defined the contours of post-war sociology (KORTE, 1990). Well-known Nazi sociologists were only rarely permanently dismissed from civil service. On the contrary, in the first post-war years, it was a lot easier to become a member of the DGS as a sociologist with a National Socialist past than as a leftist sociologist persecuted by the National Socialists (SCHAUER, 2018). [48]

Two common features of post-war sociology shared both by former National Socialists and exiles were the effort to reorient sociology to enlighten society about the social conditions of the young Federal Republic of Germany and the focus on and expansion of social research (MOEBIUS, 2018a; SCHAUER, 2018; WEISCHER, 2018). Maybe this is the reason for which postwar sociology was so strongly empirical, which in turn resulted in the importance of (empirical) methods of social research and methodological training in post-war sociology. Concerning theoretical debates, sociologists in the 1950s discarded approaches prominent during the Weimar period as old-fashioned. Instead, they favored either PARSONS's structural-functionalism (STAUBMANN & TSCHERNITZ, 2018) or pure empiricism (ERNST, 2015; KORTE 2011 [1992]). During the Weimar period, sociologists had debated a great deal about how social theory, methods of social research, and research practice should be related. After the war, theory and methods were institutionalized separately. Since then, professors of social theory have been solely responsible for furthering social theory, and professors of methods of social research have been accountable only for advancing methods of social research. Today, one will therefore typically find a theory and a method's chair in any German sociology department, surrounded by a range of spezielle Soziologien [specialized sociologies], which are subfields of sociology organized around specific topics (BORGGRÄFE, 2018). In this context, urban and regional research was defined as the topic for urban and regional sociology. Sociologists continued to cooperate with colleagues from disciplines important for their specific subfield of sociology. While this overall consensus framed post-war sociological discussions, different generations of sociologists balanced involvement and detachment very differently. [49]

Those of the older generation (born before 1895)—such as Alfred WEBER—had been academically socialized in the Kaiserreich or the Weimar Republic and had gone into internal exile during the Third Reich. If they were still alive and active in academia in Germany in 1945, they typically reacted with detached self-reflection and reflection on society in the sense of a Zeitdiagnostik [sociological diagnosis of the times], with which they tried to fathom the causes of National Socialism and the war. The common feature of diverse zeitdiagnostisch orientierte [time-diagnostic oriented] historical-sociological approaches was that their proponents understood the Federal Republic as part of the West or the Western community of values and not as their own political-cultural model. These scholars criticized the (supposed) epistemic sources of National Socialism and championed the values of freedom and human dignity. While these intellectuals were insignificant for the further professional development of sociology, they strongly influenced the democratization of post-war Germany (KRUSE, 2018). [50]

The middle generation (born 1895‒1915) consisted of those who had made a career during the National Socialist era and were largely Mitläufer [followers] or Mittäter [accomplices], as they had put applied research in the service of National Socialism—such as Wilhelm BREPOHL, Gunther IPSEN, Hans LINDE, Karl Valentin MÜLLER, Elisabeth NOELLE-NEUMANN, Elisabeth PFEIL, and Karl Heinz PFEFFER (SCHAUER, 2018), most of whom were active in the field of urban, regional, and spatial research. With few exceptions, this generation ignored or repressed the events of the Third Reich and World War II after the war (KRUSE, 2018). They continued their empirical research, impressed their ideas on post-war sociology, and had a second, glorious phase in their careers. For example, Elisabeth PFEIL (SCHNITZLER 2012) wrote the standard introduction to urban sociology of the postwar period. This generation, with few exceptions, did not publicly deal with the topic of National Socialism. Neither did they reflect on their own role in National Socialism—on the contrary, they completely omitted their past and concentrated entirely on seemingly apolitical social research of the present, for example, about cities, families, youth, or the class character of postwar society. In doing so, they often continued their earlier research, which they simply redefined in politically correct terms. The final step in not only obscuring the past but also making discourse on the past almost impossible was constructing social theory in a way that National Socialism and the Third Reich could not be captured by the chosen terminologies (KRUSE, 2018). [51]

The young generation (born 1925‒1930)—such as Hans ALBERT, Karl Martin BOLTE, Hansjürgen DAHEIM, Ralf DAHRENDORF, Jürgen HABERMAS, M. Rainer LEPSIUS, Burkart LUTZ, Joachim MATTHES, Renate MAYNTZ, Heinrich POPITZ, Dietrich RÜSCHEMEYER, Erwin SCHEUCH, and Friedrich TENBRUCK—was not professionally active in the Third Reich but could never really distance themselves from National Socialism because they had not only been politically socialized during this period, but were also more or less entangled with the generation of Reich sociologists. The Reich sociologists were colleagues (in research institutes), bosses, and supervisors. Collaborating with them was essential for a university career in the post-war period. All the greater was the shock when being confronted with war experiences, total defeat, and the monstrous crimes of the Third Reich. Probably because of their own bias and personal consternation, the younger generation did not thematize the Third Reich either. Therefore, although for different reasons, the younger and middle generations shared a preference for social research and a belief in improving society by means of sociology (KRUSE, 2018): The seemingly apolitical and professional application-oriented social research confined to analyzing and diagnosing the Gegenwart [the present; present society] that was typical for post-war Germany (OSRECKI, 2018) allowed the middle-generation sociologists to keep their National Socialist past hidden, while the younger-generation sociologists associated this type of social research with a political claim. The younger generation wanted to contribute to the construction of a politically stable, democratic, and socially just post-war German society. Social research, these young sociologists hoped, would contribute to political and social reforms that would permanently stabilize German democracy (KRUSE, 2018). The dominance of social research was cemented by the American occupiers who needed and promoted sociology and social research to provide the empirical basis for re-educating Germans to become pacifist democrats but therefore, at the same time, allowed for a continuity of sociology and social research with the Third Reich. POPITZ (2000, p.46, in KRUSE, 2018, p.241) explained the American belief in the power of social research as follows: "I remember how a friendly, very sympathetic American with whom I was driving through destroyed Dortmund pointed to the ruins and told me, 'None of this would have happened if there had been social research back then'." All in all, the younger generation of sociologists willingly and purposefully turned to American sociology and American culture in general as a role model. America became not only the measure of all things in science, but also the cultural model for post-war Germany. Social research—which at that time meant primarily survey research—was championed by the returned exile KÖNIG, who hoped that sociology had a special and essential role to play both in social reconstruction and in the moral renewal of politics (KRUSE, 2018; NEUN, 2018). [52]

