Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1996

Comparative Urban Research Focusing on Eastern Europe and 'East-West' Comparisons

Main discipline: Human Geography, Sociology
Lecturers: Professor Chris Pickvance and Dr. Katy Pickvance
Institution: University of Kent, UK
Dates: 29 July - 2 August, 1996

Comparative research in urban studies has been a major development in the last decade. It has partly concentrated on differences among western societies, and partly on differences between and among western and eastern societies. There are several reasons for this growth: the exhaustion of the idea that all market economies are similar which has led to a renewed interest in institutional differences among western societies; the recognition that the socialist model existed in various degrees of 'purity' and 'reform' among state socialist societies; and the collapse of communist regimes and the development of 'post socialist' societies. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the theoretical, methodological and substantive aspects of comparative urban research with specific reference to East West comparisons and comparisons within Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.


  1. Comparative methodology
  2. Urban applications of comparative methodology
  3. Theories of social movements
  4. Social movements East and West
  5. Housing in Eastern Europe
  6. Privatization of housing
  7. Local government in Eastern Europe
  8. Decentralization of local government
  9. Comparative urban research in practice
  10. Conclusions

Lecture 1 & 2: Comparative methodology and urban applications

Lecture 3 & 4: Social movements

Lecture 5 & 6: Housing in Eastern Europe

Lecture 7 & 8: Local government in Eastern Europe

Lecture 9 & 10: Comparative urban research in practice