Cultural Geography Workgroup

The do-it-yourself village?

Resonances of civic engagement in rural everyday life

Head of project: Prof. Dr. Florian Dünckmann
Research associate: Jens Reda

Project partner: Prof. Dr. Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, Marcus Heinz (Department of Cultural Studies at Leipzig University, Cultural Sociology Working Group)


Funded under the Federal Programme for Rural Development (BULE) of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)
Funding period: 2021-2023


The research project analyses the embeddedness of civic engagement in the social fabric 'village'. The village is understood as a concrete resonance space of engagement, forming the context for practices of engagement and related experiences and at the same time being (re)produced with the help of these very practices and experiences. Village lifeworlds can therefore be both the starting point and the target of local engagement. Against this background, the experiences and perspectives of both engaged and non-engaged persons with regard to civic engagement in the village are included in the analysis. Based on case studies in East and West Germany, interconnections between different forms of engagement and their relationships to different village lifeworlds will be examined. The aim of the project is to identify concrete factors that strengthen, impede or change civic engagement in local structures.

Our research focuses on peripheral and exurban contexts in West Germany and develops the basis for a systematic comparison with engagement experiences in East Germany (sub-project at the University of Leipzig). Based on the results of this research it will be possible to recommend rural development policies that are grounded in the lived experiences of the villagers, but whose objectives extend beyond the local context.


project-related presentations

02.09.2021 Reda, Jens and Heinz, Marcus: Resonances of Civic Engagement in Everyday Village Life. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2021, Session: New and Emerging Rural Researchers: Rural Research in the 2020s, London (Online Conference).

28.06.2021 Reda, Jens: Resonanzen ehrenamtlichen Engagements in dörflichen Lebenswelten - Skizze eines Forschungsprogramms. Colloquium of the Department of Geography, University Kiel.