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Knowledge and Goods: Consumers’ and Producers’ Spatial Knowledge

Subproject A03 of the Collaborative Research Center "Re-Figuration of Spaces" (SFB 1265)


In the project "Goods and Knowledge" (A03) of the Collaborative Research Centre "Re-Figuration of Spaces" (SFB 1265) we investigate what is important for traders and consumers when buying and selling fresh produce, i.e. fruit and vegetables, and what they know about these products. Specifically, we are interested in what information, but also what feelings and opinions these different groups of people have about the places of cultivation, transport and places of sale (both the shop and the neighborhood). At the same time, we want to find out how this knowledge affects their buying and selling behavior.

It is not about whether someone knows "more" or "less" or whether there is "better" or "worse" buying and selling behavior, but about finding out what similarities and differences there are, for example, in different Berlin districts and groups of people.

In concrete terms, we are investigating four different neighborhoods in Berlin (in Marzahn, Neukölln, Prenzlauer Berg and Steglitz) which differ as much as possible in terms of their building structure, the food retailers located there and the composition of their residents. We assume that the knowledge between the neighborhoods differs among both retailers and consumers and that this different knowledge also affects the range of products offered in the four neighborhoods.

As it is now possible in Berlin via a wide variety of suppliers to buy fresh food online and have it delivered to their homes, we also include these offers in our study.

Research design and data collection

In order to be able to answer the research questions as comprehensively as possible, this research project is based on mixed-methods design consisting of mapping, photo documentation, guideline-based interviews and accompanied grocery shopping (so-called "walk alongs"):

As part of the mapping process, the research team has spent several weeks collecting information about all the buildings and their uses in the study areas in order to find out whether it was possible to buy the same products and qualities in all districts of the city.

The photo documentation was conducted to find out how the grocery stores fit into the different neighborhoods both structurally and visually.

Moreover, fruit and vegetable merchants and customers are interviewed about food and the food trade in their neighborhood. Among other things, we would like to hear from the traders why they work in the neighborhood, what they know about the neighborhood and their customers, what information they have about the fresh produce and where they buy it. From the consumers we would like to learn why they live in the neighborhood, how they integrate food shopping into their daily routines, what they know about food and the food trade in their neighborhood, what they buy when, where and why, what is important to them when buying fruit and vegetables and what characteristics of the food they pay attention to.

With the Walk-Alongs we want to accompany consumers in their shopping. This is a form of participatory observation, which, in addition to the interviews, is intended to provide us with a picture of consumers' practices as comprehensive as possible. In particular, previous studies have shown that it is easier for people to explain why they buy when they are shopping.

Further information on the Collaborative Research Center


The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1265 "Re-Figuration of Spaces". The DFG is the self-governing organization of science in Germany. It receives most of its funding from the Federal Government and the federal states, which are represented in all the DFG's funding bodies. Voting relationships and procedural rules ensure that decisions are guided by science. Further information can be found at: www.dfg.de

Funding Period


Project Management

Prof. Dr. Nina Baur
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 314 – 79467

E-Mail: nina.baur@tu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Elmar Kulke
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 2093 – 6814

E-Mail: elmar.kulke@geo.hu-berlin.de

Project Staff

Julia Fülling, M.Sc.
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 314 – 73789

E-Mail: julia.fuelling@geo.hu-berlin.de

Dipl.-Soz. Linda Hering
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 314 – 73789

E-Mail: linda.hering@tu-berlin.de


Selected results of the study will be published on the project website.


Nina Baur, Julia Fülling, Linda Hering und Elmar Kulke. Im Erscheinen. Waren – Wissen – Raum. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag

Julia Fülling und Linda Hering. 2020. Markt - Quartier - Milieu. Der Berliner Lebensmitteleinzelhandel aus interdisziplinärer Perspektive. Arbeitsbericht zum interdisziplinären Lehrforschungsprojekt SoSe 2018

Nina Baur, Julia Fülling, Linda Hering und Susanne Vogl. 2019. Die Verzahnung von Arbeit und Konsum. S. in: Ernst, Stefanie, und Guido Becke (Hg.), Transformationen der Arbeitsgesellschaft. Prozess- und figurationstheoretische Beiträge. Wiesbaden: Springer VS

Linda Hering und Nina Baur. 2019. Die Verschränkung von Lokalem und Globalen an Einkaufsorten. Das Verhältnis von Forminvestitionen, Intermediären und Raumwirkungen in Produktion, Distribution und Konsum von Lebensmitteln in Deutschland und Thailand. Beitrag im Veröffentlichungsband des DGS Kongress 2018

Elmar Kulke. 2017. Wirtschaftsgeographie. 6 Aufl. Paderborn: Schöningh.