All in all, concerning the role of sociology during National Socialism, the sociologists who had lived in Germany during that period first reconstructed themselves as a Schicksalsgemeinschaft [community of fate] who had suffered from the National Socialists, followed by a practice of collective "communicative silence" (LÜBBE, 1983, p.585, in SCHAUER, 2018, p.119)—the role of sociology in National Socialism was thus more or less forgotten until the 1990s (SCHAUER, 2018). In contrast, for the exiled sociologists, National Socialist crimes were very real, unforgettable, and unforgivable. For example, in this situation of silence, ELIAS (2007 [1987]) wrote "Involvement and Detachment," but remained in England and only returned to Germany later (ERNST, 2015, 2017; ERNST & KORTE, 2017; JENTGES, 2017; KORTE, 2017). Other exiled sociologists—like HORKHEIMER and ADORNO—remigrated to Germany much earlier. This politische Generation [political generation] belonged to the middle generation but had completely different life experiences. The refugees had not only been forced into exile and lost many friends and colleagues during the National Socialist regime, but after the war, they were stigmatized again by being exposed to multiple resentments. In contrast to the Reich sociologists who retreated into apolitical professionalism after the fiasco of the Third Reich, the remigrants behaved in exactly the opposite way: Professional scholarship took second place. Instead, they acted as political intellectuals who wanted to contribute to the lasting democratization of German society. Above all, the universities were to be democratized and the youth were to be won over for democratic values (ERNST, 2015; KRUSE, 2018). [53]

However, the remigrated exiles' biggest challenge was that they had to face and collaborate with the former Nazis who continued to work unchallenged at universities (ERNST, 2015). This, in combination with the collective silence regarding the National Socialist past, resulted in a Bürgerkrieg in der Soziologie [civil war in sociology] (MOEBIUS, 2018b, pp.291-293). The collective silence has allowed National Socialism to linger on, so that it continues to have an effect today, since central conflicts have yet to be settled. As Nazi collaboration could not be openly discussed, it was instead the side-issue of all post-war debates: When scholars were supposedly discussing scientific matters, they were in fact discussing the involvement of individual persons, schools of thought, and theoretical traditions in National Socialism (MOEBIUS, 2018b; SCHAUER, 2018). The DGS first tried to soften and de-escalate political antagonism by increasing detachment—that is, instead of discussing the role of individual involvements, they DGS board suggested debating epistemological issues. However, this attempt failed thoroughly and initiated the second value judgment debate—the positivism dispute. While the second value judgment debate had already started in the 1930s and 1940s as a controversy between the Frankfurt School and the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle, the debate spun out of control in the 1960s because of the civil war in sociology. In the hope of increasing the detachment of the debate, in 1960, the DGS board invited the leading representatives of the conflicting positions: Theodor W. ADORNO and Max HORKHEIMER; René KÖNIG; Hans FREYER, Arnold GEHLEN, Helmut SCHELSKY, and Carl JANTKE; Arnold BERGSTRAESSER, Wilhelm Emil MÜHLMANN and Helmuth PLESSNER. However, the DGS board did not manage to mediate the points of view. Instead, a discussion ensued during a non-public DGS conference in Tübingen in 1961. POPPER, who was at that time still unknown in German sociology, was invited because KÖNIG and SCHELSKY were not trusted to build up a strong counterposition to ADORNO. Therefore, POPPER unknowingly served as the scapegoat for those downplaying National Socialism. The lack of detachment in this specific sociological dispute is illustrated by the fact that ADORNO and POPPER did not differ that much in terms of epistemology: Both were against conducting research without the intention to solve problems, against restricting the social sciences to collecting seemingly objective facts, and against a Vernaturwissenschaftlichung [natural-scientification] of the social sciences. The dispute escalated not only because ADORNO and POPPER misunderstood each other but also because ADORNO—completely incomprehensibly from the perspective of a detached, scientific point of view, completely understandable from the perspective of a biographically involved person—accused POPPER of positivism (LAMNEK, 2002; MOEBIUS, 2018b). [54]

As a result, German sociology was divided into different schools of thought, whose members stopped talking to each other (MOEBIUS, 2018a, 2018b). This is a problem for German-language sociology as a discipline because, since then, these epistemological problems have not been productively discussed—and therefore they remain unresolved to this day. Furthermore, in the course of this debate, Max WEBER's position on the distinction between empirical and normative statements was reaffirmed (LAMNEK, 2002), the distinction between fundamental and applied research was drawn even more sharply than before, and—also because all Nazi-funded research was applied research—sociology was henceforth firmly defined as fundamental science limited to empirical research. This is reflected in the founding of the Berufsverband Deutscher Soziologen (BDS) [German Association of Professional Sociologists] in 1976 as a counter-organization to the DGS (LAMNEK, 1999). This does not mean that current sociologists are completely detached from their society and everyday life. On the contrary, post-war sociology has always been public sociology, aimed at the sociological enlightenment of responsible citizens (NEUN, 2018). Sociologists have been writing for the public with publishers such as Suhrkamp (RÖMER, 2018) or in newspapers like the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung and Die Zeit. Sociology therefore also has continuously addressed current social problems, and this is reflected in the specialized sociologies, which depend on current social problems like the democratization of society (political sociology), democratization of enterprises (sociology of work and industry), new social movements (sociology of women and gender, environmental sociology), improving education and social work (education, family, life course, childhood, youth, old age), and fighting poverty (welfare state, labor market, poverty) (MOEBIUS, 2018a). Sociology was also closely interwoven with social critique and new social movements. The critical stance of sociology was reaffirmed in the strong role sociology played during the 1968 student movement (KORTE, 1987, 2011 [1992]), which in turn increased efforts to academize and professionalize sociology, encouraged the building of new universities, and promoted theoretical language becoming more complex. Only after 1989 and similar to the 1930s, sociologists turned their focus back to their own discipline, also because the increasing dominance of neoliberal ideas pushed back sociological concepts in the public (NEUN, 2018). Regardless, sociology moved away from applied research, and critical self-reflection became a central part of basic university training in theory and methods. [55]

5. Epistemic Cultures of Applied Sciences: Involvement and Detachment in German-Language Urban Planning

5.1 Early urban planning (before 1933)

Urban planning is a comparably young discipline that developed in the wake of dynamic urbanization in Europe in the late nineteenth century. As already described in Section 4.1, rising spatial conflicts in economic, technical, and design terms, but also severe living conditions, had been accumulating and thereby raising critical questions such as: how could and should social coexistence in cities be organized? Owing to early industrialization and its concomitant emerging housing problems, the English Public Health Act in 1848 pointed to this challenge quite early and opened the discussion regarding the need for forward-looking planning and regulation (PAHL-WEBER & SCHWARTZE, 2018). Urban design and form-related practices were expanded to urban planning aspects. In Germany (and other European countries), the urban expansion planning during the nineteenth century is often seen as the birthplace of today's public urban planning. At that time, disciplinary goals, concepts, and principles were developed in order to respond to the dynamics of urbanization and to form the—epistemological and methodological—basis of the discipline that was eventually named "urban planning" (FRICK, 2011 [2006]; KEGLER, 1990; PAHL-WEBER & SCHWARTZE, 2018). According to Harald KEGLER (1990), urban planning as a discipline developed between 1870 and 1922 in three distinct phases:

