Center for Interdisziplinary Research


Stephan Lanz

Faculty of Social and Cultural Studies,
Department for Social and Economic Geography
of the
European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

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Biographical Note

Stephan Lanz, Dr. phil, has been working in urban development and lectures at the Faculty of Social and Cultural Studies at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. As a founding member of metroZones - Center for Urban Affairs, he is active in various urban and cultural networks in Berlin and is the editor of the book series metroZones (with J. Becker). His recent publications include Berlin Mixed-Up: Occidental - Multicultural - Cosmopolitan? The Political Construction of an Immigration-City (Bielefeld 2007), Self Service City: Istanbul (with O. Esen, Berlin 2005), and City of COOP. Urban movements and substitute economies in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires (Berlin 2004).


Research Interests

Stephan Lanz focuses on interdisciplinary urban studies on a global scale. His main fields of research are:


Contribution to the Research Group

In the last two decades, we have witnessed the effects of the increasing impact of fundamentalist religious groups on everyday social practices, cultures and forms of collective organization in many poor and irregular neighborhoods in the world's metropolises. For instance, in Brazil the rapid growth of pentecostal churches in favelas generates new forms of articulation and interconnections between political, religious and social fields. Such developments act increasingly as a dividing force in the local comunidades. In particular, the new churches seem to replace social organisations and urban movements, which had formerly played a central role in the fight against military dictatorship.
The Research Project is based on the question why and how religious groups manage to accomplish something which seems comparable to a cultural revolution by evolving into the most important social forces and forms of self-organization in irregular settlements of many Latin American metropolises. Should they best be understood as a response to (urban) economic crises and growing marginalisation as a result of (neoliberal) policies? And/or are they a product of larger processes of modernisation, migration and globalisation that fragment urban societies in a way that allows religious movements to fill a vacuum created by the demise of other social institutions and forces?


Relevant Publications:

Stephan Lanz (Hg.) 2004: City of Coop. Urban Movements and Substitute Economies in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires', metroZones 5 / b_books Berlin:

Jochen Becker / Stephan Lanz (Hg.) 2003: SPACE // TROUBLES. Beyond Good Governance: Shadow Globalization, Violent Conflicts and Urban Life, metroZones 1 / b_books Berlin:


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