Martina Loew

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Martina Löw (right) at an event organized by the Goethe Institute and the City Institute at York University

Martina Löw (born January 9, 1965 in Würzburg ) is a German sociologist .


Martina Löw was born in 1993 at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main with Marianne Rodenstein with the work “Grab Raum. Single women between work, social relationships and the culture of the self ”. The habilitation took place in 2000 in the department of history, philosophy and social sciences at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg . For her previous work, especially for her habilitation thesis on spatial sociology , she received the Christian Wolff Prize. From January 2002 to July 2013 she was professor of sociology at the TU Darmstadt with a focus on spatial social analysis, urban and regional sociology as well as women's and gender studies, since then she has been professor of architecture and planning sociology at the TU Berlin . She is the spokesperson for the Collaborative Research Center 1265 Re-Figuration of Spaces.

From 2011 to March 2013 she was chairwoman of the German Society for Sociology .


In 2001 Martina Löw published a Sociology of Space , which understands the creation of space as a social phenomenon that depends on social developments. Löw understands space as a relational arrangement of social goods and living beings that is created through the synthesis and placement of these elements. Such a processual concept of space contrasts with the previously prevalent view in sociology, which sees space as a rigid background of social processes. Building on this, Löw works empirically on the question of how spatial structures are changed in and by electronic networks. Further research focuses are “Space, Power and Social Differentiation” and ethnographic city ​​studies.

In the field of urban research , Martina Löw is known for developing a research approach to analyze urban intrinsic logic. The city's intrinsic logic describes a complex ensemble of knowledge and forms of expression that are internally related, based on rule-guided, routinized forms of action that are stabilized by means of resources and that condense cities into provinces of meaning.

From summer 2008, Löw was the spokesperson for the “Self-Logic of Cities” focus, a cooperation project between the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, funded by the Hessian Ministry of Economics and Art as part of the State Offensive for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence (LOEWE). “Eigenlogik” stands as a working term for the specific and “typical” properties as well as the tacitly effective processes of the shaping of meaning in a city. The aim is to understand the basic structures of cities and to understand relationships and similarities between cities. The central methodological instrument is the comparison of cities.

The Eigenlogik approach thus differs significantly from other perspectives within urban research, which do research in the city, but regard the city as such as a given variable that cannot be further investigated. The research approach to the intrinsic logic of cities, on the other hand, makes the city itself an object of investigation.

The current focus of work is the ongoing refiguration of rooms. The guiding principle is the assumption that the constitution of space nowadays is increasingly polycontextural, that is, that more and more spatial arrangements become effective in action. Together with Jörg Stollmann, she leads a research project on Smart Cities within the framework of the SFB 1265: everyday actions in digitized living spaces.

Publications (selection)

  • Thinking the city from the perspective of space: Basics of a spatial theoretical urban sociology. Transcript, Bielefeld 2018, ISBN 978-3-8376-4250-6
  • The Sociology of Space - Materiality, Social Structures and Action. Cultural Sociology, Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2016, ISBN 978-1-137-48771-1 .
  • Martina Löw, Renate Ruhne: Prostitution. Manufacturing methods from another world. Edition Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-518-12632-5 .
  • Martina Löw, Helmuth Berking: The intrinsic logic of cities. New ways for urban research. (= Interdisciplinary urban research ). Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-593-38725-3 .
  • Urban Sociology. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-518-58503-0 .
  • Martina Löw, Silke Steets, Sergej Stoetzer: Introduction to urban and spatial sociology. Barbara Budrich, Opladen 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-8348-3 .
  • Introduction to the Sociology of Education. Leske + Budrich / UTB for Science, Opladen 2006, ISBN 3-8252-8243-0 .
  • Spatial sociology. (= Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft ). Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-518-29106-8 .
  • Seize space. Single women between work, social relationships and the culture of the self. Kleine, Bielefeld 1993.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Martina Löw: Seize space. Single women between work, social relationships and the culture of the self. Kleine, Bielefeld 1993.