The first implementation-oriented German-language handbooks were written by Reinhard BAUMEISTER (1876) on urban expansion, Camillo SITTE (1990 [1889]) on urban design and architecture, and Josef STÜBBEN (1890) on planning procedures (LAMPUGNANI, ALBRECHT, BIHLMAIER & ZURFLUH, 2017). By the end of the nineteenth century, urban planners had already become aware of a theoretical deficit, especially because they had to draw on other already established sciences—such as economics, statistics, sanitation, or (waste) water and construction engineering (WICHMANN, 2018). Despite thriving debates among practitioners and publishing the first handbooks, the first stand-alone university education programs for urban planning were implemented in the UK and the US only prior to World War II, primarily as offshoots of engineering courses in architecture and, later, of the social sciences (SILVER, 2018). In contrast to sociology (Section 4.1), urban planning as a discipline had not yet been institutionalized at universities in Germany when the National Socialists seized power in 1933. [57]

5.2 Urban planning during National Socialism (1933‒1945)

Like sociologists, planners living in Germany during National Socialism were heavily involved in the implementation of National Socialist ideals, and, in fact, scholars from both disciplines closely collaborated during this period (Section 4.2). Drawing on Ursula PETZ (1987), Dirk SCHUBERT (2015) outlined in his brief history on urban planning that—when the National Socialists came to power—urban planning as a field of action was adopted ideologically:

"Probably no other policy area could be instrumentalized more swiftly and better for the vague National Socialist goals than urban planning and urban renewal. Although there was no uniform terminology after 1933, the housing reform tradition's more neutral terms, such as Stadtsanierung [urban development] and Stadterneuerung [urban renewal], were replaced after the National Socialists seized power by 'catchier' and more militant buzzwords such as Elendsviertelsanierung [slum redevelopment], Schandfleckenbeseitigung [eradication of eyesores] and Stadtgesundung [urban recovery]" (p.132). [58]

Many urban planners and architects served the new rulers willingly. With the Gesetz über die Neugestaltung deutscher Städte [Law on the Redesign of German Cities] of 1937, planners were given extensive powers for remaking German cities (ibid.). Both architecture and urban design were used for visualizing National Socialist ideology, served as propaganda instruments, and reaffirmed power structures. In addition, many cities were giving Ehrentitel [honorary titles] in order to refer to their historical importance or special significance for National Socialism. This was accompanied by urban renewal. In addition to slum redevelopment, whole cities were resigned or even built from scratch to symbolize National Socialist ideals. For example, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) first divided Germany into 33 (1925), later 43 (1941) Gaue [administrational districts]. Each district was assigned a Gauhauptstadt [district capital], which was usually a town with a well-preserved historical center. To express that these cities were centers of power of the centralized Führerstaat [Führer state], the historic city centers were opposed by so-called Gauforen [Gau forums]. Gau forums were closed administrative building complexes consisting of a Halle des Volkes [Hall of the People], Gauhaus [Gau house], bell tower, and square—an example can be still seen in Weimar (WOLF, 1999). In Neugestaltungsstädte [redesigned cities], monumental party and secular buildings were constructed. HITLER awarded cities with the title of Führerstadt [Führer city] and then appointed star architects such as Albert SPEER to design and implement major urban redevelopment plans. For example, SPEER planned to resign Berlin to become the Welthauptstadt Germania [World Capital Germania]. Together with Walter BRUGMANN, he also designed the National Socialist Reichsparteitagsgelände [Party Rally Grounds] in Nuremberg, which was given the title of being the Stadt der Reichsparteitage [City of the Reich Party Conventions]. [59]

Apart from being means for propaganda, these grand urban design projects were complemented by the slum redevelopment described in Section 4.2. They included the dispossession, resettlement, and murder of the Jewish population and were usually implemented with forced labor. In addition, architects and urban planners were actively involved in designing Konzentrationslager (KZ) [concentration camps] and Vernichtungslager [extermination camps]. In close collaboration with other professions, they helped the National Socialists to devise a system in which both the design of individual concentration camps and the overall network of concentration camps allowed for maximum rationalization of killing (HÖRDLER, 2011, 2015). For example, Bernhard KUIPER wanted to build "Germany's most beautiful concentration camp" (MORSCH, 2021). [60]

5.3 Post-war urban planning (since 1945)

Similar to sociology, post-war urban planning was characterized by continuity rather than disruption. As the permanent exhibition at the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial documents, the same architects and urban planners who had built concentration camps during the National Socialist era and had actively contributed to the Holocaust rebuilt the destroyed cities after the war and made a second career, which not infrequently resulted in a professorship. For example, similar to Nazi urban sociologist Elisabeth PFEIL writing the standard post-war introduction to urban planning (Section 4.3), Nazi architect Ernst NEUFERT—who had been Reichsbeauftragter für Baunormung [Reich Commissioner for Building Standardization] and whom Adolf HITLER and Joseph GOEBBELS had placed on their Gottbegnadeten-Liste [list of those blessed by God] in 1944—wrote the standard post-war introduction to architecture and urban design (DORN, DURTH, GLEIM & SVENSHON, 2011; PRIGGE, 1999). According to SCHUBERT (2015, p.135):

"Postwar planning picked up the guiding principles of the National Socialist phase, although racist justifications for policies were dropped and replaced by other arguments. The economic and technical elite was largely spared the denazification process, and reconstruction was in the hands of 'proven' practitioners. With unbroken self-confidence in their professional competence, architects and planners remained in leading positions in building administrations and universities, with a few exceptions, although a few withdrew from the front line (Diefendorf 1993, p.181). There was no 'Stunde Null' [hour zero]. Rather, post-war planning practice is clearly characterized by biographical continuities and hardly changed planning models. Architects and planners who had been forced to emigrate in 1933 in order to avoid persecution for political or racist reasons often had a more difficult time participating in reconstruction after 1945." [61]

In contrast to German-language sociology (Section 4.1) and urban planning in the UK and the US (Section 5.1), the first urban planning programs were first established in Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s—that is, more than thirty years later than in sociology—by founding planning faculties and programs at the Technical Universities of Dortmund, Kaiserslautern, Berlin, and the University of Kassel (FRANK & KURTH, 2010). In addition to this late institutionalization, urban planning was also represented at fewer universities and with much less staff than in sociology. In contrast, before the institutionalization at universities, a discourse on planning theory had evolved (ALBERS, 1969; FALUDI, 1969). In parallel to institutionalization, the nature of this discourse changed. WICHMANN (2018, p.1775) stated that "until then, planning theory was often understood merely as a component of engineering planning, oriented toward practical problems and concerned with methodological and procedural issues." Consequently, "[t]he planning tradition itself has generally been 'trapped' inside a modernist instrumental rationalism for many years" (HEALEY, 1997, p.7). It was only the late 1960s that controversial debates on the relationship between planning and politics, on the understanding of values in planning, and on the legitimacy of planning statements began (WICHMANN, 2018, based on FÜRST, 2004). Like sociology in the nineteenth century, urban planning differed from subfields in other disciplines—urban sociology, architecture, engineering, construction law, regional economics, geography, and history of urban heritage, among others—and therefore was interdisciplinary from the start. Interestingly, while other disciplines—such as sociology, education sciences, and communication sciences—have long been emancipated from their respective disciplines of origin and assigned their own disciplinary identity, urban planning as a discipline remains not only connected to but also dependent on other disciplines. In terms of its epistemic culture, this has several consequences. [62]