Elmar Kulke und Lech Suwala. 2016. Internationalisation of Grocery Retailing in the Global South: General Conditions, Formats and Spatial Expansion Patterns of Selected MNEs. Die Erde 147(3): 187–200.

Cornelia Thierbach, Anna Laura Raschke, Linda Hering und Nina Baur. 2014. Spatial Analysis in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Towards Integrating Qualitative, Quantitative and Cartographic Approaches. HSR – Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung 39 (2), Special Issue.

Nina Baur. 2014. Lokale Variation und Grenzen der Ökonomisierung. Eine figurationssoziologische Perspektive auf das Verhältnis von Ökonomisierung und Raum. Soziale Welt 65(1): 119–129.

Peter Dannenberg und Elmar Kulke. 2014. Dynamics in Agricultural Value Chains. Die Erde 145(3): 121– 126.

Elmar Kulke. 2014. Zurück in die Mitte – Innerstädtische Einzelhandelslandschaften in Berlin. Standort 38(2): 96–100.

Nina Baur und Leila Akremi. 2012. Lebensstile und Geschlecht. In: Jörg Rössel und Gunnar Otte G (Hg.) Lebensstilforschung. Sonderheft 51 der Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. Wiesbaden: VS, S. 269–294.

Gunnar Otte und Nina Baur. 2008. Urbanism as a Way of Life? Räumliche Variationen der Lebensführung in Deutschland. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 37(2): 93–116.

Conferences and Talks

Julia Fülling: Geographien des (Nicht)Wissens. Lebensmittelkonsum im Spannungsfeld von Assoziation und Dissoziation. Vortrag auf dem Deutschen Kongress für Geographie, 25.-29.09.2019, Kiel.

Linda Hering: Die Digitalisierung des Nicht-Digitalisierbaren? Strategien im Freshfood Online Shopping. Vortrag auf dem Deutschen Kongress für Geographie, Kiel, 25.-29.09.2019.

Linda Hering und Julia Fülling: Between Distinctiveness and Standardization. The Various Sensual Landscapes of Buying and Selling Fresh Produce in Berlin. Vortrag auf der 14th ESA Conference, Manchester, UK, 20.-23.08.2019.

Nina Baur und Linda Hering. Linking Theoretical Aims By Crossing Methodological Boundaries. On The Usefulness Of Various Data Types For Economic Sociology, ESA Conference, Manchester 20-25.08.2019

Nina Baur und Elmar Kulke. Time, Space and the Economy: On Temporal and Spatial Coupling of Consumer-Producer-Interactions. First International Conference of the SFB 1265 “Re-Figuration of Spaces: Mediatization, Mobility, Globalization and Social Dislocation” 20-22.02.2019

Julia Fülling und Linda Hering. Investigation of Urban Food Consumption, Fokussierte Diskussion auf der International Conference on Food Studies, Vancouver, 25./26.10.2018

Nina Baur und Linda Hering. Beitrag „Intermediäre als Mittler zwischen Produktion und Konsum. Ein Vergleich der Organisation der Marktentnahme von Frischeprodukten in Deutschland und Thailand“, zur Ad-Hoc-Gruppe „Agro-Food-Branchen, Nahrungsmittelmärkte und global value chains. Zwischen lokaler Tradition und globalen Wertschöpfungsketten: Produktion, Distribution und Konsum von Lebensmitteln als Gegenstand der Soziologie“ beim DGS, Göttingen, 28.09.2018

Nina Baur. Spatial Knowledge in Consumer-Producer-Interactions, 6.10.2018. Third Annual Conference of the SFB 1199 “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition”

Nina Baur, Elmar Kulke und Linda Hering. Vortrag „Waren – Wissen – Raum. Die Koordination von Konsumenten und Produzenten in Warenketten am Beispiel des Lebensmittelhandels“ 19.02.2018 (beim Auftakt-Workshop des Teilprojekts „Waren und Wissen“)

Nina Baur, Elmar Kulke und Linda Hering (Org.). Auftakt-Workshop „Waren – Wissen – Raum. Die Koordination von Konsumenten und Produzenten in Warenketten am Beispiel des Lebensmittelhandels des Teilprojekts „Waren und Wissen: Raumwissen von Konsumenten und Produzenten“ 19./20.02.2018 an der TU Berlin


Nina Baur, Julia Fülling, Linda Hering und Elmar Kulke. Markt – Quartier – Milieu. Wettbewerbsstrategien des Lebensmittelhandels in Berlin. Lehrforschungsprojekt im SoSe 2018 an der HU Berlin (interdisziplinäres LFP der Geographie und Soziologie)

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