This project is supported by the 2020 Lumina Quaeruntur award of the Czech Academy of Sciences. It establishes a new research team - The Centre for the Study of Social Change and the Material Environment (CESCAME) based at the Institute of Sociology.
The CESCAME research endeavour focuses on cities as sites where innovations in knowledge and agency originate. It looks at the coping strategies of people concerning everyday tasks of dealing with the material environment, including food production and consumption, housing, and energy provision. We are interested in how these are constantly produced and reproduced in the face of challenges posed by global social, economic and environmental changes that impact on localities. For example, we study urban residents’ innovative approaches to adjusting housing to climate change, everyday practices of obtaining food via non-market food chains and informal food waste reduction strategies. At the same time, we are acutely aware that cities are the sites where many expert-led solutions to pressing issues are being experimentally proposed and implemented, and we focus on researching the interaction between formal and informal innovations.
The CESCAME team explores questions of how and by whom innovations in urban contexts are being created; how innovative knowledge is being implemented, as well as also being contested and rejected. We investigate how innovative knowledge and practices of urbanites contribute to the resilience of cities in the face of challenges that include transformations of the global economy, dissolution of social security and cohesion, impacts of the covid pandemic, environmental degradation, climate change and the effects of unequal urbanisation.
CESCAME also aims to foster the position of Czech Sociology in both international and local academic communication by:
- ground-breaking research which draws on opportunities offered by the Czech and wider Central and East European (CEE) context for the generation of sociological knowledge and theory on cities and innovations in everyday life;
- engaging in international research networks aimed at promoting CEE knowledge to the forefront of topical global debates;
- elevating the standing of sociological knowledge in Czech society by communicating the Centre’s findings to the general public via traditional and new media channels.