Firstly, German urban planning inherited the historical legacy of the disciplines from which it emerged—also that of National Socialism (Sections 4.2 and 5.2). As the analysis of MARGUIN (2021a) reveals, this dark part of the history of architecture represents a mostly blank space within the memory of today's planners regarding their discipline's history and epistemic culture. Nevertheless, especially in recent years, a growing interest can be observed. In 2019—again, almost thirty years later than sociology—members of the Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL) [Academy for Spatial Research and Planning] considered how the Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft für Raumforschung (RAG) [Reich Working Group for Spatial Research] influenced the ARL in the context of a colloquium on Von der RAG zur ARL: Personelle, institutionelle, konzeptionelle und raumplanerische (Dis-)Kontinuitäten [From the RAG to the ARL: Personnel, Institutional, Conceptual, and Spatial Planning (Dis)Continuities], the results of which were later published in a book edited by Sabine BAUMGART (2020). [63]

Secondly, and in contrast to sociologists, from its beginning, urban planners defined their discipline as an applied science aimed at practical implementations given its perennial quest for exploration and conceptual-disciplinary indeterminacy. Furthermore, current planning debates are noticeably driven by both methodological normativity and empirical evidence. Within urban planning, values, norms, and ethics have shifted, as a result of the experiences from the past century and emerging challenges. In the last decade, for example, planners have been demanding new planning maxims and generalizable solutions for "sustainable," "walkable," "smart," "green," and "resilient" cities. In the midst of such an upsurge in concurrently emerging eye-catching labels, the role of planners tends to become somewhat diffused. Following Gisela SCHMITT (2010), SCHUBERT (2015, p.171) concluded regarding the past and future development of the discipline of urban planning:

"For a discipline whose scientific nature also includes elements of normative action sciences, it is necessary to continuously reflect on the professional image, self-image, and communicability. The self-image between the poles of 'generalist' or 'specialist', 'doer' or 'moderator' and the role change between self-confident visionary and dialogue-oriented string-puller cannot be definitively determined, but must be constantly reexplored." [64]

Thirdly, this has methodological consequences. Like sociologists, urban planners need methods of social research—that is, empirical methods—to assess the truth of factual statements. However, they also need normative methods (FÜRST & SCHOLLES, 2008 [2001])—which include evaluation and participatory methods, as well as art- and design-based methods (GIESEKE, LÖW, MILLION, MISSELWITZ & STOLLMANN, 2021)—to identify planning goals and decide which means are best suited for achieving those goals. As suggested by Max WEBER (see Section 2.1), such assessments contain empirical elements that can be tested using methods of social research. However, and in contrast to WEBER, these normative methods also aim at making value judgments—the result should be a specific plan for implementation. Finally, planners need to put these plans into practice, and in order to do so, they also use the abovementioned methods. The normative orientation therefore lies at the heart of the discipline, for every act is implicitly or explicitly subject to certain norms or values. "This understanding of planning as a guardian of the common good is associated with the corresponding core tasks [...], which are [in Germany] also largely defined and regulated in the Federal Building Code" (LEVIN-KEITEL, OTHENGRAFEN & BEHREND, 2019, p.120). Nevertheless, currently the discipline is also confronted with the question of who defines the common good and how it can then be negotiated, produced, and shaped with cities' stakeholders (BENTLIN, MILLION & TABAČKOVÁ, 2019; FISCHER, KURTH, SCHMIDT, BENTLIN & MILLION, 2020). [65]

Fourthly, at least in Germany by the 1970s, the post-war destruction had been cleaned up and cities rebuilt (KORTE, 1986). Therefore, while urban planning was and is still needed, issues other than urban design moved to the forefront of public debates in the whole of German society, such as the real democratization of German society, increasing unemployment, the exploding costs of the welfare state, the expansion of the education system, gender equality, environmental issues, and caring for the sick and elderly, as well as, a decade later, mediatization, digitalization, and the social transformations in Eastern Europe. This changing societal focus is reflected in the topics sociologists addressed and how (much) sociology and urban planning were entangled: while urban sociology had been a large subfield in the immediate post-war period, urban sociology became a minor subfield within sociology, while other subfields—which addressed the new societal concerns more directly—were on the rise. The topics urban sociologists addressed in the 1970s also reflect this changing focus of societal attention: Instead of discussing how to (re-)build houses, urban sociologists increasingly considered how housing policies (KORFMACHER, 1972; RIEGE, 1972) and urban development policies (KORTE, 1986) should be designed or how to improve urban infrastructure. "Infrastructure" increasingly meant "economic infrastructure" (GUDE, 1972) and social infrastructure. Urban sociologists also discussed how to democratize planning processes, for example, by means of Bürgerbeteiligung [citizen participation] (KORTE, 1986), Stadtteil-Gespräche [urban district talks] (KBE, 1999), and participatory research (KORTE, 1986). This shift from urban design to issues related to social inequality is not unique to German urban sociology but rather is a general characteristic of urban planning in the Global North, which Meike LEVIN-KEITEL et al. (2019, p.120) understood "as predominantly a state or municipal task force contributing to the implementation of welfare state objectives." [66]

However, while urban planning may not be a major issue in current societies in the Global North anymore, the contrary it true on a global scale: in the Global South—where most of the world population lives—more and more immigrants from rural regions to the cities are driving urbanization, and the cities themselves still desperately need to be designed. Often the situation resembles that of nineteenth-century Germany, with an overall lack of appropriate housing or basic infrastructure. While the living conditions of millions of urbanites—including people settled in slums and informal settlements—have improved since the United Nations' (UN) Conferences on Human Settlements in Vancouver (1976) and in Istanbul (1996), as well as the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, "the persistence of multiple forms of poverty, growing inequalities and environmental degradation remain among the major obstacles to sustainable development worldwide, with social and economic exclusion and spatial segregation often an irrefutable reality in cities and human settlements" (UN, 2017, p.3). It is thus unsurprising that in terms of both the scholars involved and the topics addressed, urban planning is much more international than sociology. This global dimension of urban planning is reflected in planning objectives that reach beyond communities, regions, and the nation state, like the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide overarching prospective guidance for planning actions. The SDG most relevant to urban planning is Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable (SDG#11). However, objectives for better spatial design and distribution are also mentioned in other SDGs. According to SDG 11, urban policies and planning proposals should effectively aid efforts to tackle the challenges of inclusion, resilience, and safety in cities by minimizing the development impacts and maximizing the socioeconomic values of urban environments. Both the socioeconomic values of urban built environments and development impacts bear a strong resemblance in terms of their spatial, social, cultural, economic, and environmental characteristics. Moreover, the configuration or organization of urban space mirrors the manifold ways in which people use, appropriate, (materially and symbolically) modify, and identify with it. For example, local knowledge is integral to both the production of policies and design and to planning strategies that are context-sensitive and context-responsive when promoting urban sustainability. This knowledge thus circumvents traps such as "importing and exporting sustainability," for example, transferring pollution or contaminating activities or purchasing natural resources below value (PEARCE, MARKANDYA & BARBIER, 1989, pp.45-47). [67]

