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Keynote Speakers










Oliver IbertOliver Ibert

Oliver Ibert is Professor of Economic Geography at the Free University of Berlin and Head of the Research Department Dynamics of Economic Spaces at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning (IRS) in Erkner. Before that he held positions at the University of Bonn (2002-2009) and the University of Oldenburg (1998-2002). His research on resilience-related topics ranges from issues of innovation-oriented planning, regional restructuring, adaptability through temporary organizations and perceptions of individual vulnerability and resilience in volatile labour markets.

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Constructing Vulnerability and Resilience – Introduction

Gabriela B. Christmann | Oliver Ibert

The paper argues that the conceptions of “vulnerability” and “resilience”, which have been strongly influenced by ecology and natural hazards research, have been widely used in an essentialist manner. Thus, vulnerability is treated as the factual susceptibility and resilience as the factual adaptive capacity of systems, which are measurable by certain indicators. Although in the meantime social dimensions have received greater consideration than previously and although both notions have been transferred to a wider field of phenomena ranging from technology to economy and society, the conception of vulnerability and resilience still lacks the dimension of the social construction of reality that implies that actors may develop different perceptions of potential threats and of the precautionary measures that are to be adopted – even though the nature of an endangerment seems clear and proven. In this contribution we identify major conceptual desiderata and suggest a social science based conception of vulnerability and resilience addressing them. We take up ideas from social constructivism in the form pointed out in actor-network theory. We dissolve the tired dichotomy between social and material entities and instead emphasise that all kinds of entities have the same ontological status and thus interact directly with one another on the same level (‘flat ontology’). Against the background of a generic definition of governance, questions of agency in networks will be addressed. Based on a relational understanding of space, a spatial research perspective will be developed also taking into account the dimension of time. Finally the conception comprises an empirical strategy for investigating vulnerability and resilience.

Once you are in you might need to get out: Labor Market Resilience in the Course of the Careers of Musical Actors

Oliver Ibert | Suntje Schmidt

The labor market for musical actors is very challenging. On the one hand it is difficult to get in: qualification requirements are high, competition is fierce and reputation is difficult to build up. On the other hand, it is often necessary to get out, once being in: market demand for roles with a stage age of older than 45 drops dramatically and it becomes increasingly difficult to fully regenerate health due to a threefold exposure to the bodily strains of acting, dancing and singing. In other words, throughout the career of a musical actor the meaning of the concept resilience can change fundamentally. While at the beginning of the career the main challenge is often to adapt to market requirements, in the second half of the career it becomes increasingly important to become adaptable to a broader spectrum of opportunities, including exit scenarios. The paper explores empirically this shift in the social construction of resilience against labor market threats during the careers of German musical actors. The paper contrasts a matched pair samples of qualitative interviews – musical actors at the beginning of their careers and more advanced actors – in order to generate empirically grounded ideal-typical accounts of the meaning of adaptation and adaptability for musical actors. The empirical focus lies on the actors’ networking strategies, their professional identities and the corresponding ways of perceiving and creating spaces.


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