In addition, over the past two decades, urban planners, urban designers, and architects (DAVOUDI, 2006, 2012, 2015, FALUDI & WATERHOUT, 2006), as well as urban policymakers (CAMPBELL, 2010; CARTWRIGHT & HARDIE, 2012; KRIZEK, FORSYTH & SLOTTERBACK, 2009) have become increasingly aware that to achieve (for example) SDG 11, they cannot use overarching, overriding, and formulaic solutions. Instead, they have increasingly emphasized that policymaking, planning, and designing for urban development schemes should be evidence-based (DAVOUDI, 2015; FALUDI, 2006; FALUDI & WATERHOUT, 2006). In order to understand the relevance of the concept of "evidence-based policymaking," it is important to keep in mind that, for a long time, many planners have been developing designs and implementing policies that were not always empirically grounded. Rather, planners have focused more on normative and design-based methods. In contrast to this common practice, evidence-based policymaking originates from a design and implementation process based on the examination of relevant evidence, meaning factual statements supported by empirical research. This is meant to render policies more effective, thus obtaining the expected and intended outcomes. [68]

While the "evidentialist turn" in planning has led to the improvement of the knowledge base in planning, the notion of "evidence" has increasingly been the subject of criticism and revision, as "evidence" is often mistaken for undisputable, scientific, objective, and veritable "truth"—which, as we have argued in Section 2, is a pipe dream. By the same token, "evidence-based policies" rest partially on the common assumption that it is wise to implement interventions that have been proven successful elsewhere. To back up such a procedure, randomized control trials (RTCs) and other quantitative methods are often used as a metric to ensure that a policy has worked and to thus add a layer of credibility to policies, for their outcomes are assessed in a supposedly objective way. Statistical procedures seemingly underpin a dictum of "it worked there, it will work here." However, the leap from "worked there" to "will work here" is not as simple or intuitive as it seems at first sight. Instead, there are two quintessential elements to make such a jump: "facts about the causal role the policy plays and facts about the support factors that must be in place if the policy is to work" (CARTWRIGHT & HARDIE, 2012, p.6). In other words, both causal mechanisms and context are decisive for a pragmatic transition from "there" to "here"—and even the other way around. Yet, as we discussed in Section 2, social science methodology has demonstrated that empirical findings are strongly influenced by the researchers' social position, their positioning in the world-system, and the social organization of practicing science. It is almost impossible to construct objective data (BAUR et al., 2018) and even harder to empirically establish causal relationships (BAUR, 2018). Thus, the issue is whether the exact same methods could be universally applied and how to make evidence comparable. Be that as it may, in order to implement evidence-based policies, urban planning requires as much certainty as possible with regard to (dis)similarities between contexts—for instance, in social inequality research. Yet, planning practitioners, oddly enough, repeatedly regard evidence

"as synonymous with facts, robust and credible [which] is [thus] interpreted as quantitative and measurable, 'front' is seen as an identifiable moment in time when plan making begins and 'loading' is considered as pouring a certain quantity of evidence into a plan-making 'container'. The chosen terminologies are indicative of a limited technical rational view of planning which perceives an instrumental place for evidence in the policy process. This view perpetuates the Geddesian dictum of 'survey before plan' and assumes a linear and unproblematic process that begins with the collection of often descriptive data and ends with a blue print" (DAVOUDI, 2015, p.317). [69]

Hence, it is essential for planners to directly tackle and grapple with the challenge of, as it were, "making the in-comparable comparable" (ibid.) and infusing relevant evidence into their practices. Evidence ought to be considered enlightening instead of determining—that is, evidence should inform rather than found (DAVOUDI, 2006). The limited approach of solely gathering evidence and the instrumental role of knowledge in the practice of urban policymaking, planning, and design should also be surpassed. DAVOUDI (2015) argued that evidence-based urban development should be fostered by a practice of knowing—conflating knowledge transfer, exchange, and implementation—and constitute a process of "articulating knowledge and action recursively interlinked rather than considering the former as a precondition to, or coming before, the latter in a linear causal chain" (p.317). Thus, urban planners, urban designers, architects, and policymakers require "an understanding of the complex relationships between knowing what (cognitive & theoretical knowledge), knowing how (skills & technical knowledge), knowing to what end (moral choices) and doing (action & practice)" (p.318). In this line of thought, the members of the Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability proposed co-producing spatial research methods to substantively couple knowledge production and practical implementations and favor so-called low-impact development policies, plans, and design projects. Consequently, Majorie R. VAN ROON, Henri VAN ROON and Shelly TRUEMAN (2009, p.2) suggested that specialist researchers should "move out of silo thinking—to think beyond the conventional use of their work into wider contexts" of both knowledge and action. Accordingly, the participation of those ultimately affected by evidence-based and low-impact policies, plans, and designs is a key element. In this regard, community-driven initiatives—as an optimal implementation scale—may well benefit from multi-and interdisciplinary inputs to harness expertise and resident involvement and thus initiate a cycle of knowledge transfer-exchange implementation, further the expansion of synergic networks, and make goals (more) attainable and outcomes (more) durable. [70]

6. Conclusion: The Balance of Involvement and Detachment and the Refiguration of Interdisciplinary Collaboration Between Sociology and Urban Planning

When comparing sociologists and urban planners' practices of comparison, it becomes apparent that these practices of comparison are intrinsically linked to the refiguration of these disciplines' respective epistemic cultures, which share some common features but are also distinct in many ways. In particular, they differ in how they balance involvement and detachment, which in turn influences their stance toward "objectivity," "evidence," social research, and methodology. As a result, this affects the way sociologists and urban planners typically collaborate. As revealed by our reconstruction of the refiguration of German-language sociology and urban planning's epistemic cultures, members of both disciplines have always shared, at least in part, a mutual interest in shaping societies by decreasing social inequality and making communities more livable. They have also applied the same array of empirical methods, using both qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct comparisons. Furthermore, sociologists and urban planners have always believed in the productivity of interdisciplinary cooperation: While planning, even today, defines itself as interdisciplinary, the founding credo of German-language sociology was that sociology should be a complementary science to economics and history (BAUR et al., 2018). Therefore, sociology, too, has to be interdisciplinary. In postwar sociology, two typical types of sociological cooperation can be identified: oriented more toward social inequality, embedded in a Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften [management faculty] and cooperating closely with economics and business sciences, or more theory-oriented, rooted in a Philosophische Fakultät [philosophy faculty] and collaborating closely with philosophy, history, and other humanities. In both cases, sociologists work closely with political scientists. In contrast, urban planning is usually part of other faculties, and planning schools typically have their own chairs for (urban and regional) sociology. At German universities, faculties are typically allotted different buildings, and commuting between these sites is often very time-consuming. In addition, faculties' organizational structures in terms of teaching, research, and administration are very distinct. Consequently, in everyday university life, scholars rarely have the opportunity to meet colleagues from other faculties. As a result, planners and sociologists face strong barriers to collaboration. Moreover, urban and regional sociologists are typically institutionally separated from their fellow sociologists in everyday university life. In this regard, Technische Universität Berlin—where LÖW and KNOBLAUCH work and which therefore provides a key point of reference for developing the theory on the "refiguration pf spaces"—is rather unique. There, sociology is part of the Fakultät für Bauen – Planen – Umwelt [Faculty for Planning – Building – Environment], and, for example, at the Collaborative Research Centre Re-Figuration of Spaces, sociologists and urban planners collaborate not only with each other but also with architects, geographers, and members of other disciplines to address spatiality. [71]

For these reasons alone, it is no surprise that urban planners and sociologists rarely cooperate with each other in Germany beyond the field of urban and regional sociology, despite being ideally suited for interdisciplinary research. Another reason for this lack of joint inquiries may be that, in the course of their institutionalization as university disciplines, two very distinct epistemic cultures have evolved, which balance involvement and detachment very differently. While urban planning is defined as an applied science, combining empirical methods with normative and design-based methods, sociology is conceived as a fundamental science, aimed at detached, non-normative empirical research. This does not mean that there is no applied research in sociology—on the contrary. Sociology has always had the function of being a science of reflection and enlightenment, focused on practice-oriented consulting and problem solving. Today as in the past, sociologists not only scientifically analyze society, but also participate in shaping it (ERNST, 2006; KROMREY, 1999). This is reflected in the professional fields in which sociologists work. The professional profile of sociologists was and still is much more academically oriented than that of planners—since the 1970s, around one sociologist in three has found their first job at universities (BAUMANN & LÜCK, 2002; FUCHS & LAMNEK, 1992; ORTENBURGER, 2004; WITTENBERG, 2001; WITTENBERG, BUCHER, ENDLER & KAIMER, 1995). It is only later in their professional careers, due to a lack of permanent job opportunities in academia, that employment patterns shift. Not only in Germany, but also internationally, more than half of sociologists work in the private sector (ALEMANN, 1995; BAUMANN & LÜCK, 2002; STIEF & ABELE, 2002), where methodological skills are a sought-after asset (BEHRENDT, 2000; DECKERS, 1996; FUCHS & LAMNEK, 1992; SCHREIBER, 1994, 1995; WITTENBERG, 2001). However, within German sociology, a sharp distinction is made between being a detached empirical scientist and being an involved practitioner who is also allowed to be normative. The moment people become practitioners, they cease to be a scientist. While Max WEBER still assumed both roles in different situations, most current sociologists have a much stronger black-and-white worldview and only assume one role. This is manifested in professional roles: While scientists work at Universitäten [universities], practitioners work elsewhere (ERNST, 2006; KROMREY, 1999). Within the field of social research, there are different degrees of involvement, again reflected in the workplace: working at Fachhochschulen [universities of applied sciences], außeruniversitäre Forschungsinstitute [non-university research institutes], in commercial and semi-governmental research institutions such as market research institutes, in associations, foundations, and academies, and within universities in projects not funded by the German Research Foundation counts as applied research closely related to science. While young researchers cannot write a PhD thesis under the supervision of only a professor at a university of applied sciences or non-university research institute, they might still manage to reenter the field of "proper" science at those institutions. For all others, the reverse does not hold true: While it is possible for a scientist to become a practitioner, a practitioner cannot become a scientist. In addition, the term "applied research" has pejorative connotations in sociology, and most sociologists regard "applied research" as a quasi "waste product" of "proper," that is "fundamental" research (LATNIAK & WILKESMANN, 2005). It is thus no surprise that—while sociologists do use applied methods such as evaluation research, action research, and participatory research—applied methods were removed from most mandatory introductory methods courses in first-year university teaching and thus deleted from the standard methodological canon in the 1980s at the latest. In addition, most social science methodologists would be neither willing nor able to teach these methods. Correspondingly, only a few sociologists, such as KROMREY (1999), have reflected on the principles of applied research, and if they do so, they warn against oversimplifying. This disciplinary mindset is not exactly the best prerequisite for collaborating with urban planners at universities. [72]

Sociology and urban planning are not only spatially and organizationally separated at universities and characterized by different epistemic cultures—during the refiguration process, they have also been further disentangled from each other. While urban transformation is a key topic for urban planners, it has become a minor social issue in German society and therefore a side topic within sociology since the 1970s, which has shifted its attention elsewhere. Within planning, urban sociologists directed their attention toward Sozialplanung [social planning], which in the following years differentiated from urban planning and became a field of practice in its own right (KORTE, 1986; STEGMANN, 1999). While this has not led to a permanent collapse in the proportion of sociologists employed as planners (ZINN & DAMMANN, 1995), sociology's shift of thematic attention is reflected in the professional fields in which sociologists outside the university work: If sociologists work in public administration, they tend to work not so much in urban planning but rather in the fields of youth welfare, social welfare, social planning, counseling, and health care (ALEMANN, 1995; FUCHS & LAMNEK, 1992; SCHREIBER, 1994; ZINN & DAMMANN, 1995). Moreover, the employment patterns of sociologists have shifted from the public sector toward industry, commerce, and services in the course of the refiguration of both society and their epistemic culture (ORTENBURGER, 2004), and since the early 2000s, in an international comparison, it is striking that very few sociologists in Germany have worked in public-sector administrations (SCHOMBURG, 2002). Since the 1980s, sociologists have worked in very different occupational fields, ranging from management, consulting, corporate training, human resources, data collection or analysis (market research, computational social sciences), marketing and sales, quality management, evaluation, customer management, time and project management, the media, public relations, and so on (AGREITER & SCHINDLER, 2002; BAUMANN & LÜCK, 2002; BEHRENDT, 2000; ORTENBURGER, 2004; WITTENBERG, 2001; WITTENBERG et al., 1995). Overall, sociology's fields of application are manifold (SCHREIBER, 1995), with sociology of spatiality, city, and region accounting for only a very small share—for decades, in Germany, the fields of organization and administration; youth, age, generation and childhood; economy, work, organization; family, marriage, and gender roles; medicine and health have all been more important than the subject area of community, city, and architecture (ALEMANN, 1995). [73]

In addition, the disciplinary habituses of German-language sociologists and planners do not seem to mix well. As we have shown above, detached theorizing and methodological self-reflection is engrained in the habitus of a "good" sociologist, and the techniques for doing so have been refined in recent decades. In sociology, research ethics and critical self-reflection are part of the fixed repertoire of methods training in the first year of study—and the social engineering of Latin America and Andreas WALTHER are often used as examples of the negative consequences of applied research. This contrasts with the habitus of architects and urban and regional planners, who are more focused on doing. While many may have forgotten National Socialism and its role in science (Section 5.3), sociologists have not. In addition, urban planners' strong involvement and understanding as practitioners very likely appears to most sociologists as a lack of reflection: Criticism of social engineering and the disintegration of the political planning perspective in the 1970s led to a decoupling of sociology and politics and planning in practice (NEUN, 2018). In the early 1970s, the self-images of sociologists closely cooperating with urban planners reflected this disentanglement of sociology and urban planning and the lack of theoretical reflection in urban studies as they considered "sociology as a simplified social science" (BRAKE & GERLACH, 1972, p.180) and "sociology of the city as once again abbreviated sociology" (p.185). This tension is mirrored in the state of theorizing space. Urban sociologists have repeatedly attempted to theorize cities and urban development and link theories of the urban to social theory in general—for example, KORTE (1972, 1990, 1999). However, these attempts in theorizing have received little attention in both urban planning and sociology. As a result, many sociologists who wanted to remain attached to sociology moved to other research fields. For example, Hermann KORTE—a figurational sociologist (ERNST, 2015, 2017; ERNST & KORTE, 2017; KORTE, 2017) who was a professor of urban and regional sociology from 1974 to 1994 and has written on urban sociology all his life—is virtually unknown in German sociology for his contributions to urban sociology. Rather, he is known for his works in social theory in general (KORTE 2011 [1992]; KORTE & SCHÄFERS, 2016 [1992]) and his contributions to figurational sociology, most of which were produced after he became a professor of social theory in 1994. Those sociologists who have remained connected to urban planning are typically not very well known outside the field of urban sociology, which in Germany today is a very small subfield of sociology. In fact, urban sociology was only brought back to the attention of German mainstream sociology in the early 2000s when LÖW linked her social theory of space (2008a, 2016 [2001]) to urban theory (2008b, 2018; see also LÖW, STEETS & STOETZER, 2007). As a result, urban sociology is now considered a subfield of spatial sociology (LÖW, 2021). Regardless, within sociology, spatial sociology comprises a subfield as small as urban sociology—spatial sociologists are simply better linked to the sociological scientific community than urban sociologists, most likely because they are more strongly oriented toward fundamental science as illustrated by the discussion about the refiguration of spaces. German-language sociologists also rarely cooperate with colleagues from other fields of urban studies, such as architecture, urban planning, or geography. This is not as much of an issue for sociologists as it is for urban planners, as it causes planners to have difficulties gaining methodological and sociological expertise if they fail to sustain their own sociology professorships within their planning schools. [74]

On a more general level, this tension reveals that methodological stances and the practice of comparison strongly differ between fundamental and applied scientists, which can hinder cooperation. Analyzing how disciplines are entangled becomes all the more complicated because epistemic cultures vary not only between disciplines but also across cultures. This strong contrast between fundamental and applied scientists might be unique to the German-language system. For example, in the Global South, France, and the US, the boundaries between fundamental and applied research are much more fluid. This is important to keep in mind because cooperation between applied sciences like planning and fundamental sciences like sociology is exactly what would be needed to tackle current social challenges arising from these spatial transformations. Not sharing knowledge is therefore a problem when it comes to analyzing spatial transformations in general and the refiguration of spaces in particular. In order to further this type of joint endeavor, it would be necessary to mingle epistemic cultures. The first steps to be taken in aligning practices of comparison would be: increasing the awareness of this tension for both fundamental and applied scientists, implementing this awareness in scholars' practices of self-reflection, developing methods that allow for collaboration both between fundamental and applied scientists and between scholars from different cultures, for example, from the Global North and the Global South. [75]


This publication was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Collaborative Research Centre "Re-Figuration of Spaces" (CRC 1265) and by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) via the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as part of the "Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability" (GCSMUS). For this and all other articles in the FQS thematic issues "The Refiguration of Spaces and Cross-Cultural Comparison," Zachary MÜHLENWEG was in charge of language editing, Vanessa ULOTH did the copyediting, and Gerrit Manke produced the graphics. We would like to thank Katja MRUCK in particular for guiding the production of this thematic issue through the confusion of the COVID-19 pandemic and the hacker attack on TU Berlin. For this article, Adriane SEPT provided valuable insights on the entanglement of architecture and politics during National Socialism.


1) There is a long-standing problem in translating relevant terms between German and English, which also becomes relevant for the following discussion, and these difficulties in translation point to differences in epistemic cultures, that is, the main topic of this paper. Language is a system of thought and influences how we can and do reflect on a topic (WHORF, 1963 [1956]). In addition, language is a social institution deeply rooted in a society (BERGER & LUCKMANN, 1966), thus being one of the most important aspects of the Wissensbasis [knowledge base] of science as (not only but also) through language, scholars are deeply entrenched in the everyday life and history of their own culture. Not only, but especially philosophical, epistemological, and methodological debates have a different tone depending on the language in which they are written. In translation, concepts typically lose some of their original meaning while also gaining additional nuances that were not originally intended. As a result, in the process of translation, the character of these very concepts changes. The attempt to translate Grundlagenwissenschaften and angewandte Wissenschaften provides a fine example of this dilemma: in English, sociology (and cognate subjects) would never be described as a "science," let alone a "basic," "pure," or "fundamental" science; the term would always be "social sciences." The word "discipline" is used to encompass the whole range of subjects typically taught at universities, from the natural sciences and the social sciences to the humanities, including all "applied" subjects. In German, disciplines are typically classified along two dimensions. The first concerns methods: in Naturwissenschaften [natural sciences]—such as physics, chemistry and biology—researchers supposedly (!) prefer mostly formalized theories and quantitative methods. In contrast, in Geisteswissenschaften [humanities]—such as language studies, linguistics, arts history or the historical sciences—scholars allegedly (!) use less formalized theories and qualitative methods. In this respect, Max WEBER wanted the social sciences to tread a middle ground by becoming Kulturwissenschaften [cultural sciences] (BAUR, 2021, for a critical reflection of false epistemological presumptions, also see BAUR, 2019). For the context of this article, the second dimension for categorizing disciplines in German is more important. This dimension cuts across the first dimension. Rather than classifying disciplines according to the methods they use, disciplines are arranged according to their degree of detachment from their subject matter and their involvement with practitioners. Concerning this dimension, the humanities, social sciences—for example, anthropology, sociology, and economics—and natural sciences are all considered Grundlagenwissenschaften in contrast to angewandte Wissenschaften—such as architecture, art, business studies, computer sciences, education, engineering, politics, and planning. Therefore, in this view, sociology has more in common with biology than with urban planning. To some extent, this reflects differences in epistemic cultures between the English- and German-speaking worlds. These differences cannot be properly explored, let alone resolved, in this article. For terms that are difficult to translate, we provide both the original German and the translated English term and then continue to use the English translation. However, when exploring the contrast that we wish to make here, for example, between fundamental and applied sciences, we adopt the German meaning of these words. Anglophone readers should bear this terminological difficulty in mind. <back>

2) Here again, the problem of translation arises, however this time from English to German: ELIAS (2007 [1956]) introduced the terms in English first, and indeed nearly all his work in the theory of knowledge and the sciences originated in English. The German terms lack something of the nuance of the English. This is even more true for Spannung as a translation of "excitement" (ELIAS & DUNNING, 1986). <back>

3) All translations from German to English are ours. This includes the translations of WEBER's texts—in the existing English-language translations, WEBER's arguments lost some nuances that are important for the context of this article. We therefore used the original German texts when discussing WEBER. Unless otherwise stated, the emphasis is always that of the original text. <back>

4) Writing in English about National Socialism is already a detour via detachment as most of the original German National Socialist terminology loses its most horrible features when translated into English. Anglophone readers should keep in mind that, in this context, using English is also a means of trivialization as most English translations are euphemisms of the German original. In almost all German National Socialist concepts, there is a touch of rational, calculative, militaristic, and coldhearted detachment when talking about planning expulsion, arrest, murder, and genocide. In the very same German National Socialist words, detachment often goes hand in hand with involvement being characterized by delusions of nationalistic grandeur and a glorification of the spirit of community. This simply cannot be translated into English. During the American re-education program, such subtle meanings were first deconstructed and then, from an early age, children were taught to be sensitive and pay attention to implications of using specific terms. As a result, the way some words can be used in the German language has changed: using National Socialist terminology in today's everyday life immediately marks a person as Nazi and results in them being ostracized by anyone who believes in humanism and democracy. This makes it enormously difficult to discuss specific topics such as community and racism in sociology in German. Often, the English terms are used even when scholars are debating in German. As the following section aims to show how exactly this misuse of concepts and language during National Socialism influenced later sociologists' way of practicing sociology, we purposefully use both the German and English terms when discussing National Socialism. Again, we continue using the English word once it has been introduced, but the original meanings should be kept in mind. <back>

5) Note that West German sociology, East German sociology (LOTHAR, 2018), Austrian sociology (FLECK, 2018a, 2018b, 2018c; MOZETIČ, 2018), and Swiss sociology (EBERLE & REICHLE, 2018; ZÜRCHER, 2018a, 2018b) all belong—at least partly because Switzerland is multilingual—to German-language sociology. After World War II, these epistemic cultures became at least partly disentangled. For pragmatic reasons, in the following discussion, we limit ourselves to the development in the FRG, meaning West Germany. <back>


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Nina BAUR is professor for methods of social research at Technische Universität Berlin, director of the "Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability" (GCSMUS) at Technische Universität Berlin and member of the Methods Lab of the Collaborative Research Center "Refiguration of Spaces" (CRC 1265), funded by the German Research Foundation. Furthermore, she is past president of the Research Committee on Social Science Methodology (RC33), board member of the Research Committee on Historical Sociology (RC56) of the International Sociology Association (ISA), and managing editor of the journal Historical Social Research (HSR). Her research fields include social science methodology, process sociology, spatial sociology, and economic sociology.


Nina Baur

Technische Universität Berlin
Institut für Soziologie
Fraunhoferstr. 33-36 (FH 9-1)
10587 Berlin, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0)30 314 78547

E-mail: nina.baur@tu-berlin.de
URL: https://www.mes.tu-berlin.de/BAUR

Ignacio CASTILLO ULLOA is a scientific coordinator of the "Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability" (GCSMUS) at Technische Universität Berlin and a research associate in the subproject "Education: The Spatial Knowledge of Children and Young Adults (and Its Application) in Planning Contexts" (A02) of the Collaborative Research Center "Refiguration of Spaces" (CRC 1265), funded by the German Research Foundation. In his research, he focuses on uneven socio-spatial development and alternative disruptive (local) practices that counteract it; critical urban research; and the use of Lacanian theory to explore interrelations among planning theory, research, and practice.


Ignacio Castillo Ulloa

Technische Universität Berlin
Collaborative Research Center "Refiguration of Spaces" (CRC 1265)
Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1 (BH-5-1)
10587 Berlin, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0)30 314 73792

E-mail: i.castillo-ulloa@isr.tu-berlin.de
URL: https://www.sfb1265.de/en/people/ignacio-castillo-ulloa/

Stephen MENNELL is professor emeritus of sociology at University College Dublin and an honorary professor at the University of Leicester. From 1997 to 2016, he was a member of the board of the Norbert Elias Foundation, and he is general editor of the collected works of Norbert ELIAS in English. From 2010 to 2016, he served as president of the Working Group Historical and Comparative Sociology (WG02) of the International Sociological Association which was upgraded to the Research Committee on Historical Sociology (RC56) in 2016. His research interests are sociology of food, political economy, sociological theory and figurational sociology.


Stephen Mennell

University College Dublin
School of Sociology
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

E-mail: Stephen.Mennell@ucd.ie
URL: https://stephenmennell.academia.edu/

Angela MILLION, née UTTKE, is professor of urban design and urban development and director of the "Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability" (GCSMUS) at Technische Universität Berlin. Furthermore, she is member of the Methods Lab and principal investigator in the subproject "Education: The Spatial Knowledge of Children and Young Adults (and Its Application) in Planning Contexts" (A02) of the Collaborative Research Center "Refiguration of Spaces" (CRC 1265), funded by the German Research Foundation. In her research, she focuses on (participatory) urban design and Baukultur, with a special interest in multifunctional infrastructure development, cities as educational settings, children, and youth.


Angela Million

Technische Universität Berlin
Institut für Stadt- und Regionalplanung
Hardenbergstr. 40A (B 9)
10623 Berlin, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0)30 314 28098

E-mail: million@tu-berlin.de
URL: https://fg-staedtebau.de/project/prof-million/


Baur, Nina; Castillo Ulloa, Ignacio; Mennell, Stephen & Million, Angela (2021). The refiguration of spaces and the refiguration of epistemic cultures: The changing balance of involvement and engagement in fundamental and applied research [75 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 22(3), Art. 21, http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-22.3.3810.

Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research (FQS)

ISSN 1438-5627

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